Alexion Pharmaceuticals announced that its board of directors has appointed Ludwig N. Hantson, Ph.D., as chief executive officer and member of the board of directors, effective immediately. Dr. Hantson most recently served as president and CEO of Baxalta, a spin-off as a public company from Baxter, and a developer of therapies for orphan and underserved diseases in hematology, immunology and oncology. Dr. Hantson brings to Alexion a strong record of developing diverse rare disease pipelines and commercializing innovative and life-transformative therapies at industry-leading companies.
He succeeds David R. Brennan, who has led the company as Interim CEO since December 2016. Brennan will remain on the board of directors and, as the company previously announced, the board expects to appoint Brennan chairman at the Annual Meeting of Shareholders scheduled for May 10.
As CEO of Baxalta, Dr. Hantson led the creation of a successful biopharmaceutical company that delivered shareholder value through significant revenue growth, an innovative research and development center with a pipeline of 20 new product candidates, and several new product launches globally. Prior to Baxalta, Dr. Hantson was president of Baxter BioScience, a $6 billion global business unit of Baxter where he drove significant value into its pipeline by adding 25 New Molecular Entities and Biologics License Applications and launching 13 new products.
“I am honored and proud to join Alexion, an innovator and pioneer in rare diseases and a company that shares my commitment to serving patients and families,” said Dr. Hantson. “I believe Alexion is in a strong position to continue to advance the science and build upon its global capabilities to serve even more patients with devastating and rare diseases in over 50 markets. Alexion is on-track to achieving its near-term priorities, including: growing its complement and metabolic franchises; obtaining approval of Soliris in refractory gMG; and advancing its pipeline programs including ALXN1210 and eculizumab in relapsing NMOSD. I also look forward to building our future R&D and commercial growth strategies which will be guided by the company’s long-standing goal of transforming lives.”
Douglas Norby, Alexion’s lead independent director, said, “After a comprehensive search process, the board is very pleased to appoint Ludwig, a seasoned executive and inspirational leader who will help us advance our pipeline and commercial growth initiatives while maintaining Alexion’s mission to serve patients with life-transforming therapies.”
Norby added, “Ludwig is a results-oriented leader with a strong R&D and commercial track record based on his ability to implement sound business strategies grounded in scientific, commercial and financial analyses. He understands the complexities of leading a large biotechnology company, and his commitment to ethics, excellence and execution will drive the next phase of growth and innovation for Alexion, and create value for all stakeholders.”
Norby continued, “In addition, on behalf of the entire board of directors, we would like to thank David Brennan for his dedicated leadership as Interim CEO. His deep knowledge of Alexion’s business and culture was instrumental in guiding our company during this period of transition, as well as helping to identify a leader who shares our dedication and commitment to serving patients and families with devastating and rare diseases.”
Prior to his roles at Baxalta and Baxter BioScience, Dr. Hantson held several leadership roles during his decade-long tenure at Novartis from 2001-2010, including CEO of Novartis Pharma North America, CEO of Novartis Europe, and President of Novartis Pharma Canada. He began his career at Smith & Nephew and subsequently served in increasing roles of responsibility in marketing, and research and development at Johnson & Johnson from 1988-2001. Dr. Hantson received his Ph.D. in motor rehabilitation and physical therapy, Master’s degree in physical education, and a certification in high secondary education, all from the University of Louvain in Belgium.