Nov 21 (Reuters) - Teva Pharmaceutical on
Monday appointed former Novartis and Biogen
executive Richard Francis to succeed chief executive officer
Kare Schultz who is due to retire later this year.
Francis, who currently holds the top post at gene therapy
firm Purespring Therapeutics and biopharma company Forcefield
Therapeutics, will also take the role of Teva's president,
effective Jan. 1, 2023.
Formerly the chief at Novartis' generic business Sandoz,
Francis, 54, has also worked at Biogen and oversaw the launch of
the company's multiple sclerosis drug Tecfidera.
Barclays analysts view the appointment as "timely for 2023"
with upcoming launch of Teva's schizophrenia drug Risperidone
LAI and a biosimilar of Amgen Inc's arthritis drug,
Francis brings in significant experience needed to grow
Teva's three core businesses of generics, biosimilars and
specialty, said Barclays analyst Balaji Prasad.
During Schultz's tenure, Teva has struggled with lower
prices for U.S. generics drugs, the loss of a patent on its
blockbuster multiple sclerosis drug Copaxone, and lawsuits
alleging the company helped fuel the U.S. opioid epidemic and
Teva is working to finalize a nationwide opioid settlement
valued at more than $4.2 billion.
U.S.-listed shares of the Israeli drugmaker fell
1.5% to $8.59 in morning trade.
Schultz, 61, was poached from Lundbeck and took
over in 2017 after Teva, under predecessor Erez Vigodman, bought
Allergan's generics business in a heavily criticized
move and saddled the company with a huge debt.
To help pay down the debt, Schultz slashed Teva's workforce
and shut plants, bringing net debt down by more than $15 billion
to $19 billion, but investors have not rewarded the moves.
Since Schultz took over, Teva's stock has fallen nearly 50%.
The company's market cap is down 85% from its peak of $67.5
billion in August 2015, according to Refinitiv data.
(Reporting by Bhanvi Satija and Khushi Mandowara in Bengaluru
and by Steven Scheer in Jerusalem; Editing by Shinjini Ganguli)