John H. Johnson has been named chief executive officer of Savient Pharmaceuticals, Inc., effective January 31, 2011. Mr. Johnson will also serve as a member of the board of directors. Paul Hamelin, Savient's president and most senior officer will continue in his current role throughout a transition period and will then leave the company to pursue other interests.
Mr. Johnson has significant biotechnology business experience having served as a senior vice president of Eli Lilly and Co. and president of Lilly’s Oncology Business Unit. Additionally, Mr. Johnson was chief executive officer of ImClone Systems and served on ImClone's board of directors until the company was acquired by Lilly in November 2008.
“John is a seasoned and accomplished leader in the biopharmaceutical industry and we are very fortunate to have him join Savient as our CEO,” said Stephen O. Jaeger, chairman of the board. “With the depth of his industry experience, we believe John is the right person to help Savient bring Krystexxa to market and realize this novel drug's full potential, both for our shareholders and those adult patients suffering from chronic gout refractory to conventional therapy. Since securing FDA approval for Krystexxa in September, we have been focused on bringing this exciting new drug to market. John is ideally suited to move us the rest of the way down the road.”