New CEO expected to'strip' Biovail

To listen to news reports about incoming Biovail CEO Bill Wells, you'd think he was one of the horsemen of the Apocalypse. A director for three years, Wells is set to take over the helm May 1, and analysts say they're expecting him to come in swinging his sword. "I think he'll strip the company down to its bare bones and act very much like a private-equity firm," one analyst told the National Post.

Wells himself hasn't done much to quash such talk. He said Biovail needs to shrink costs to bring them into line with falling revenue. Options? The usual in pharma these days: cutting staff and closing some manufacturing facilities, he said: "Everything is on the table."

Biovail is certainly in need of help. The company has been shelling out cash on legal fees, dealing with accounting probes by both the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission and Canadian securities watchdogs. Current and former execs have been accused of conspiring to brighten up financial results. Analysts say Biovail's pipeline looks sparse; worrisome, because generic competition is looming for Wellbutrin XL. Can Wells, a former McDonald's exec, deliver? We'll find out.

- here's the release on Wells
- read the story in the National Post
- check out the article in The Star
- get the news from the Ottawa Citizen

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