Deborah Dunsire Takes Over as CEO of Denmark’s H. Lundbeck

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Former XTuit Pharmaceuticals Chief Executive Officer Deborah Dunsire has been appointed head of Denmark-based H. Lundbeck A/S. She takes over as head of Lundbeck following the departure of Kåre Schultz, who left the company to helm Teva Pharmaceuticals.

Chief Financial Officer Anders Götzsche had been serving as interim CEO since October of 2017. He will return to his CFO role now that Dunsire has been tapped. Dunsire officially assumes her duties at Lundbeck on Sept. 1. She will reside in Denmark.

Dunsire, who was included as one of BioSpace’s 10 women CEOs “leading the charge” last month, has a solid history as a leader in the biotech and pharma industries. Prior to her one-year tenure with XTuit, Dunsire served as CEO of FORUM Pharmaceuticals (formerly EnVivo Pharmaceuticals) and Millennium Pharmaceuticals, until it was acquired by Takeda Pharmaceuticals. Dunsire left FORUM shortly after its late-stage Alzheimer’s treatment failed in clinical trials and soon after the company shut its doors. Dunsire also founded Southern Cross Biotech Consulting in 2016. Dunsire has more than 30 years of experience in the industry, with a primary focus on oncology and central nervous system treatments.

XTuit, Dunsire’s most recent company, may have also closed its doors. The company’s website has been down for some time. XTuit was focused on the development of novel microenvironment-targeted therapeutics that act to silence activated stromal cells that as potential treatments for disease processes in fibrosis and cancer.  Dunsire’s appointment as CEO of XTuit was announced in March 2017.  

Lars Rasmussen, chairman of the Lundbeck Board of Directors, said Dunsire is a “proven and highly passionate leader and has all the qualifications to take Lundbeck to the next level as a global leader within psychiatric and neurological disorders.” He also noted that Dunsire has a “wealth” of R&D and commercial experiences that are combined with her knowledge and experience in the neuroscience space.

Dunsire, 56, praised Lundbeck, which earlier this year acquired Prexton Therapeutics BV, a 2012 spinout from Merck KgaA, and its Phase II treatment for Parkinson’s disease, as an innovative company in neuroscience. She said that neuroscience research and development is one of the “toughest research areas in the industry.”

I am excited to bring my experience to help build an even stronger and brighter future for Lundbeck, patients, employees, partners and shareholders,” Dunsire said in a statement.

Rasmussen praised Götzsche for his stepping in to serve as interim CEO following the departure of Schultz. Rasmussen said Götzsche has done an “excellent job” in moving Lundbeck forward. He expressed the same hope for forward momentum when Dunsire takes over. 

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