Mark Levin's days of running

Millennium Pharmaceuticals


have come to an end.

The company said Wednesday it named Deborah Dunsire, the head of

Novartis Pharmaceuticals'

North American oncology operations, as the new president and chief executive. Dunsire will also join the board, and she plans to assume her duties by Aug. 1.

Levin, a co-founder of Millennium, had served as CEO since the company's inception. Kenneth Weg, a member of the board since 2001, will become nonexecutive chairman. Levin will remain on the board.

The New York Times

reported that Levin stepped down from his posts.

While at Novartis, Dunsire oversaw the launch of a number of products including Zometa, Femara and Gleevec.

"I look forward to building on the company's rich legacy and track record in bringing breakthrough medicines to patients, while fulfilling its goal of non-GAAP profitability in 2006 and long-term growth," she said in a statement.

Earlier in her career, Dunsire was a clinical researcher responsible for the implementation of global phase II and phase III studies across multiple therapeutic areas such as immunology, endocrinology, neurology, dermatology, oncology and transplantation. She has also been a practicing physician.

Shares of Millennium, the maker of Velcade for treating multiple myeloma, were gaining 22 cents to $9.28 in premarket trading.