UPDATE 1-Savient hires ex-Eli Lilly exec as CEO

* Names John Johnson as CEO

* Johnson recently was sr v-p at Eli Lilly

Jan 25 (Reuters) - Savient Pharmaceuticals Inc SVNT.O named former Eli Lilly & Co LLY.N executive John Johnson as its chief executive effective Jan 31.

Johnson was most recently a senior vice president of Eli Lilly and president of Lilly Oncology Business Unit. Prior to this, he was CEO of ImClone Systems, which was acquired by Lilly in November 2008.

Savient had said in late December that it was searching for a CEO. President Paul Hamelin has been looking after daily operations since November 2008. [ID:nASA01BAC]

Hamelin will continue in his current role until a transition period and then leave the company to pursue other interests, the company said.

Savient’s shares, which have lost 10 percent since some batches of the company’s gout drug failed to meet a manufacturing specification on Jan. 7, closed at $9.90 on Monday on Nasdaq. (Reporting by Shravya Jain in Bangalore; Editing by Gopakumar Warrier)