Aegerion Pharmaceuticals appoints new CEO

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Mary Szela has been made CEO of Aegerion Pharmaceuticals Inc. Szela is also now a member of Aegerion’s board of directors. Executives say Szela brings 27 years of progressive leadership experience to Aegerion as well as valuable expertise building global billion-dollar brands, such as Humira, and advancing pipeline products in the biotechnology and pharmaceutical industries.

Szela succeeds Sandford “Sandy” Smith, who served as interim CEO since July 2015. Smith has been appointed chairman of the board of directors, allowing him to continue to work closely with the management team to maintain the momentum on key company initiatives, while leveraging his expertise in the global orphan drug markets. He has served as a director since 2012. Smith succeeds David Scheer, who will remain an independent member of the board and will join the compliance committee.

“Mary’s track record of success and considerable experience in global commercial operations, clinical development and corporate governance make her ideally suited to lead the transformation of Aegerion into a new phase of growth,” Smith says. “We believe Mary’s experience and commitment aligns with Aegerion’s mission of developing therapies and providing appropriate support for patients with rare diseases.”

Szela was CEO of Melinta Therapeutics until August 2015, where she led the company’s revitalization effort, accelerated the lead asset into three phase programs and oversaw key business development transactions to monetize non-core assets. Before joining Melinta, she held various management positions at Abbott Laboratories, most recently as senior vice president for global strategic marketing and services.

From 2008 to 2010, Szela served as president of the $8 billion U.S. pharmaceuticals division, during which time she directed the development and launch of more than eight new pharmaceutical products and multi-billion dollar sales growth for Abbott’s flagship product, Humira. Between 2002 and 2008, Szela managed several of Abbott’s billion-dollar U.S. pharmaceutical businesses, and was VP of U.S. commercial operations. Before 2001, Szela held a series of leadership positions in the Abbott Hospital Products Division. She currently serves as a member of the boards of Novo Nordisk, Coherus Biosciences, and Suneva Medical. Szela earned an M.B.A. and a B.S. in nursing from the University of Illinois.    

 “With two marketed products, orphan drug development expertise and a growing global footprint, I believe we have the potential to build a sustainable company and make a meaningful impact on the lives of patients,” Szela says. “I’m truly excited to join Aegerion’s dedicated team of employees and directors as we advance the company’s mission to deliver break-through medicines for rare diseases.”  medadnews