Flex Pharma CEO Christoph Westphal leaves post at short notice

  • Signs for push-out forces
  • After around three years on the job
  • Laud, praise and thanks for Westphal
  • Bill McVicar taking over in the interim
  • Westphal will remain as Chair of the Board at Flex Pharma
  • Westphal spoke at length and said 119 words

(exechange) — Boston, Massachusetts, June 05, 2017 — Christoph Westphal, chief executive of Flex Pharma, leaves the position. It is a change at short notice. As announced by Flex Pharma, Inc. in a news release on Monday, June 05, 2017, Christoph H. Westphal leaves the post as Chief Executive Officer at the clinical-stage biotechnology company in a surprising move after around three years on the job, effective July 03, 2017.

Westphal’s duties are taken over in the interim by Bill McVicar, currently President of Research and Development at Flex Pharma, Inc.

“This is the right time for me to hand the reins to Bill given his extensive clinical development experience and successful track record of multiple drug approvals”

The imminent management change is explained as follows. Westphal said: “Now that Flex is about to initiate two Phase 2 studies in the U.S., this is the right time for me to hand the reins to Bill given his extensive clinical development experience and successful track record of multiple drug approvals.”

Westphal will remain as Chair of the Board at Flex Pharma

“Christoph Westphal, M.D., Ph.D., will transition from his role as Chief Executive Officer, effective July 3, 2017, and remain as Chair of the Board,” Flex Pharma said.

Share price decline

The change follows a sharp decline in the share price of Flex Pharma, Inc. since April 2015.

On the job as CEO since 2014

Westphal is a Co-Founder and Chair of Flex Pharma, Inc., has been its Chief Executive Officer and President since April 2014 and has been its Chairman since February 2014.

Flex Pharma CEO and co-founder Christoph Westphal is a co-founder and Partner of Longwood Fund, which founds and invests in healthcare companies.

Westphal also co-founded Longwood portfolio companies Alnara Pharmaceuticals (acquired by Eli Lilly in 2010), OvaScience (NASDAQ: OVAS) and Verastem (NASDAQ: VSTM).

Westphal previously served as co-founder/CEO of Alnylam Pharmaceuticals (NASDAQ: ALNY), Acceleron Pharmaceuticals (NASDAQ: XLRN), Concert Pharmaceuticals (NASDAQ: CNCE), Momenta Pharmaceuticals (NASDAQ: MNTA) and Sirtris (NASDAQ: SIRT; acquired by GSK).

Companies founded by Westphal have developed and received FDA approval for important drugs, including the largest-selling heparin in the US, and a therapy for MS; and several experimental medicines: for cystic fibrosis (phase 3), for currently incurable cancers (phase 3), and for serious inflammatory disorders (phase 2).

In addition, these companies have created substantial shareholder value and aggregate market capitalizations (sustained) of over $12 billion.

Companies co-founded by Westphal have created roughly 1,000 jobs in the Boston area.

Westphal was appointed to the BIO Emerging Companies Section Governing Board and serves on the Board of Fellows of Harvard Medical School, the Board of Overseers of the Boston Symphony Orchestra, and is a member of the Boston Commercial Club.

He earned his M.D. from Harvard Medical School and Ph.D. in genetics from Harvard University and he graduated with a B.A. summa cum laude and Phi Beta Kappa from Columbia University.

Westphal has been the lead or senior author on several patent applications and scientific papers in leading journals such as Cell, Nature and Nature Genetics.

Westphal has been featured in the media, including on ‘60 Minutes’, CNN, an ABC News Special hosted by Barbara Walters, and as the subject of a Fortune cover article.

Westphal typically creates and runs biomedical startups for a time before turning over the management.

Signs for push-out forces

It is not completely certain what forces eventually triggered Christoph Westphal’s imminent move.

The Push-out Score™ determined by exechange suggests that push-out forces may have contributed to the management change.

Read the full story in the exechange report 24.2017 ($).