Ex-Merck Serono CMO takes up medical role at struggling Ipsen in its evolving C-suite

Steven Hildemann, M.D., Ph.D., has served stints at U.S. and Germany's Merck. (Ipsen)

Steven Hildemann, M.D., Ph.D., is set to join Parisian biotech Ipsen as its new executive vice president and chief medical officer as the company looks to overturn a clinical hold and steady the ship under a new CEO.

Hildemann will also head up its global medical affairs and pharmacovigilance and officially starts at the beginning of March. Based in Paris, Hildemann will report directly to the biotech’s interim chief (and chief financial officer) Aymeric Le Chatelier, at least until a permanent replacement is found.

His appointment comes just a few months after Ipsen’s former chief executive David Meek jumped ship to run a new gene therapy startup, with his exit coming swiftly on the heels of the FDA hitting it with a partial clinical hold for two trials of rare disease drug palovarotene.

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Ipsen gained that drug in its $1 billion (€900 million) takeover of Clementia Pharmaceuticals just eight months prior.

Alongside Meek, Ipsen’s R&D head Alexandre Lebeaut, M.D., also retired from the company at the end of last year. He was succeeded by Howard Mayer, M.D., Shire’s ex-senior vice president, chief medical officer and head of R&D at its neuroscience unit, who last month became its new EVP and head of R&D after being at Shire (now Takeda) for nearly seven years.

The future of palovarotene will now very much be a focus for Mayer and Hildemann, as well as its other pipeline work.

Hildemann has served stints at Germany’s Merck, where he was chief medical officer, SVP and head of global medical affairs and global patient safety, and he’s also worked at some major names including U.S. Merck/Schering-Plough as its associate VP of global clinical ops and at Amgen and Pfizer/Pharmacia.

Le Chatelier said: “As we advance as a leading global biopharmaceutical company focused on innovation and Specialty Care, it is my great pleasure to appoint Dr. Hildemann to lead Ipsen’s Global Medical Affairs, Patient Affairs and Pharmacovigilance organizations through patient-centric leadership, sound medical governance and business conduct.

“With over 20 years of service in the pharmaceutical industry and 10 years as a physician-scientist in academic medicine, he brings a wealth of experience in medical affairs, clinical operations and patient safety from major global biopharmaceutical companies.”

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