Geoffrey McDonough to leave Sobi as CEO, search is on for successor

Current CEO McDonough lives in Boston, but Sobi wants a leader based at its HQ in Europe.

Swedish Orphan Biovitrum (aka Sobi) will be losing its U.S.-based CEO Geoffrey McDonough this summer as the biotech seeks a new leader based in Europe.

McDonough, who will step down officially on 1 July this year, spends much of his time in Boston, but the Swedish biotech’s chair, Håkan Björklund, indicated that this was becoming a problem.

“Given the increasing demand and focus of our business in Europe, the board has decided that Sobi needs more continuous presence in Stockholm than Geoffrey can sustain given his current location in Boston,” Björklund said.

The rare disease biotech—which has had close ties with Biogen, which itself recently changed CEOs—said in a statement that a search for a successor has already been kick-started.  

Björklund noted: “Geoffrey McDonough has created remarkable value in his term as CEO. Under his leadership, Sobi has become a prominent rare disease biotech company with a vibrant and growing commercial portfolio and significant growth potential ahead.”

“Sobi stands today on the platform of a strong and unique rare disease position supported by several years of strong financial results,” added McDonough. “The company is entering a period of unprecedented growth and opportunity that will benefit from local leadership.”

McDonough was brought in to run Sobi in 2011 after a stint at Genzyme, another rare disease biotech that is now part of Sanofi. He was trained in Boston and returned there in 2014, when the company opened an office in Waltham, Massachusetts.

There had been rumors that Pfizer was in line to buy out the company in a $5 billion deal; reports suggest that Sobi terminated these talks around 18 months ago, but never identified the suitor.