PARIS, March 5 France's Stallergenes
said on Wednesday it had appointed former Actelion
manager Christian Chavy as its new chief executive to drive the
company's expansion into the U.S. immunotherapy market.
Chavy will become CEO as of March 31, replacing Roberto
Gradnik, the company said in a statement. Chavy previously
worked for ARES Life Science, an investment fund dedicated to
healthcare, and as president of global operations for Actelion,
Europe's biggest biotech company.
Stallergenes posted a 3.5 percent rise in revenue in 2013,
driven by sales of its immunotherapy pill Oralair, which it
hopes to launch this year in the United States for the treatment
of grass allergies.
Current operating profit rose 12.4 percent year-on-year and
represented 25.6 percent of total revenues of 248.1 million
euros ($340.8 million). This is an increase from a 23.2 percent
margin in 2012.
The company said it would target low single digit growth in
revenues this year assuming European state social security
systems maintain stable reimbursement conditions.
Currently marketed in 22 countries, Oralair generates sales
of 22.2 million euros last year, a 37 percent jump from 2012.
Oralair is a fast-dissolving tablet to be placed under the
tongue that contains extracts from five grass pollens - Sweet
vernal, Orchard, Perennial rye, Timothy, and Kentucky bluegrass.
It harnesses the immune system to alleviate allergies and is an
alternative to current injectable treatments.
Stallergenes hopes to win U.S. approval for the drug by the
end of this quarter. Merck and Danish partner ALK Abello
are expected to launch their own therapy Grastek in
the United States in about the same time frame.
Shares in Stallergenes closed down 1.36 percent at 53.65
euros before the announcements, giving the company a market
capitalisation of about 735 million euros.