Intercept Pharmaceuticals disclosed in a US Securities and Exchange Commission filing that chief medical officer (CMO) Jason Campagna will resign from his position as of March 5. He will be replaced on an interim basis by Gail Cawkwell while the drugmaker searches for a permanent replacement. Company shares were down as much as 9% on Tuesday.
According to the SEC filing, Campagna is leaving "in order to pursue other opportunities," with Intercept noting that his "resignation was not the result of any disagreement regarding any matter related to [our] operations, policies or practices." He had been serving as CMO at Intercept, whose focus is on drugs for non-alcoholic steatohepatitis (NASH) and primary biliary cholangitis (PBC), since December 2019, having joined the company about three years earlier as leader of its NASH programme.
Last year, Intercept received a complete response letter regarding its filing seeking approval of obeticholic acid for the treatment of fibrosis due to NASH, a decision then-CEO Mark Pruzanski argued had been reached as a result of an "incomplete review." Intercept already markets the product under the name Ocaliva to treat PBC, and a recent report indicated that the FDA was probing the company over a potential risk of liver injury in patients taking the drug (for related analysis, see ViewPoints: Intercept’s Ocaliva hopes sink further).
Meanwhile, Campagna's departure marks the latest in a series of leadership changes at Intercept, including the promotion of chief operating officer Jerome Durso to CEO at the start of this year, to succeed Pruzanski. Jared Freedberg was hired as general counsel in January, and last week, Intercept announced that Linda Richardson, previous head of the company's global cholestasis programme, was appointed chief commercial officer.
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