Company Update (NASDAQ:MACK): Merrimack Pharmaceuticals Inc Appoints Dr. Richard Peters as President and CEO


Merrimack Pharmaceuticals Inc (NASDAQ:MACK)  announced that Richard Peters, M.D., Ph.D., has been appointed as the Company’s President and Chief Executive Officer, effective February 6, 2017, at which time he will also be appointed to the Merrimack Board of Directors.

Dr. Peters will join Merrimack from his current role at Sanofi Genzyme, where he serves as Senior Vice President and Head of Global Rare Diseases.  He replaces Gary Crocker, Chairman and Interim President and CEO, who guided the Company during the recent restructuring process and search for a permanent CEO and will remain Chairman of the Board.

Dr. Peters is a veteran healthcare executive with 25 years of biopharmaceutical industry experience and a proven record of building and leading organizations in diverse settings and life cycle phases: from development stage companies to large, global pharmaceutical companies. In his role at Sanofi Genzyme, he is responsible for a global, $3 billion per year business with 10 commercialized products and a robust, multi-product development pipeline focusing on several therapeutic areas. He is an expert in the field of Oncology, previously serving as Division Medical Officer at Sanofi Oncology, and is the former Head of Global and US Medical Affairs at Genzyme Transplant/Oncology.

He has also served as a Senior Director at Onyx Pharmaceuticals, as a Director at Amgen, and as Chief Executive Officer of Mednav, a venture capital-backed healthcare information technology startup. Dr. Peters is a Harvard-trained physician-scientist, and has served on the faculty at the Massachusetts General Hospital and completed a Howard Hughes Medical Institute Fellowship in biophysics at Harvard Medical School. He is also an active founder and angel biotech investor in start-up biopharmaceutical companies.

“Dr. Peters is a highly respected industry veteran and thought-leader, with the vision and experience necessary to oversee Merrimack’s successful execution as a refocused clinical-stage and R&D company,” said Gary Crocker, Chairman of the Board and Interim President and CEO.

“Dr. Peters has deep expertise in advancing oncology pipeline assets from early stage research through development and commercialization, and his experience and medical background will bring important new perspective to the Company’s development pipeline.  We are confident that he is the right leader to oversee the advancement of Merrimack’s portfolio, which as we recently announced, will focus on our three highest potential assets, MM-121, MM-141 and MM-310. On behalf of the Board and management team, we look forward to working closely with Dr. Peters to achieve our objectives for the new Merrimack.”

Dr. Peters will assume the leadership of a restructured and more financially disciplined Merrimack as a result of the Company’s announcement on January 9, 2017 that it has entered into an agreement with Ipsen to sell its first product ONIVYDE and its generic version of doxorubicin hydrochloride (HCI) liposome injection (“generic DOXIL”) for up to $1.025 billion. Merrimack intends to use the proceeds to extinguish its senior secured debt notes, pay a special cash dividend to stockholders and fully fund its clinical development-focused operations into the second half of 2019.

“I am excited for the opportunity to join Merrimack at a time of renewed company focus,” said Dr. Peters. “With the support of the Board of Directors and the expected near-term infusion of capital, several compelling clinical assets are now primed to realize their full potential. Together with the rest of the management team, we plan on continuing to take substantial steps to grow our robust pipeline to its full potential, with an eye toward early data read-outs, to maximize value creation for patients and stockholders.” (Original Source)

Shares of Merrimack Pharmaceuticals Inc. closed yesterday at $3.05, down $0.16 or -4.98%. MACK has a 1-year high of $9.02 and a 1-year low of $3.03. The stock’s 50-day moving average is $4.58 and its 200-day moving average is $5.21.

On the ratings front, Merrimack Pharmaceuticals has been the subject of a number of recent research reports. In a report issued on January 10, Robert W. Baird analyst Michael Ulz reiterated a Hold rating on MACK, with a price target of $5, which represents a potential upside of 64% from where the stock is currently trading. Separately, on January 9, Cowen’s Eric Schmidt reiterated a Hold rating on the stock .

According to TipRanks.com, which ranks over 7,500 financial analysts and bloggers to gauge the performance of their past recommendations, Michael Ulz and Eric Schmidt have a yearly average loss of -2.6% and a return of 21.0% respectively. Ulz has a success rate of 47% and is ranked #3279 out of 4350 analysts, while Schmidt has a success rate of 54% and is ranked #77.

Merrimack Pharmaceuticals, Inc. engages in discovering, developing and preparing to commercialize innovative medicines consisting of novel therapeutics paired with diagnostics for the treatment of cancer. Its offers its first commercial product, Onivyde, which is a novel encapsulation of the marketed chemotherapy drug irinotecan in liposomal formulation. 

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