- AstraZeneca has named Alexion CFO Aradhana Sarin the U.K. company's new finance chief, replacing Marc Dunoyer. The change will happen after the close of AstraZeneca's $39 billion acquisition of the rare disease specialist, which was announced in December and is set to be completed in the third quarter of 2021.
- Dunoyer will move to a chief strategy officer role at AstraZeneca and will serve as Alexion's top executive. As part of the moves, Dunoyer will retire from AstraZeneca's board of directors.
- A former rare diseases chief at GlaxoSmithKline, Dunoyer joined AstraZeneca in 2013, not long after Pascal Soriot became CEO. He played a key role in the pharma's turnaround from a company facing one of the industry's biggest patent cliffs to one with a growing business in cancer and rare diseases.
Sarin joined Alexion in November 2017 as chief strategy and business officer at a time when the biotech company was recovering from an accounting scandal over reporting of sales on its top-selling drug, Soliris. She succeeded Paul Clancy as CFO in 2019. Taking the same role at AstraZeneca will elevate her to an even more high-profile role.
Dunoyer, meanwhile, joined AstraZeneca as executive vice president of its global portfolio and product strategy in June 2013 and moved up to CFO in November of the same year, replacing Simon Lowth. At the time, the company's revenue was shrinking as many of its mainstay drugs were facing competition from generic rivals.
As it sought to reverse its slump, AstraZeneca sold off many of its legacy products in order to raise capital and refocus its research. The company returned to revenue growth in 2018, albeit as a slimmed-down drugmaker still well below a 2010 revenue peak of $33 billion.
The company previously targeted revenue of $40 billion in 2023, and the Alexion acquisition could help it get there. Alexion had sales of $6 billion in 2020, but could face biosimilar competition for its top seller, Soliris, in 2025. The Food and Drug Administration has already approved a branded Soliris rival, Empalevi, from biotech Apellis Pharmaceuticals.
AstraZeneca, meanwhile, hit $27 billion in sales in 2020.
To prepare for the likely sales decline from Soliris, Dunoyer will need to carefully execute a strategy of switching patients from the drug to a successor product called Ultomris, which requires less frequent dosing of patients with the rare diseases paroxysmal nocturnal hemoglobinuria and atypical hemolytic uremic syndrome.