|New CFO Paul Clancy brought a rise in the company's stock price with him.|
By Mitchell Young
New Haven: Continued reports in the New Haven Register questioning the ethics and viability of Alexion have failed to halt a major rebound in the company’s stock. Alexion’s stock has increased by more than 22% percent [20 points] since Register reporting and short sellers questioned the company’s viability.
On June 13, Alexion named long-time Cambridge based Biogen Inc [Nasdaq: BIIB] CFO Paul Clancy, Chief Financial Officer of Alexion.
Biogen does nearly four times the revenue of Alexion and has double the market value. Wall Street analysts were very positive about the choice, and his hiring was apparently seen as evidence that there would not be “another shoe to drop” in terms of revelations about changes at the company.
Alexion stock had tanked amid media reports about the company’s “aggressive” marketing practices and a turn-over of executives that has followed the appointment of New CEO Ludwig Hantson. Hantson has replaced the core of Alexion’s management team, appointing four executives from his previous company, Baxalata [see Alexion CEO: Putting The New, Old Band Back Together].
Likewise, Clancy comes to Alexion after Biogen’s new CEO Michel Vounatsos has turned over his management team, amid complaints of lackluster performance. Clancy’s appointment created a 9% boost in Alexion’s stock.
Also on June 13, investment news site www.seekingalpha.com reported that Hantson floated the idea at the Golldman Sachs Healthcare Conference, that he is considering writing off the investment of one of the company's key drugs, Kanuma. The report said “he referred to the commercial results as near the bottom on biotech launches.
Kanuma is an enzyme replacement therapy for an ultra-rare inherited metabolic disorder, it was approved by the FDA at the end of 2015.
Sales of the drug were under $26 million for the full 2016 year. Alexion paid $8.4 billion in June of 2015 for Cambridge based Synageva BioPharma Corp. [Nasdaq:GEVA].
Alexion founder Leonard Bell and the CEO that initiated the acquisition justified the price at the time, saying the drug would eventually bring “$1 billion in sales.”
At the time of the closing of the acquisition, then Alexion’s CEO David Hallal, said, “as we complete this acquisition, the combination of our two companies provides us the exciting opportunity to build upon our collective strengths and talents to firmly establish Alexion as the global leader in serving patients with devastating and rare diseases, With Soliris, [Alexion’s flagship now $3 billion sales drug] and the anticipated approvals of Strensiq and Kanuma, Alexion is poised to have three innovative products serving patients with four severe diseases in 2015 while also advancing the deepest and broadest pipeline in our history.”
Stensiq was acquired in 2011 with the acquisition of Montreal based Enobia Pharma for under $1 billion and was also approved in 2015. Sales for this year  are expected to exceed $200 million. Previous estimates for the two drugs were $1.5 -$2 billion annually.