Gilead’s Chairman and CEO To Step Down

Gilead Sciences has announced that John F. Milligan, PhD, President and Chief Executive Officer (CEO) and John C. Martin, PhD, Chairman, will step down from their roles.

Milligan will remain in his current position through the end of the year (2018) while Gilead’s Board of Directors conducts a search to identify a successor. He will also step down from the Gilead Board of Directors at the end of the year. Additionally, Martin has announced his intent to step down from the board at the time a new CEO joins the company.

Milligan joined Gilead Sciences in 1990 and was appointed CEO in March 2016. He began his career at Gilead as a research scientist, and subsequently held leadership positions in project management and corporate development before being named Chief Financial Officer in 2002. He was appointed Chief Operating Officer in 2007 and President in 2008.

Martin joined Gilead Sciences in 1990 and was appointed Executive Chairman in March 2016. He served as Chairman and CEO from June 2008 through March 2016 and President and CEO from 1996 through May 2008. Prior to joining Gilead, Dr. Martin held several leadership positions at Bristol-Myers Squibb and Syntex Corporation.

The executives have been part of Gilead’s rise, lead by its hepatitis C franchise, but most recently have also been part of declining sales in that product franchise. Gilead’s Sovaldi (sofosbuvir), the first oral treatment for hepatitis C, was approved by the US Food and Drug Administration in late 2013 and it became the company’s top-selling drug in 2014 with sales of $10.3 billion, contributing to more than a doubling of the company’s product revenues in 2014 from $10.8 billion in 2013 to $24.5 billion in 2014. A follow-up hepatitis C drug, Harvoni (ledipasvir/sofosbuvir), which was approved in 2014, eventually surpassed Sovaldi in sales, but both drugs have faced declining sales. In 2017, Harvoni had sales of $4.37 billion, down from 2016 sales of $9.08 billion, and Sovaldi had 2017 sales of $964 million, down from 2016 sales of $4.0 billion.

The downward track continued in the first half of 2018. The company reported a decline in product sales in the first half of 2018 to $10.541 billion, down from $13.423 billion in the year-ago period. Chronic hepatitis C (HCV) product sales, which consist of Epclusa (sofosbuvir 400 mg/velpatasvir 100 mg), Harvoni (ledipasvir 90 mg/sofosbuvir 400 mg), Vosevi (sofosbuvir 400 mg/velpatasvir 100 mg/voxilaprevir 100 mg) and Sovaldi (sofosbuvir 400 mg), were $1.0 billion for the second quarter of 2018 compared to $2.9 billion for the same period in 2017. The decline was primarily due to lower sales of Harvoni, Epclusa and Sovaldi across all major markets as a result of increased competition, said the company.  

In announcing the executive changes, the company emphasized other product and therapy areas. “…Gilead has the right strategy in place to successfully execute on its mission of improving the lives of people with some of the world’s most serious diseases, led by a robust HIV franchise, an industry-leading cell therapy platform and a late-stage pipeline in NASH and inflammation,” said Martin in a July 25, 2018 company statement. “Moreover, we have the resources to continue investing in and expanding our strong R&D pipeline, which remains paramount to our success.”

Source: Gilead Sciences

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