Chutes & Ladders—Former Actavis head Bisaro to lead Impax

Paul Bisaro has landed at Impax as CEO after handing over the leading role at what's now Allergan.

Chutes and Ladders

Welcome to this week's Chutes and Ladders, our roundup of hirings, firings and retirings throughout the industry. Please send the good word—or the bad—from your shop to Eric Sagonowsky (email) or Angus Liu (email), and we will feature it here at the end of each week.

Former Actavis head Bisaro to take the reins at Impax

Paul Bisaro

Paul Bisaro was named CEO.

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Impax is currently in a recovering phase, with securities lawsuit, manufacturing problems, job cuts and generic competition saw its stock price plummet and former CEO Fred Wilkinson hit the road last December. Now, the company has tapped industry vet Paul Bisaro as its new CEO. Bisaro was CEO and chairman of Actavis before an M&A with Allergan happened. The longtime generics chief is stepping in for interim CEO J. Kevin Buchi at Impax. He comes with 25 years of expertise he put into play while building Actavis into a top-tier generics maker, partly through M&A. And a little M&A is exactly what Impax may need right now. There was report earlier this month that the California company had brought on Morgan Stanley to help it conduct a strategic review and weigh options for buying a rival or selling itself. FiercePharma

Ex-Baxalta chief Hantson joins struggling Alexion as CEO

Ludwig Hantson

Ludwig Hantson became CEO.

The pattern is strikingly similar. Just like Bisaro used to head Actavis, Ludwig Hantson was the head of Baxter and its spinoff Baxalta until Shire acquired Baxalta for $32 billion. And like Impax, Connecticut biotech Alexion also has its own problems. It bid farewell to its former CEO David Hallal and CFO Vikas Sinha last December amid an internal investigation on allegations of sales fraud related to its lead med Soliris. Now Hantson has been chosen to take the helm from interim CEO and former AstraZeneca chief David Brennan, who’s expected to move to chair the company’s board later. Before Baxalta, Hantson had held several leadership roles at Novartis from 2001 to 2010, including CEO of Novartis’ North American pharma division and CEO of Novartis Europe. An immediate task in front of him is getting a new lucrative indication expansion for Soliris in the U.S. and EU. FiercePharma

The Starboard-Depomed drama sees Bayer and Abbott vet Higgins in and Schoeneck out

Arthur Higgins

Arthur Higgins succeeded Jim Schoeneck as CEO.

The understanding agreement between Depomed and activist investor Starboard Value didn’t end with board changes last October, but now to the top of its executive team. The company has replaced former CEO Jim Shoeneck with 35-year pharma industry vet Arthur Higgins, who used to serve as CEO of Bayer Healthcare and the president of Abbott’s pharma division. Also announced were two board substitutions—Barr Pharmaceuticals CFO William McKee and Starboard Value partner Gavin Molinelli were named to take over from Samuel Saks and David Zenoff. The company recently pre-reported a Q1 revenue miss from the expected $115 million to below $100 million. At the same time, the opioid maker also became one of the targets of Sen. Claire McCaskill’s probe into the “overutilization and overprescription” of the meds. FiercePharma | Read more on FiercePharma

> Liang Xinjun, co-founder of Fosun International, the conglomerate behind Fosun Pharma, has stepped down as CEO “due to health reasons,” while also co-founder Wang Qunbin took the job; Song Jinsong, SVP of Fosun Pharma has also resigned “due to personal reasons.” Reuters story

> Mylan named former SEC commissioner Daniel Gallagher as chief legal officer. Release

> Takeda appointed Ricardo Marek as the president of its emerging markets business unit, and Giles Platford will be moving from that role to be president of Europe and Canada. Release

> Olivier Danos was moving from his role as SVP of cell and gene therapy at Biogen to the newly created CSO position at Regenxbio. Release

> Central nervous system disorders expert Acadia tapped Michael Yang, president of Janssen Biotech, to succeed retiring Terrence Moore as EVP and chief commercial officer. Release

> CRO Worldwide Clinical Trials selected William "Bill" Hirschman as EVP and head of global business development. Release

> Integer, a medical device outsource manufacturer, announced that Thomas Hook has stepped down as its president and CEO. Release

> Vincent J. Angotti came on board with AcelRx Pharmaceuticals as CEO. Release

> Domainex, a U.K.-based drug discovery services company, appointed Timo Veromaa, M.D., Ph.D., as executive chairman. Release

> Israeli company Pluristem named Yaky Yanay as co-CEO with current CEO Zami Aberman, and also promoted Erez Egozi to Yanay's previous role as CFO. Release