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Revance CEO stepping down over ‘misjudgment’

Revance Therapeutics CEO Dan Browne has stepped down as company head due to “misjudgment in handling an employee matter,” the California-based biotech announced Monday.Browne, who co-founded Revance and has served as its CEO for the past 17 years, also resigned from the company’s board of directors. Current board member and former Zeltiq Aesthetics CEO Mark Foley will take over as president and chief executive.Revance emphasized Browne’s departure does not reflect any change in the company’s performance, noting a submission to the Food and Drug Administration for approval of its frown line treatment is still planned for this fall.

A company loses its co-founder and longtime CEO, but investors bid up its shares.

That’s the unusual, or at least noteworthy, circumstance that Revance found itself in Monday morning following news of Browne’s exit after newly two decades as company head.

Details on the nature of Browne’s “misjudgment” weren’t available, nor was information about when the event in question occurred.

“Due to our desire to preserve the confidentiality of actions leading up to this decision, we are unable to comment on the exact timing,” a spokesperson for the company said in a statement to BioPharma Dive.

Revance seems to be moving quickly forward with Foley as its new leader, however.

Foley led the medical technology company Zeltiq from 2012 to 2017, when Allergan bought the business for $2.5 billion. He’s served on Revance’s board for the past two years, so should have some experience with the ins and outs of its business.

“The new CEO Mark Foley should be viewed by the Street as an excellent replacement at the right time,” wrote Cowen analyst Ken Cacciatore in a bullish note to investors Monday.

Comfort with Foley might be playing a role in Wall Street’s reaction to the news. Shares in Revance rose by nearly 7% in late morning trading.

Revance’s lead asset is an injection known as daxibotulinumtoxinA, which combines a peptide excipient with a form of botulinum toxin — the active ingredient in Allergan’s multipurpose Botox product. Provided a submission is filed with the FDA this fall, Revance expects it could win U.S. approval as soon as next year.

The company is pursuing a number of other indications held by Botox as well, including cervical dystonia and upper limb spasticity.

A partnership with Mylan, meanwhile, is aimed at developing a biosimilar of Botox itself.