Leo Pharma picks Bourdon as CEO after one-year stint at failed Danish meme stock Orphazyme

Christophe Bourdon's time at Danish meme stock Orphazyme, which has a rejected rare disease drug, will come to a head in March. He will assume the helm at Leo Pharma as it prepares to launch its eczema drug.

Bourdon will join Leo as CEO on April 1. The Danish dermatology biopharma is preparing to launch its eczema drug, Adbry (tralokinumab), for moderate-to-severe atopic dermatitis in February after gaining FDA approval in late-December 2021. Leo bought the drug from AstraZeneca for $115 million in 2016 and last June, gained approval in the U.K. and EU, where it's marketed as Adtralza. 

With multiple eczema, atopic dermatitis, asthma and psoriasis assets, Leo will look to Bourdon to help "launch a global product portfolio" as the biopharma builds toward an initial public offering within four to five years, the company said Monday. 

RELATED: Leo Pharma gains FDA nod for eczema drug Adbry, but can it challenge Sanofi and Regeneron's formidable Dupixent?

The 6,000-employee company will go through a reorganization that could impact 1,000 positions over the next two years, Leo said Jan. 19. At that time, 68 employees had already been impacted, and Leo said it was shutting down its regenerative medicine innovation hub and science and tech centers in Asia and Boston. 

Bourdon will replace Anders Kronborg, Leo's chief financial officer, who has been holding the interim CEO title since Catherine Mazzacco resigned from the role on Nov. 30. Leo also lost its U.S. CEO Christopher Posner to Cara Therapeutics last fall. 

Now that we're caught up on Leo, it's time to move on to Orphazyme, the meme stock biotech that Bourdon will shortly depart. He'll be replaced by CFO Anders Vadsholt. The news slightly buoyed Orphazyme's stock, climbing 6.7% to $1.97 apiece as of 12:45 p.m. eastern time Monday. 

RELATED: FDA rejects Orphazyme's rare disease drug, continuing wild ride for Danish meme stock

Bourdon joined the biotech in March 2021 after serving as head of Amgen's U.S. oncology business. At Orphazyme, he was quickly hit by a wild ride on the stock market as shares scaled mountains to $77 apiece and crashed to $5 thanks to chatter on Reddit. Then, in June, the FDA rejected the Copenhagen biotech's rare disease drug, arimoclomol, for Niemann-Pick disease type C. 

Later that month, the single-asset company cut about two-thirds of its workforce.

Just two weeks ago, Bourdon was touting Orphazyme's interactions with European regulators as the biotech "eagerly" awaited an opinion from the European Medicines Agency's committee during the first quarter of this year, potentially giving arimoclomol hope for a commercial future. The company was also continuing its work with the FDA to see about asking the agency once again to approve arimoclomol.