Aegerion Pharmaceuticals, a biopharmaceutical company dedicated to the development and commercialization of innovative therapies for patients with debilitating rare diseases, has appointed Mary Szela as chief executive officer and a member of Aegerion's board of directors. Szela brings 27 years of progressive leadership experience to Aegerion as well as valuable expertise building global billion-dollar brands, such as Humira, and advancing pipeline products in the biotechnology and pharmaceutical industries.
Szela succeeds Sandford Smith, who was interim chief executive officer since July of 2015. Smith has been appointed chairman of the board of directors, allowing him to continue to work closely with the management team to maintain the momentum on key company initiatives, while leveraging his expertise in the global orphan drug markets. He has served as a director since 2012. Smith succeeds David Scheer, who will remain an independent member of the board and will join the compliance committee.
Szela was chief executive officer of Melinta Therapeutics until August 2015, where she led the company's revitalization effort, accelerated the lead asset into three phase programs and oversaw key business development transactions to monetize non-core assets. Before joining Melinta, she held various management positions at Abbott Laboratories, most recently as senior vice president for global strategic marketing and services. Prior to 2001, Szela held a series of leadership positions in the Abbott Hospital Products Division. She currently serves as a member of the boards of Novo Nordisk, Coherus Biosciences and Suneva Medical.
"With two marketed products, orphan drug development expertise and a growing global footprint, I believe we have the potential to build a sustainable company and make a meaningful impact on the lives of patients," said Szela. "I'm truly excited to join Aegerion's dedicated team of employees and directors as we advance the company's mission to deliver break-through medicines for rare diseases."