Akcea Therapeutics on Sept. 23 announced the departures of CEO Paula Soteropoulos, president Sarah Boyce and chief operating officer Jeff Goldberg.
Damien McDevitt, already a board member, was appointed interim CEO. He was the chief business officer of Carlsbad-based Ionis Pharmaceuticals, which spun out Akcea to commercialize some of its drugs.
In addition, Michael J. Yang and Joseph Klein III joined Akcea’s board.
Asked why the three executives left, Ionis issued a statement:
“The transition in senior leadership is designed to strengthen the company’s opportunity to advance additional promising therapies in its pipeline and build on its global presence. The leadership team including Paula, Sarah and Jeff are leaving the company well positioned to build on its outstanding record of success.”
The statement also noted that McDevitt, Yang and Klein have decades of life sciences experience, in business development and commercialization realms.
Analyst Jessica Fye with J.P. Morgan said the announcement was unexpected, but added, “We do not expect a shift in the strategy relationship between the two companies.”
Akcea so far has handled commercialization of two Ionis drugs, tegsedi and waylivra, for rare diseases.
In addition to leaving, Soteropoulos and Boyce also resigned from the company’s board. Soteropoulos and Goldberg are set to become advisors to help with the transition.