David Loew, formerly executive vice president of Sanofi Pasteur, Sanofi’s vaccines division, was appointed CEO of fellow French firm Ipsen on the 28th May 2020, effective 1st July.
Loew, who spoke to PharmaBoardroom in January 2019 while in position at Sanofi Pasteur, is taking the helm from Aymeric Le Chatelier, who was serving as interim CEO after David Meek’s departure at the end of 2019 for US biotech FerGene. The Ipsen board of directors will be hoping that Loew can spearhead a change of fortunes for the firm after a rash of clinical setbacks and Meek’s decision to jump ship in December 2019. Ipsen’s share price has dropped by almost 30 percent in the past six months, even when a recent rally that has doubled its value is accounted for.
During Meek’s four years as CEO, Ipsen’s sales grew from USD 1.5 billion to over 2.8 billion, fueled mainly by a growing oncology portfolio. The company also expanded its global reach by gaining a firm foothold in the United States and China. However, the US FDA’s decision to halt trials for rare bone disorder treatment palovarotene – acquired after Ipsen bought Clementia Pharmaceuticals for USD 1.3 billion – was a significant blow. Ipsen recently received clearance to reinstate trials for over-14s, a positive step, but one that denoted a write-down of more than half of palovarotene’s initial development.
Loew spent 20 years working his way up at Roche, managing the Eastern Europe, Middle East and Africa regions before moving to Sanofi in 2013 as senior vice president of commercial operations for Europe. He was appointed CEO of Sanofi’s vaccine unit, Sanofi Pasteur, in 2016, during which time he “piloted a successful worldwide growth strategy via acquisitions and licensing deals” and developed a global pipeline according to an Ipsen press release. Most recently, he was at the helm of one of the most advanced efforts to create a COVID-19 vaccine. Loew’s departure from Sanofi comes on the heels of a revamp of senior management by CEO Paul Hudson, who is attempting to streamline the company’s decision-making processes.
Loew, originally from Switzerland, will be based at Ipsen’s French headquarters in Boulogne-Billancourt, Paris. According to the Ipsen press release, Loew’s “mission will be to ensure Ipsen’s continued growth and to advance its pipeline via a long-term value-adding external innovation strategy, while fostering a culture of entrepreneurship, agility and patient-centricity” across the company’s three therapeutic areas of oncology, neuroscience, and rare diseases.