Ferring’s chief science officer to take over as executive board president in January

boardroom
Falk helped the company acquire Rebiotix and its microbiota restoration therapy platform this past April. (Pixabay)

Ferring Pharmaceuticals’ chief operating officer and president of its executive board, Michel Pettigrew, announced that he plans to retire Dec. 31.

Chief Science Officer Per Falk, M.D., Ph.D., who oversees the company’s R&D and regulatory activities, will take over the additional role of president of the executive committee starting Jan. 1, 2019.

Pettigrew first joined the Switzerland-based Ferring in 2001 and helped it grow its annual revenues from €345 million (about $390 million at the time) to about €2 billion today ($2.28 billion), making it one of the largest global pharma companies. Before that, he served as vice president of Bristol-Myers Squibb’s oncology division in Europe.

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“I wish Per every success in his expanded leadership role,” said Frederik Paulsen, chairman of Ferring’s board of directors. “With his strong scientific and medical background, Per will lead Ferring with the Executive Committee to its next phase of growth and innovation.”

Falk joined Ferring in 2015, and has helped accelerate its focus on the microbiome, as well as its work in a number of external collaborations. He also helped the company acquire Rebiotix and its microbiota restoration therapy platform this past April.

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The acquisition’s lead candidate is a non-antibiotic treatment to prevent recurrent C. difficile infections by delivering healthy, live, human-derived microbes to the gut, currently in phase 3 trials. The asset, RBX-2660, has received fast track, breakthrough and orphan drug designations from the FDA.

"This is a long-term investment for us. We see it more as an R&D investment that creates a complete, mature microbiome platform rather than product acquisition from which we are looking to get short-term financial gains," Falk said at the time. "We will grow from this rather than say it all hinges on the success of the front-runner project."

Before Ferring, Falk held several executive and leadership roles, including in R&D and regional commercial leadership, during over 12 years at Novo Nordisk.