Alnylam recruits former Shire exec to replace departing CFO Soni

Jeff Poulton will take the baton as Alnylam CFO from Manmeet Soni, who has resigned. (Pixabay)

It’s been less than two years since former Shire CFO Jeff Poulton left the biopharma world, but he’s back—and he’s landed at Alnylam. In replacing current financial chief Manmeet Soni, Poulton will have big shoes to fill, one analyst said, calling the departing leader “arguably the best CFO in mid-cap biotech.”

The RNAi drug specialist said Thursday it would bring on Poulton August 13 as CFO and executive vice president in place of Soni, who’s held the role since May 2017. Soni, who has resigned, will stay on until the day before Poulton takes over, “providing a smooth transition” before leaving to pursue other interests, Alnylam said.

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Poulton brings a wealth of industry experience with him at a critical time for Alnylam, which is launching RNAi treatment Onpattro and has submitted its application to the FDA for a second RNAi drug.

Before leaving for the CFO position at agricultural startup Indigo Ag, Poulton held the CFO job at Shire, now part of Takeda, for three years. Before becoming CFO, Poulton served in a range of functions at the rare-disease drugmaker—including some on the commercial side.

“Jeff brings a wealth of experience to Alnylam that is ideal at this exciting point in our company’s ongoing growth. He is a seasoned leader with a proven track record and I look forward to partnering with him to drive our transition toward a global, multi-product and self-sustainable company,” Alnylam CEO John Maraganore said in a statement.

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Still, replacing Soni will be a “tough act for anyone to follow,” SVB Leerink Mani Foroohar wrote in a Thursday morning note to clients.

Soni “has been highly effective at Alnylam, playing a critical role in the company’s first product launch [and] buildout of [its] global financial and operational infrastructure, and bolstering the balance sheet with transactions at attractive valuations,” Foroohar wrote, adding that, “we continue to see him as arguably the best CFO in mid-cap biotech.”