Teva taps new North American commercial chief as key meds Ajovy, Austedo lag their rivals
Fresh off a global cost-cutting spree and with Teva’s branded medicines lagging against their rivals, CEO Kåre Schultz is again changing his executive ranks.
Brendan O’Grady, who Schultz previously tapped to lead Teva’s North American commercial business, is leaving the company to pursue other opportunities, the company said. Teva’s executive vice president of marketing and portfolio in international markets, Sven Dethlefs, is taking the post.
Aside from that switch, Teva’s HR chief and head of communications, Mark Sabag, is taking the EVP post for international markets. And the company unveiled a pair of promotions: Galia Inbar is taking the HR chief spot, while Eli Shani will become EVP of global marketing and portfolio.
In a statement, Schultz thanked O’Grady for his 30 years of service at Teva and for his “leadership in helping to stabilize the US business and setting Teva up for future growth … during challenging times.” For his part, Dethlefs has been a part of Teva’s exec team since 2017 and will “bring great strength to the regional business,” Schultz said.
With its multiple sclerosis drug Copaxone facing copycats and its generic business under pressure, Teva has been increasingly reliant on tardive dyskinesia treatment Austedo and migraine prevention med Ajovy for growth.
Both therapies are trailing their rivals. Austedo pulled in $638 million last year, compared with $993 million for Neurocrine’s rival TD drug Ingrezza.
Meanwhile, Teva is selling Ajovy in a crowded migraine prevention field occupied by the likes of Amgen, Eli Lilly and migraine specialist Biohaven. Ajovy generated $183 million last year, compared with $378 million for Amgen’s Aimovig and $362 million for Eli Lilly’s Emgality.
In the first quarter of 2021, both meds underperformed in North America relative to Wall Street expectations, RBC Capital Markets analyst Daniel Busby wrote to clients in April.
The exec changes come after Schultz in November 2017 tapped O’Grady to lead the North American commercial unit. That was one of Schultz’s first moves at Teva after the drugmaker tapped the former Lundbeck and Novo Nordisk executive as its CEO in September 2017.
But Schultz has been doing much more than making personnel decisions at the drugmaker. Shortly after taking over the reins, he kicked off a global cost-cutting program that has resulted in at least 10,000 jobs slashed and yielded about $3 billion in annual savings.
Aside from that effort, the company has been navigating complex opioid and price-fixing litigation in the U.S. It’s been in settlement talks over its opioid litigation for years, but recently, the company settled a price-fixing lawsuit from Mississippi for $925,000.