Future Eli Lilly CEO Says Dealmaking Will Be a Focus
By Alex Keown, BioSpace.com Breaking News Staff
Ricks said his tenure at the helm of Eli Lilly will look to innovation as well as take a focus on establishing collaborative agreements with other companies. Ricks told Reuters the company would not likely look to some of the “mega-mergers that have hurt productivity of other drugmakers.” One such merger mentioned was Pfizer’s merger with companies such as Warner-Lambert, Pharmacia and Wyeth (WYE) over a nine-year period that failed to “produce a single important medicine” during that time, Reuters said.
Eli Lilly tapped Ricks to succeed longtime CEO John Lechleiter, who will retire at the end of the year. Ricks currently serves as president of Lilly Bio-Medicines, which encompasses the therapeutic areas of Alzheimer’s disease, urology, immunology, musculoskeletal disease, and pain, as well as the company’s global marketing function.
The dealmaking that Ricks has in mind will not hinder the company’s plan to launch 20 new products, spread across five therapeutic areas, diabetes, oncology, immunology, neurodegeneration and pain, between now and 2023.
When his new position was announced Wednesday, Ricks said Eli Lilly has built a strong pipeline and have a promising portfolio of recently approved new medicines.
“Now, we must realize our growth potential in an increasingly challenging global marketplace. We must focus on delivering better and better medicines to the patients who need them, and in so doing, benefit our employees, communities and shareholders alike,” Ricks said in a statement.
And the company has seen some benefits already, despite some challenges it has faced due to the loss of patent protection for such blockbuster drugs as Zyprexa, Cymbalta, and Evista, which resulted in lost earnings. But, the company is turning that around with a predicted 5 percent annual revenue growth through the end of the decade, Reuters said.
Part of that growth could come from a new focus on high-risk experimental “moon shot drugs” with a focus on treating Alzheimer’s disease and cardiovascular disease. One of those drugs is Solanezumab, a medication that aims to prevent the build-up of brain plaque, which some believe may be a cause of Alzheimer’s.
Eli Lilly also indicated it could launch up to two new indications or line extensions for already-approved products each year during the same period.
Ricks’ successor as president of Lilly Bio-Medicines will be announced at a later date, the company said.