VANCOUVER, March 26, 2013 /PRNewswire/ - Cardiome Pharma Corp. (NASDAQ: CRME) (TSX:COM) today announces changes to the company's senior management team. William Hunter , M.D., previously interim Chief Executive Officer and Director, has been appointed full time President and Chief Executive Officer; Karim Lalji has been promoted from Senior Vice President of Commercial Affairs to Chief Commercial Officer; and Sheila Grant has been hired as Chief Operating Officer.
"We are pleased with what Bill Hunter has accomplished in the last six months including Cardiome's restructuring and managing the return of vernakalant from our previous partner, Merck & Co.," said Bob Rieder , Cardiome's Chairman of the Board. "With Bill's previous experience in managing a successful commercial organization at Angiotech Pharmaceuticals, we have every confidence in his leadership to move Cardiome forward as a commercial stage entity."
"Both Karim and Sheila have played pivotal roles in vernakalant's development and achievements to date," said William Hunter, M.D., Cardiome's President and CEO. "Karim's experience in successfully launching pharmaceutical products coupled with Sheila's extensive knowledge of vernakalant will be instrumental to the company's future success."
Prior to Cardiome, Dr. Hunter co-founded Angiotech Pharmaceuticals in 1992 and assumed the position of Chief Executive Officer in 1997 when Angiotech was a venture-stage, private, pre-clinical company with less than 50 employees. He led Angiotech through 3 rounds of private equity financing, the initial public offering and listing on the Toronto Stock Exchange and NASDAQ, over $1 billion in equity and debt financings, a debt restructuring and 8 separate corporate acquisitions. During that time, Angiotech grew to become a profitable, diversified, healthcare company with over 1,400 employees, several thousand commercially available products, and 12 facilities in 5 countries. Dr. Hunter, a physician by training, served as a practicing physician in British Columbia for 5 years.
Mr. Karim Lalji has served as Cardiome's SVP Commercial Affairs since 2007. As Chief Commercial Officer, he will be responsible for overseeing the commercialisation of BRINAVESS™ in Europe and other markets worldwide amongst other commercial and corporate business development related activities. Prior to Cardiome, Mr. Lalji was previously Vice President of Business Strategy and New Product Commercialization at Sepracor, Inc. A key achievement at Sepracor, Inc. was his leadership in the development and launch of Lunesta® (eszopiclone) for the treatment of insomnia. Mr. Lalji's earlier experience includes ten years with Merck & Company, where he led several successful product launches including Crixivan®for HIV/AIDS and Fosamax® Once Weekly for osteoporosis. Mr. Lalji holds a Science Masters in Health and Policy Management from Harvard University.
Ms. Sheila Grant was most recently Cardiome's VP of Product Development, with responsibility for the overall management of the vernakalant IV and oral programs. She has overseen the development of vernakalant from its initial pre-clinical studies through to commercialization. Ms. Grant's past roles at Cardiome have included Vice President, Commercial Affairs and Director of Business & Clinical Development. Prior to joining Cardiome, Ms. Grant acted as business consultant to De Novo Enzyme Corporation and Coopers & Lybrand. Ms. Grant also worked in research and development, production, and quality assurance with Schering Agrochemicals U.K., Wellcome Biotechnologies U.K. and Serono Diagnostics U.K. respectively. Ms. Grant holds an MBA degree from Simon Fraser University.
About Cardiome Pharma Corp.
Cardiome Pharma Corp. is a biopharmaceutical company dedicated to the discovery, development and commercialization of new therapies that will improve the health of patients around the world. Cardiome has one marketed product, BRINAVESSTM(vernakalant IV), approved in Europe and other territories for the rapid conversion of recent onset atrial fibrillation to sinus rhythm in adults.
Cardiome is traded on the NASDAQ Capital Market (CRME) and the Toronto Stock Exchange (COM). For more information, please visit our web site at www.cardiome.com.
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