Servier Taps Shire Veteran To Helm New U.S. Subsidiary

Kendall Square Boston

French biotech company Servier is setting up shop in Boston following its April deal to acquire Shire’s oncology business for $2.4 billion. The new business helps the company secure a commercial toehold in the United States as Servier looks to expand its global reach.

 As Servier builds its commercial presence on the back of Shire’s oncology portfolio, the company made sure to have someone familiar with the pipeline products at the helm of its new venture. Servier tapped Shire veteran David K. Lee as the new chief executive officer of the new U.S. subsidiary. Servier announced the new U.S. subsidiary, Servier Pharmaceuticals, late Monday. Servier said Lee’s position as chief executive officer of the new business is part of the agreement the company struck with Shire to acquire its oncology business. At the helm of Servier Pharmaceuticals, Less will be responsible for developing a strong presence in the United States based on its current pipeline, which includes Shire’s acute lymphoblastic leukemia (ALL) treatment, Oncaspar (pegaspargase).

In addition to Oncaspar, Servier also gained ex-U.S. rights to Onivyde (irinotecan pegylated liposomal formulation), which is used as part of a multi-agent treatment for metastatic pancreatic cancer. Servier will also gain Calaspargase Pegol (Cal-PEG), another ALL treatment that is currently under regulatory review in the United States  

Last year Shire’s oncology business generated revenue of $262 million.

At the time Servier struck the deal with Shire, Servier Group President Olivier Laureau said the acquisition was an “essential step in the evolution” of the company. Laureau added that the acquisition “allows us to establish a direct commercial presence in the United States, the world’s leading pharmaceuticals market, and to strengthen our portfolio of marketed products in the territories where Servier is already present.”

Lee is currently the head of Shire’s Global Genetic Diseases and Oncology franchises. Before taking that role, he served as Head of Strategy for the Oncology Franchise at Baxalta, which was acquired by Shire in 2016. Lee also held leadership roles at Novartis, including commercial strategy, government relations and overseeing clinical development of novel therapeutics. Servier said Lee will bring “extensive expertise” to his role as CEO of the new subsidiary.

In its announcement, Servier did not provide many details of the new subsidiary. There was no information provided about how many employees the company will begin with, what its funding is and where in Boston the company will set up shop. Last month the company Servier announced it was opening Servier BioInnovation in Cambridge, Mass. That new office is part of the company’s strategy to secure a physical toehold in the United States and expand its business through R&D, business development and licensing activities, the company said at the time.  

The deal with Shire is expected to close in the third quarter of this year. 

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