France's Ipsen names ex-Baxalta exec its CEO as it aims for big U.S. sales


France’s Ipsen has pledged it will get nearly a third of its revenue out of the U.S. by 2020 and has named American and pharma vet David Meek its new CEO to see that that happens. Meek recently lost his job as the former head of oncology at Baxalta when Shire last month closed its buyout of the Baxter spinoff.

David Meek
Ipsen CEO David Meek

Meek--who has also done stints at Janssen, Novartis and biotech Endocyte--assumes his new role Monday, working from Ipsen headquarters in Boulogne-Billancourt in Paris, while Ipsen's former CEO, Marc de Garidel, moves to non-executive chairman. Meek has been tasked with building on Ipsen Group’s push for bigger sales in the U.S. and China for the oncology-focused biotech.

“His experience in the U.S., Europe, and international markets as well as his deep knowledge of oncology will be invaluable,” Garidel said in an announcement about the change.

Meek steps into his new role as the French company has been in the midst of a leadership shakeup. The company began looking for a new CEO this year after ousting its deputy CEO Christel Bories because of “disagreements over strategy.” At the same time, Garidel had effectively stepped aside and limited his role.  

Ipsen in 2014 said it expected to make its mark in the U.S. with the launch of the gastroenteropancreatic neuroendocrine tumors treatment Somatuline, which the FDA approved late that year. To help it make sure it realized its goals, the drugmaker indicated it would add about 200 folks in North America. The drugmaker said it expected to be getting 30% of its revenue from North America by 2020.

Ipsen launched Somatuline in the U.S. and Europe last year, seeing total sales of €401.6 million. U.S. sales for the company hit €157.9 last year, amounting to nearly 11% of its total €1.444 billion.

Ipsen has also been building its oncology assets in recent months. In March it bet $855 million that it can get Exelixis’ ($EXEL) once failed cancer drug cabozantinib to work in new indications.

- read the announcement

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