HemCon hires Genentech vet as CEO to lead Chapter 11 exit strategy

So if you are a struggling life sciences company that just lost a major patent lawsuit on appeal and then filed for Chapter 11 reorganization, what's your next move? For HemCon Medical Technologies, the answer to that question turned out to be hiring a new CEO.

The Portland, OR company has hired Barry Starkman for the top spot. He's a veteran executive who most recently served as vice president of operations at Promega. Previously, he worked at Merck and served as a Genentech general manager, where he oversaw the design, construction, start-up and launch of that company's $450 million formulation, packaging and distribution facility in Portland, the company notes.

Starkman will have his work cut out for him. Last month, the company announced its Chapter 11 filing after the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit sided with Marine Polymer Technologies in an ongoing patent fight, affirming a $34.2 million award for Marine. The Massachusetts company had sued back in 2006 because it said HemCon infringed on its patents for biocompatible polymers by using hemostatic bandages with the same components. As the Portland Business Journal reminds us, chitosan is the controversial ingredient, as it's a substance derived from shrimp.

HemCon said it has subsequently reformulated its affected HemCon PRO product line and continues to make gels and dressings to control bleeding during trauma and surgery. In looking to exit Chapter 11, Starkman will help shepherd the company's LyP program through mid-stage trials, among other tasks. Nick Hart will continue at the company as president and CFO, and co-founder Bill Wiesmann also remains as chairman.

- read the release
- check out Portland Business Journal's take