After Baxalta-Shire merger, David Meek lands CEO job at leaderless Ipsen

Paris

There was no room at the inn for Baxalta’s former head of oncology as it becomes subsumed by its new owner Shire--but David Meek has stepped straight into the chief’s seat at cancer biotech Ipsen as the company finally settles its leadership struggles.

The French firm gains Meek as its new CEO as his former company--of which he was EVP and president of oncology--has now merged into the Irish biopharma in a $32 billion deal.

He will take up his new post next Monday (18 July) as its former head, Marc de Garidel, sees his role downgraded to nonexecutive chairman.

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This comes after Ipsen ousted its deputy CEO, Christel Bories, back in February following “disagreements over strategy,” although more details were not forthcoming. At the same time, Garidel had effectively stepped aside and limited his role as the biotech sought a new long-term leader.

They have now found this in Meek, and, as well as some much-needed stability at the top, also gained an industry vet with more than 25 years of experience, which began at Johnson & Johnson ($JNJ), where he held a variety of U.S. senior sales and marketing roles for 15 years.  

He later joined Novartis ($NVS), where he ran the company's respiratory and dermatology franchise in Switzerland before heading up operations in Canada and later running its oncology biz in Europe.

He’s not only been at Big Pharma, however, and before joining Baxalta he was the COO of Endocyte ($ECYT).

Ipsen said that Meek will be based at its French headquarters in Boulogne-Billancourt in Paris, adding that his “mission” is to ensure the “continued growth and innovative pipeline development of the specialty and primary care businesses.”

He is also tasked with geographical expansion, with the biotech adding that it wants him to help them move more deeply into the lucrative U.S. and China markets.

Garidel said: “I am delighted to welcome David Meek to our group. David is a visionary leader with global expertise in the pharmaceutical and biotechnology industry. His experience in the U.S., Europe, and international markets as well as his deep knowledge of oncology will be invaluable. David also has significant success with business development that will be important for our strategic objectives.”

Meek added that he was “very honored and excited” to join Ipsen as CEO.

“I am proud and motivated to lead the Ipsen employees whose tremendous skills and commitment to patients are well respected. My ambition is to focus on patients and product innovation, lead the teams, and continue the path of success started by Marc de Garidel in 2010.”

Ipsen has been ramping up the oncology deals in recent months, strengthening its ties with Oncodesign in May and putting $855 million on the table in March in a bet that it can get Exelixis’ ($EXEL) once-failed cancer drug cabozantinib to work in new indications.

Ipsen, which has a market cap of around $4.4 billion, saw its shares up 1.5% in Europe this morning on the news.

- check out the release

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