Healthcare Business

Fibrogen Announces Passing of CEO

FibroGen Inc. (NASDAQ: FGEN) shares dipped slightly on Monday after the firm announced the passing of its chief executive and board chair, Thomas B. Neff, over the weekend. Board member James A. Schoeneck has been named FibroGen’s interim CEO.

Schoeneck is a nine-year member of FibroGen’s board of directors, chairperson of FibroGen’s Compensation Committee and a member of FibroGen’s Audit Committee. He was CEO at Depomed, and has previous CEO experience in the biopharmaceutical industry, as well as serving as Vice President and General Manager, Immunology, at Centocor.

Prior to his passing, Neff sold 39,636 FibroGen shares last week at an average price of $44.33 apiece. The total sale was $1.8 million.

The board of directors released this statement:

Tom leaves a legacy of innovation and dedication that has been rarely matched in this industry. Tom founded FibroGen in 1993 when he assembled the global scientific leaders in both collagen synthesis and the molecular and cellular mechanisms of prolyl hydroxylase inhibitors. This pioneering work led to the development of roxadustat, a hypoxia-inducible factor prolyl hydroxylase inhibitor (HIF-PHI) and pamrevlumab, a fully human monoclonal antibody that inhibits the activity of connective tissue growth factor, or CTGF, a critical mediator in the progression of fibrosis and related serious diseases.

Roxadustat, the first oral therapy for the treatment of anemia, is approved in China, under review in Japan, and approaching NDA in the U.S. and MAA in Europe; and pamrevlumab is in Phase 3 development for the treatment of both idiopathic pulmonary fibrosis and pancreatic cancer, and in Phase 2 in Duchenne muscular dystrophy.  Tom founded FibroGen with the vision to treat fibrosis at a time when there was no hope for this disease category and his commitment to these patients never wavered, nor did his passion for scientific innovation and discovery. He led this company for 25 years and established a company culture and a management team equally driven to support this passion.

Shares of FibroGen traded up about 3% Monday morning to $42.94, in a 52-week range of $33.51 to $61.95. The consensus price target is $64.00.