Santhera poaches Vifor CCO as it looks to become leader in DMD

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Credit: Natee Meepian

Switzerland’s Santhera Pharmaceuticals has poached Vifor Pharma’s Chief Commercial Officer, Dario Eklund, to serve as its new CEO.

Thomas Meier will remain in his role as CEO until December 1 at which time he will step down. He will continue as a board member and will chair the board’s newly formed Scientific Committee.

To ensure a smooth leadership transition, he will also serve as a special advisor to Mr Eklund.

Prior to his role with Vifor Pharma, Mr Eklund spent a decade in Boston as Vice President and a member of the Executive Committee at Organogenesis, a Nasdaq-listed specialist in regenerative medicine and cell therapy with three approved products.

Puldysa (idebenone) is currently under review by the European Medicines Agency as treatment for patients with Duchenne muscular dystrophy (DMD) and vamorolone, a first-in-class steroidal drug, is in a pivotal DMD trial.

Vifor said that it expects market entries for both products next year as it gears up for commercial preparations both in the US and Europe.

“As we transition to become a leader in innovative treatments for rare neuromuscular and pulmonary diseases it is important for Santhera to be led by a CEO with international commercial experience,” said Mr Meier.

“Dario shares my belief in Santhera’s potential and excitement about the future opportunities for the Company and he will contribute the perfect blend of global commercial expertise and management skills to lead Santhera into the growth phase ahead.”

Mr Eklund added: “With two late-stage DMD drug candidates covering essentially the entire disease spectrum in all patients, Santhera is poised to become the world leader in an area where the unmet medical need is significant.”