UPDATE 2-ImClone names former J&J biotech executive as CEO
(Adds analyst comment, background)
LOS ANGELES Aug 9 (Reuters) - ImClone Systems Inc IMCL.O, maker of colon cancer drug Erbitux, said on Thursday that former Johnson & Johnson executive John Johnson will take the helm as chief executive, effective Aug. 27.
Johnson, 49, has held various senior management positions at J&J (JNJ.N) and most recently served as group chairman of its worldwide biopharmaceuticals unit, ImClone said in a statement.
ImClone, which is controlled by billionaire investor Carl Icahn, had been run temporarily by a committee following a corporate shake-up at the company last year.
"It's great to see a full time CEO in place," said Cowen & Co. analyst Eric Schmidt.
"Hopefully he brings stability to the organization," Schmidt said. "We hope for the best, but it's hard to predict what kind of affect he'll have on the company."
The New York-based biotechnology company reported on July 31 that second-quarter U.S. sales of Erbitux, which is also used to treat head-and-neck cancer, fell 6 percent to $162.1 million due to competition from rival drug Vectibix from Amgen Inc (AMGN.O).
ImClone receives a 39 percent royalty on U.S. Erbitux sales. In July, the company expanded its agreement with U.S. partner Bristol-Myers Squibb (BMY.N) and said it planned to contribute $40 million this year for further development of the targeted drug, instead of the $75 million it originally anticipated.
Stock trades in late 2001, based on insider news of a yet-to-be-announced FDA rejection of Erbitux, landed ImClone's original CEO, Sam Waksal, and his friend Martha Stewart, in jail. Erbitux was approved two years later with Waksal behind bars. (Additional reporting by Bill Berkrot and Lewis Krauskopf in New York) (Reporting by Lisa Baertlein)
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