Stock Update (NASDAQ:EXEL): Exelixis, Inc. Announces Key Senior Leadership Hires in Medical Affairs, Sales, and Marketing to Support Commercialization of Cabozantinib and Cobimetinib

Exelixis, Inc. (NASDAQ:EXEL) announced three high-level appointments as the company prepares for the potential commercialization of its lead compound, cabozantinib, for the treatment of advanced renal cell carcinoma (RCC) following positive results from the METEOR pivotal phase 3 trial. William Berg, M.D. has joined the company as Senior Vice President of Medical Affairs, Jonathan Berndt as Vice President of Sales, andGregg Bernier as Vice President of Marketing.

“Exelixis is moving rapidly to thoughtfully expand our medical affairs and commercial capabilities in advance of our planned U.S. and EU regulatory filings for cabozantinib in advanced renal cell carcinoma in late 2015 and early 2016, respectively,” said Michael M. Morrissey, Ph.D., president and chief executive officer of Exelixis. “Will, Jon, and Gregg bring a wealth of oncology experience and successful track records gained at some of the biopharmaceutical industry’s most prestigious companies. Their new roles on the Exelixis team will help to ensure we are well-positioned to execute on our many critical milestones in the months to come.”

As Senior Vice President of Medical Affairs, William Berg, M.D. will oversee medical affairs in the United States. He joins Exelixis after spending more than 12 years atNovartis, where he served in roles of increasing responsibility, including vice president and franchise head within Global Medical Affairs. Notably, Dr. Berg led the Afinitor®Medical Affairs program which was instrumental in the development of Afinitor® in advanced RCC. Prior to Novartis, he was a director of U.S. medical affairs at Aventis Oncology. Before entering the pharmaceutical industry, Dr. Berg served on the faculty of the Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center (MSKCC), where he saw patients as part of the Genitourinary Oncology Service, contributed to the MSKCC risk model for advanced RCC, and researched novel therapies for the disease. Dr. Berg completed his fellowship in medical oncology at MSKCC, training under Robert J. Motzer, M.D. Heearned his medical degree from Cornell University Medical College and his Bachelor of Science from Duke University.

Vice President of Sales Jonathan Berndt will lead all sales activities for cabozantinib and also direct U.S. co-promotion efforts for cobimetinib, including Exelixis’ plans to field up to 25 percent of the cobimetinib U.S. sales force in the event of a potential regulatory approval later this year. Mr. Berndt joins Exelixis with two decades of commercial sales experience in the biopharmaceutical industry, including multiple oncology product and line extension launches. Most recently, he served as senior director, oncology sales at Gilead Sciences, where he assembled and led the company’s oncology sales team supporting Zydelig®. Prior to Gilead, Mr. Berndt served at Genentech for 13 years. While there, he served in a variety of roles, including directing national and regional sales for products including Rituxan® and Avastin®, and managing sales operations for Herceptin® and Tarceva®. He received his Bachelor of Science in management from Virginia Tech.

Exelixis’ new Vice President of Marketing Gregg Bernier will lead the marketing group in its commercialization of cabozantinib for RCC. Mr. Bernier has more than 20 years of experience in biotech and pharmaceutical sales and marketing, primarily in oncology. Prior to joining Exelixis, he served as senior director of marketing at Medivation, where he led the launch of Xtandi® for a new indication in metastatic castration-resistant prostate cancer. Mr. Bernier joined Medivation from Genentech, where he worked on a variety of product launches including Tarceva®, Kadcyla®, Erivedge® and Avastin®, among other products. He has also held positions at Pharmacia and Sanofi. Mr. Bernier received his Bachelor of Arts in advertising at Michigan State University.

The new appointments come as Exelixis prepares U.S. and EU regulatory filings for cabozantinib in advanced RCC, and awaits a U.S. regulatory decision on its partner Genentech’s application for cobimetinib. In July, Exelixis announced top-line results from METEOR, its phase 3 pivotal trial comparing cabozantinib to everolimus in 658 patients with metastatic RCC who have experienced disease progression following treatment with a VEGF receptor tyrosine kinase inhibitor. Cobimetinib, the Exelixis-discovered selective inhibitor of MEK, was recently approved in Switzerland for use in combination with vemurafenib as a treatment for patients with advanced melanoma, and has a Prescription Drug User Free Act action date of November 11, 2015 in the United States. If cobimetinib is approved in the United States, Exelixis is entitled to an initial equal share of U.S. profits and losses, which will decrease as sales increase, and will share in U.S. marketing and commercialization costs. Having exercised its option to co-promote the compound in the United States, Exelixis is prepared to field up to 25 percent of the U.S. sales force. (Original Source)

Shares of Exelixis closed yesterday at $6.25. EXEL has a 1-year high of $6.81 and a 1-year low of $1.26. The stock’s 50-day moving average is $5.88 and its 200-day moving average is $4.11.

On the ratings front, Exelixis has been the subject of a number of recent research reports. In a report issued on September 18, William Blair analyst John Sonnier reiterated a Buy rating on EXEL. Separately, on July 20, Cowen’s Eric Schmidt upgraded the stock to Buy .

According to, which ranks over 7,500 financial analysts and bloggers to gauge the performance of their past recommendations, John Sonnier and Eric Schmidt have a total average return of 23.2% and 36.0% respectively. Sonnier has a success rate of 63.6% and is ranked #177 out of 3766 analysts, while Schmidt has a success rate of 55.2% and is ranked #43.

Exelixis Inc is a biotechnology company that develops small molecule therapies for the treatment of cancer.

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