Mark Durand named to Watson senior vice president and CFO
CORONA, Calif. Drug developer Watson Pharmaceuticals said Friday it named Mark Durand as senior vice president and chief financial officer.
Durand, 48, previously worked as chief financial officer at Teva Pharmaceuticals. He assumes the position left by Charles P. Slacik, who resigned in October 2006 to become chief financial officer of Beckman Coulter.
R. Todd Joyce, vice president, corporate controller and principal accounting officer, has served as interim principal financial officer.
Watson is a leading specialty pharmaceutical company that is best known for developing and marketing generic versions of well-known drugs.
Millenium takes a long-term view on expansion
BOSTON Biotechnology company Millennium Pharmaceuticals said that it has taken a less intense approach to bidding for experimental drugs, Reuters reported.
Millennium, which makes cancer drug Velcade, said Thursday that although its shareholders keep it on a longer leash, it will not destroy its focus on the value of the company, rather than trying to expand when it is impossible or unnecessary. “One of our strategies is to look outside to accelerate growth,” said Deborah Dunsire, Millennium’s chief executive, at the Reuters Health Summit in New York. “But our larger shareholders want us to stay religiously focused on being able to return value after we’ve paid for the assets.”
Last year’s bidding war with fellow biotechnology company Genzyme Corp. caused Millennium to intently concentrate on other things, including its pipeline of experimental products and its partnerships.
Meanwhile, Dunsire said the company has talked to several potential partners about MLN1202, its experimental antibody designed to reduce a protein that evidence suggests is related to coronary artery disease. While there no solid proof that elevated C-reactive protein directly contributes to an increased risk of heart disease, Dunsire said, the Food and Drug Administration would not approve the drug just because it reduces the protein.
Other companies involved in developing drugs for cardiovascular disease, however, could find it a very valuable tool and potentially a product in its own right. “We have taken this forward to determine whether it is an interesting avenue to explore,” Dunsire told Reuters.
For now, the company is expanding sales of Velcade, which is being tested in multiple combinations to determine its function when pooled with other drugs, Dunsire said. “We’re very optimistic we’ll get good growth in 2008. We’ve never looked at this as a zero-sum game.”
J&J combats slow sales with creation of three units
NEW BRUNSWICK, N.J. Johnson & Johnson will create three new units to combat its recent lagging sales, according to the Associated Press.
The three new units are: an office of strategy and growth to identify new opportunities; a surgical care group to focus on technology and services to improve patient care; and a comprehensive care group which will treat chronic and pervasive conditions. The office of strategy and growth is one of they key areas, as the company reported a decline in profit recently.
Nicholas Valeriani, the worldwide chairman for medical devices and diagnostics will lead the strategy and growth office. Sherilyn McCoy, the chairwoman for Ethicon, a medical device company, will be the worldwide chairwoman of surgical care and will become a member of the executive committee. Donald Casey, group chairman for the diabetes franchise, will become worldwide chairman of the comprehensive care unit and will join the executive committee.
“We have the know-how across our pharmaceutical, biologics, devices, diagnostics and consumer businesses to bring completely new solutions to market,” chief executive William Weldon said in a statement.