CEO Shift Aside, Whose Weight-Loss Pill’s Ahead
Just one month after the long-running turmoil at Vivus (VVUS) appeared to end, the fledgling purveyor of the Qsymia prescription diet pill has announced that former AstraZeneca (AZN) exec Tony Zook, who had just become CEO, is resigning due to an unspecified, but previously diagnosed medical condition.
He is being replaced by Seth Fischer, who was a Johnson & Johnson (JNJ) group chairman at Cordis Corporation until last year and was chairman of J&J Worldwide Franchise from 2008 to 2012, which included responsibility for the cardiovascular device business. He was also president of Ortho-McNeil Pharmaceuticals from 2000 to 2004.
The timing of the managerial change at Vivus also comes just three months after the launch of a primary rival – the Belviq pill – which is marketed by Arena Pharmaceutical (ARNA) and Eisai. On a week-over-week basis, the rate of new prescriptions written for Qysmia rose 6 percent as of mid-August, according to IMS Health data cited by Cowen analyst Simos Simeonidis. By contrast, Belviq scripts rose 9 percent.
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Ed Silverman, a contributing editor of YCharts, is the founder and editor of Pharmalot. He previously reported on the pharmaceutical industry and other business topics for the Star-Ledger of New Jersey, New York Newsday and Investor’s Business Daily. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org. Read the RIABiz profile of YCharts. You can also request a demonstration of YCharts Platinum.