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UPDATE 2-Alexion Pharmaceuticals says CEO, CFO resign, shares slump
December 12, 2016 / 1:43 PM / a year ago

UPDATE 2-Alexion Pharmaceuticals says CEO, CFO resign, shares slump

* Appoints former AstraZeneca executive as interim CEO

* Board lost confidence in CEO, CFO - source

* Shares down 13 pct (Adds details, updates shares, analyst comments)

By Ankur Banerjee

Dec 12 (Reuters) - Alexion Pharmaceuticals Inc’s chief executive officer and chief financial officer resigned, a month after the drugmaker said it was investigating allegations related to sales practices of its flagship drug.

Alexion’s shares were down 13 percent at $114.83 on Monday.

The company said David Brennan, board member and former AstraZeneca Plc chief, would replace CEO David Hallal on an interim basis.

Alexion’s board had lost confidence in the drugmaker’s CEO and CFO, a source familiar with the matter told Reuters.

The company had disclosed last month that it was investigating allegations made by a former employee regarding sales practices involving its costly blood disorder drug, Soliris.

“We suspect that the handling of the whistleblower case led to a fight for control of the board, which the CEO/CFO lost,” Piper Jaffray analyst Joshua Schimmer wrote in a client note.

Alexion said Chief Financial Officer Vikas Sinha would be replaced by David Anderson, who was previously CFO of Honeywell International Inc.

The investigation, which is nearing completion, had not identified any facts that require the company to update its previously reported historical results at this point in time, Alexion said on Monday.

William Blair analysts said while the executive changes may signify a serious internal matter, the update on the investigation is highly encouraging as it suggests that a financial restatement does not appear likely.

Alexion, which had delayed filing its financial report for the quarter ended Sept. 30 due to the investigation, said it expected to file its report by January.

Soliris, approved for rare blood disorders paroxysmal nocturnal hemoglobinuria and atypical hemolytic uremic syndrome, had sales of $2.59 billion in 2015.

Hallal, who joined Alexion in 2006, had been appointed the company’s CEO in April 2015. (Reporting by Ankur Banerjee in Bengaluru; Editing by Sriraj Kalluvila and Anil D‘Silva)

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