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Abbott Laboratories Says Pharma Chief To Retire

From Associated Press (July 1, 2010)

NEW YORK -- Medical device and drug developer Abbott Laboratories said Thursday Olivier Bohuon, executive vice president of pharmaceutical products, will retire from the company.

The North Chicago company said Bohuon, 51, will shortly announce his plans to accept another opportunity.

Richard A. Gonzalez, who retired as president and chief operating officer of Abbott in 2007, succeeds Bohuon on an interim basis. Gonzalez has been leading Abbott Ventures Inc., an investment arm of the company, since 2009.

Abbott’s pharmaceutical unit is the key revenue driver for the company. During the first quarter, the unit brought in $4.1 billion in sales, or more than half of all sales during the period. Sales of the biotech drug Humira, an injection for inflammatory diseases, rose more than 36 percent to $1.4 billion.

Other products in the pharmaceutical unit include the cholesterol drugs Tricor and Trilipix, which brought in $291 million in sales, while the cholesterol drug Niaspan had sales of $205 million. The HIV drug Kaletra had sales of $292 million.

The company has been trying to diversify its products through a series of buyouts and other deals. Humira, the key moneymaker, loses patent protection in 2017.

Meanwhile, the pharmaceutical unit is developing a range of drugs aimed at diseases including cancer and hepatitis C.

The cancer drug pipeline includes potential treatments ABT-263 and ABT-888. The company has said that its $450 million buyout of Facet Biotech Corp. adds a range of cancer drug collaborations, including early to midstage compounds.

That deal also gave the company a potential multiple sclerosis drug, now in late-stage development.

Abbott also has a potential treatment for chronic pain in early-stage development, along with three potential hepatitis C drugs in midstage development.

In February, Abbott completed the $6.2 billion buyout of Solvay’s pharmaceutical business, helping the company to expand internationally while gaining a range of hormone therapies and vaccines, though it is considering selling the vaccines unit.

Elsewhere, a collaboration with Neurocrine Biosciences Inc. is focusing on Elagolix, now in midstage development. It is aimed at treating pain associated with the gynecological condition endometriosis and as a potential treatment for uterine fibroids, or benign tumors in the uterus.


Posted: July 2010