Bioverativ(BIVV) Adds a Fifth Director, Reports Additional Positive Long Term Data On ALPROLIX

Anna Protopapas

Following its spin off from Biogen(BIIB) in January, Bioverativ(BIVV) had merely four Directors- CEO John Cox and three independent Directors. This represented an unusually small Board for a company with a market cap of over $5 billion, and it was probably inevitable that the Board would grow. Last week, Bioverativ added a fifth director,  Anna Protopapas.

Ms. Protopapas has more than 20 years of experience in the biopharmaceutical industry, including her current role as President, Chief Executive Officer and member of the board of directors of Mersana Therapeutics, Inc. Previously, Ms. Protopapas was a member of the Executive Committee of Takeda Pharmaceutical Company Limited and held various senior management positions at the company, including President of Millennium Pharmaceuticals, a wholly owned subsidiary of Takeda focused on oncology. This appointment brings Bioverativ’s total number of directors to five, four of whom are independent.

“Anna brings a proven track record of leading and growing biopharmaceutical companies, which will be extremely valuable as we work to deliver on our vision of building Bioverativ into a great rare disease company focused on blood disorders,” said John Cox, Chief Executive Officer at Bioverativ. “We are excited to have Anna join Bioverativ’s board.”

“We are thrilled to add Anna’s rich perspective and knowledge of the industry gained from years of executive leadership, which we believe will benefit Bioverativ as we move forward,” said Brian Posner, Chairman of the Board of Bioverativ. “We welcome Anna and look forward to working with her to maximize value for shareholders.”

“I am delighted to join Bioverativ’s board to help guide the continued success of the company’s hemophilia franchise and advancement of its novel pipeline programs,” said Ms. Protopapas. “With its heritage of innovation, recent launch as an independent company, and singular focus on rare blood disorders, I believe that Bioverativ is poised to make great progress for patients.”

Ms. Protopapas joins the Bioverativ board of directors with a strong background in biopharmaceutical industry leadership and business development. While at Takeda, Ms. Protopapas led the oncology business and played an integral role in leading Millennium’s integration into Takeda. Prior to serving as president, she was Executive Vice President of Global Business Development, overseeing all of Takeda’s acquisitions, licensing, partnering and venture investing for a period of four years. Prior to Takeda, Ms. Protopapas held multiple leadership roles at Millennium Pharmaceuticals, including most recently Senior Vice President of Strategy and Business Development and membership on the Executive Committee where she led the company’s business development initiatives. Ms. Protopapas previously served on the board of directors of ARIAD Pharmaceuticals, Inc., a life sciences company, until its acquisition by Takeda in February 2017.

The company took the opportunity to remind us of the backgrounds of the other independent directors, who all hail from financial backgrounds. Ms. Protopapas adds much needed deep biotech experience to the Board.

  • Brian Posner (Chairman), the President of Point Rider Group LLC, a consulting and advisory services firm within the financial services industry and a private investor since 2008. Mr. Posner currently serves on the boards of directors of Biogen Inc. and Arch Capital Group Ltd. and is a trustee of the AQR Funds. Mr. Posner brings substantial experience as a leading institutional investment manager and advisor, and significant management and financial expertise to his leadership of the Bioverativ board.
  • Alexander Denner, Ph.D. (director), the founding partner and Chief Investment Officer of Sarissa Capital Management LP, a registered investment advisor, which he founded in 2012. Sarissa Capital focuses on improving the strategies of companies to enhance shareholder value. Dr. Denner also serves as a director of Biogen Inc. and The Medicines Company. Dr. Denner has a strong background overseeing the operations, capital allocation and research and development of healthcare companies and evaluating corporate governance matters. He also has extensive experience as an investor, particularly with respect to healthcare companies, and has broad healthcare-industry knowledge.
  • Louis Paglia (director), the founding member of Oakstone Capital LLC, a private investment firm, and founder of Customer Choice LLC, a data analytics company serving the electric utility industry. He currently serves as a member of the board of directors of Arch Capital Group Ltd. Mr. Paglia has a strong financial background, with experience in investment banking and extensive executive management and operating experience in publicly-held companies.

Separately, the company announced additional interim data showing long term efficacy and safety of its already marketed ALPROLIX drug for hemophilia B.

“The interim data from B-YOND confirm the safety profile of ALPROLIX, and show that adult, adolescent and pediatric subjects maintained low annual bleed rates with prophylactic dosing of ALPROLIX every 1-2 weeks,” said John Pasi, MD, PhD, principal investigator of the study, Professor of Haemostasis and Thrombosis at The Royal London Hospital, Barts and the London School of Medicine and Dentistry, London. “These results come from the longest-term study of an extended half-life therapy for hemophilia B and provide physicians across the globe with important insights and information about the treatment of hemophilia B.”

B-YOND is an ongoing open-label, non-randomized extension study, and eligible previously-treated patients who completed B-LONG or Kids B-LONG could enroll in one of three treatment groups: weekly prophylaxis, individualized prophylaxis, and modified prophylaxis. An episodic treatment arm is also available only to adult and adolescent participants. At the time of the interim data cut, 116 male subjects (93 from B-LONG and 23 from Kids B-LONG) were enrolled in the study.

“These results confirm the long-term safety and efficacy profile of ALPROLIX and show that a majority of the participants in the study were able to dose once weekly or less frequently while maintaining adequate protection,” said Maha Radhakrishnan, MD, senior vice president of medical at Bioverativ.

This data supports continued growth of ALRPOLIX revenue in a competitive hemophilia marketplace and Bioverativ’s continued leadership in the hemophilia community. Bioverativ stock has performed well since the spinoff, up over 20% to a recent close of $52.51.

Disclosure: The author holds no shares of any stock mentioned