ARIAD Pharmaceuticals, Inc. (NASDAQ:ARIA) today announced that its founder, Harvey J. Berger, M.D., has informed the Board of his decision to retire as chairman and chief executive officer (CEO) upon the appointment of his successor or December 31, 2015, whichever is earlier. The Board has begun a comprehensive search to identify Dr. Berger's successor. Dr. Berger has also agreed to serve as a special advisor to the Board and the new CEO upon his retirement to facilitate a smooth transition. Dr. Berger commented on his tenure as ARIAD's CEO:
- "I am proud to have worked with so many incredibly talented employees and together to have achieved so much for cancer patients in need of new treatment options where none exist," said Harvey J. Berger, M.D., chairman and chief executive officer of ARIAD. "With an established path to profitability and a well-defined set of critical corporate initiatives, ARIAD has a remarkable future. I had always anticipated retiring around age 65, which I will reach at the time of our upcoming annual meeting. My colleagues and I are all driven by our passion for helping cancer patients, and I hope ARIAD will always be recognized for this dedication." Dr. Berger added, "ARIAD has been at the forefront of precision medicine initiatives in cancer, and I expect that the Company will continue to lead the way as new targeted therapies emerge from our drug-discovery platform - built on our computational and structural technologies."
Some of Dr. Berger's colleagues, directors and leadership-team members offered the following comments:
- "For nearly 25 years, Harvey has put his heart and soul into building a world-class biotechnology company," said Wayne Wilson, lead independent director of the ARIAD Board. "We all appreciate his dedication to cancer patients and his focus on building sustainable value for our Company. He has attracted and led outstanding employees - from bench scientists to physicians to account managers in the field. He has never wavered in his commitment to being the best in every task that the Company undertook." Mr. Wilson added, "The Board will conduct a thorough search to identify a successor who we expect will guide ARIAD into its next chapters of innovation and growth, building on the solid foundation put in place by Harvey and his leadership team."
- "My lasting memory of my first meeting with Harvey 25 years ago, when ARIAD was just a twinkle in his eye, is one that helps explain the direction of ARIAD over this period. Harvey was passionate about building a company where patients come first. He saw the promise of modern science to translate to life-saving medicines. And Harvey has delivered on this vision through his dedication and leadership," said Stuart L. Schreiber, Ph.D., Founding Member of the Broad Institute of Harvard and MIT, HHMI Investigator, and Morris Loeb Professor of Chemistry and Chemical Biology, Harvard University.
- "As CEO of ARIAD, Harvey has been a committed supporter of The Max Foundation. Through the years, he has been open to listening to the patient's perspective as well as to discussing solutions to help people facing cancer around the world," said Pat Garcia-Gonzalez, President and Chief Executive Officer of The Max Foundation, a global health non-profit organization that believes that all people living with cancer have the right to access the best treatment and support. "He has especially demonstrated an awareness of the needs of people living with chronic myeloid leukemia and an understanding of the importance of developing global access strategies for innovative oncology drugs. I thank him for his service and look forward to continuing our collaborations with ARIAD."
- "Harvey founded and built ARIAD with the clear vision of applying scientific excellence and clinical scholarship to helping patients in need - a vision that has been unequivocally fulfilled," stated Timothy P. Clackson, Ph.D., president of R&D and chief scientific officer of ARIAD. "Our employees and thousands of patients worldwide owe a great debt of gratitude to his exceptional dedication and perseverance. The ARIAD leadership team is committed to continuing this work and driving to further success."
- "As ARIAD's founder, Harvey has guided the Company to a mission intensely focused on helping cancer patients, by discovering and developing new treatments to allow them to overcome their diseases. His passion as a physician has infused its existence. The many patients and families who have been helped by ARIAD's medicines can be thankful for his dedication and insights," said Frank G. Haluska, M.D., Ph.D., senior vice president, clinical R&D and chief medical officer of ARIAD.
- "Harvey enthusiastically embraced the evolution of ARIAD into a global commercial company," said Marty J. Duvall, executive vice president and chief commercial officer of ARIAD. "His pride, satisfaction and commitment to deliver on the vision of transforming patient-lives motivates the commercial team each and every day."
Iclusig is approved in the U.S., EU, Australia, Switzerland, Canada, and Israel.In the U.S., Iclusig is a kinase inhibitor indicated for the:
- Treatment of adult patients with T315I-positive chronic myeloid leukemia (chronic phase, accelerated phase, or blast phase) or T315I-positive Philadelphia chromosome positive acute lymphoblastic leukemia (Ph+ ALL).
- Treatment of adult patients with chronic phase, accelerated phase, or blast phase chronic myeloid leukemia or Ph+ ALL for whom no other tyrosine kinase inhibitor (TKI) therapy is indicated.
Please see the full U.S. Prescribing Information for Iclusig, including the Boxed Warning, for additional important safety information.Forward-Looking Statements This communication contains "forward-looking statements" including, but not limited to, statements regarding future events and ARIAD's business, strategy and results. These statements are made pursuant to the safe harbor provisions of the Private Securities Litigation Reform Act of 1995 and are identified by use of words such as "may," "anticipate," "estimate," "expect," "project," "intend," "plan," "believe" and other words and terms of similar meaning. Such statements are based on management's expectations and are subject to certain factors, risks and uncertainties that may cause actual results, outcome of events, timing and performance to differ materially from those expressed or implied by such forward looking statements. These risks and uncertainties include, but are not limited to, our ability to meet anticipated clinical trial commencement, enrollment and completion dates for our products and product candidates and to move new development candidates into the clinic; our ability to secure a partnership for brigatinib (AP26113); difficulties or delays in obtaining regulatory and pricing and reimbursement approvals to market our products; our ability to successfully commercialize and generate profits from sales of Iclusig; competition from alternative therapies; our reliance on the performance of third-party manufacturers and specialty pharmacies for the distribution of Iclusig; the occurrence of adverse safety events with our products and product candidates; preclinical data and early-stage clinical data that may not be replicated in later-stage clinical studies; the costs associated with our research, development, manufacturing and other activities; the conduct and results of preclinical and clinical studies of our product candidates; the adequacy of our capital resources and the availability of additional funding; patent protection and third-party intellectual property claims; litigation, including our pending securities class action and derivative lawsuits; our operations in foreign countries; risks related to key employees, markets, economic conditions, health care reform, prices and reimbursement rates; and other risk factors detailed in ARIAD's public filings with the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission. The information contained in this communication is believed to be current as of the date of original issue. After the date of this communication, ARIAD does not intend to update any of the forward-looking statements to conform these statements to actual results or to changes in ARIAD's expectations, except as required by law.
Important Additional InformationARIAD, its directors and certain of its executive officers may be deemed to be participants in the solicitation of proxies from ARIAD stockholders in connection with the matters to be considered at ARIAD's 2015 annual meeting of stockholders. ARIAD intends to file a proxy statement and accompanying proxy card with the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission (the "SEC") in connection with any such solicitation of proxies from ARIAD stockholders. ARIAD STOCKHOLDERS ARE STRONGLY ENCOURAGED TO READ ANY SUCH PROXY STATEMENT AND ACCOMPANYING PROXY CARD AND OTHER DOCUMENTS FILED WITH THE SEC CAREFULLY AND IN THEIR ENTIRETY WHEN THEY BECOME AVAILABLE BECAUSE THEY WILL CONTAIN IMPORTANT INFORMATION. Information regarding ARIAD's directors and executive officers is available in ARIAD's proxy statement, dated May 9, 2014, for its 2014 annual meeting of stockholders. To the extent holdings of ARIAD's securities by directors or executive officers have changed since the amounts set forth in the 2014 proxy statement, such changes have been or will be reflected on Initial Statements of Beneficial Ownership on Form 3 or Statements of Change in Ownership on Form 4 filed with the SEC. More detailed information regarding the identity of participants, and their direct or indirect interests, by security holdings or otherwise, will be set forth in the proxy statement and other materials to be filed with the SEC in connection with ARIAD's 2015 annual meeting of stockholders. Additional information can also be found in ARIAD's Annual Report on Form 10-K for the year ended December 31, 2014, filed with the SEC on March 2, 2015, and in ARIAD's Quarterly Reports on Form 10-Q. ARIAD's stockholders will be able to obtain, free of charge, any proxy statement, any amendments or supplements to the proxy statement and any other documents filed by ARIAD with the SEC at the SEC's website at http://www.sec.gov. In addition, copies will be available free of charge at ARIAD's website at http://www.ariad.com or by contacting ARIAD's Investor Relations by mail at ARIAD Pharmaceuticals, Inc., 26 Landsdowne Street, Cambridge, MA 02139 or by phone at 617-503-7028.