Bristol-Myers Squibb Appoints Boerner to EVP

Brick outdoor sign stating Bristol-Myers Squibb

Bristol-Myers Squibb has appointed Christopher Boerner to replace Murdo Gordon, who left the company on August 3. Boerner will take on the positions of executive vice president and chief commercial officer, effective immediately.

Boerner is currently head of international markets at Bristol-Myers Squibb, where he oversaw the company’s commercial activities in all markets outside the U.S. He joined Bristol-Myers Squibb in February 2015 as head of the U.S. commercial organization. Before coming to Bristol-Myers, Boerner was executive vice president of commercial for Seattle Genetics. Prior to joining Seattle Genetics, Boerner led the marketing team for Dendreon Corporation. From 2002 to 2010, he was at Genentech in a range of commercial positions, including director of marketing on Avastin. He received his PhD and M.A. in Business Administration from the Haas School of Business at the University of California, Berkeley. He holds an A.B. in Economics and History from Washington University in St. Louis.

“I’m very excited to lead such a talented and diverse commercial team globally,” Boerner said in a statement. “Along with my commercial colleagues, I look forward to continuing to help BMS deliver on our mission of bringing transformational medicines to patients.”

Gordon left Bristol-Myers Squibb to join Amgen as executive vice president of global commercial operations. His position at Amgen will take effect on September 3. He is replacing Anthony C. Hooper, who is retiring. Prior to leaving Bristol-Myers, Gordon was head of global commercial strategy, including all sales and marketing activities, customer operations, access and pricing. Before that, he was head of worldwide markets.

Gordon moved to the U.S. in 2003, where he held senior commercial leadership roles in cardiovascular, neuroscience, oncology and immunology in addition to access and government affairs. He joined Bristol-Myers Squibb in 1989 in Canada. He received a Bachelor of Science in Cell and Molecular Biology from Concordia University, Montreal, and participated in the General Management Program, CEDEP at INSEAD, Fontainebleau, France.

Of the promotion of Boerner, Bristol-Myers Squibb’s chairman and chief executive officer, Giovanni Caforio, stated, “Chris brings a deep knowledge of specialty care markets, a clear focus on innovation, and a proven track record of successful execution. Since joining BMS, he has successfully led our commercial organization across the U.S. and international markets. I am confident he will build upon the company’s solid foundation and continue to strengthen our ability to bring medicines to patients faster.”

Boerner takes the reins just as the company’s immuno-oncology drug Opdivo is expected to grow, but still lag behind Merck’s Keytruda. In the EvaluatePharma’s comprehensiveWorld Preview 2018, Outlook to 2024,” Opdivo sales are projected to grow by 10 percent compounded annually. Keytruda sales are projected to grow by 19 percent.

Figuring out how to boost Opdivo sales and its immuno-oncology portfolio is likely to be one of Boerner’s challenges. But Bristol-Myers doesn’t have to lean on just Opdivo. Seeking Alpha notes, “Nowhere in EP’s 47-page report is Bristol-Myers Squibb’s Yervoy even mentioned, as if it is of no significant economic importance. Yes, Yervoy sales over the past four quarters have only been one-fifth that of Opdivo sales. But the Opdivo-Yervoy combination is gaining traction and evidence is accumulating that growth of both drugs should accelerate. Following the FDA approval of the O-Y combo for renal cell cancer in April, Yervoy saw a resurgence in 2018Q2 after four quarters of declining sales.”

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