Less than a month after announcing plans to eliminate 1,900 jobs, Abbott Labs is reorganizing its pharmaceutical unit and the head of the operation, Donald Patton, will retire next week. The reorg combines domestic and international pharma businesses into a "proprietary" division focusing on patented brand meds, and will be run by Carlos Alban, a senior vp for international pharma.
Patton, 59, has been senior vp of US pharma biz since January 2010, but the unit has run into difficulties, such as the recent failure to win FDA approval for the Certriad cholesterol pill, which would have combined its own TriLipix with AstraZeneca’s Crestor. Development was then discontinued. And last month, Abbott disclosed plans to delay seeking FDA approval for a psoriasis med after receiving word from agency staffers about safety concerns. UPDATE: About 1,500 of the 1,900 job losses are coming from the pharma unit, and a spokesman sends us a comment in which Abbott ceo Miles White says Patton had an "outstanding career" and helped revive the nutrition portfolio.
For the record, over the last several years, Patton held executive jobs at the nutrition and diagnostics units, as well as TAP Pharmaceutical Products, which was a joint venture with Takeda Pharmaceutical (read his bio). However, Patton and several other TAP employees were indicted by federal prosecutors in 2002 on charges of conspiring to illegally market the Lupron cancer med. But he and several others were acquitted by a jury at a trial in Boston in 2004. TAP paid $875 million to settle the government charges, as noted by Dow Jones which first reported the upcoming changes.
Meanwhile, Abbott will shrink its board to 10 directors from 13, according to a filing with the US Securities and Exchange Commission (see here). We asked a spokesman for a comment and will update you accordingly. UPDATE: Three directors have reached retirement age 72 as of April 29, 2011: Lord Owen, a director since 1996; Roy Roberts, a board member since 1998, and William Smithburg, a director since 1982.
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