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VIVUS CEO resigns, former J&J exec takes helm
September 3rd, 2013
MOUNTAIN VIEW, Calif. – VIVUS Inc. has named a new chief executive officer after current CEO Anthony Zook resigned because of a medical condition.
The pharmaceutical company, maker of the obesity drug Qsymia, said Tuesday that its board has appointed Seth Fischer, a former senior executive at Johnson & Johnson, to serve as its CEO, effective immediately. He also will join the VIVUS board.
"VIVUS is keeping Tony in its thoughts, and we wish him a rapid recovery. We are grateful for his contributions and his willingness to work with Seth through mid-September 2013 to assist with the transition," stated Michael Astrue, chairman of VIVUS. "We are pleased to welcome Seth Fischer to VIVUS and look forward to his leadership as we continue to execute on our four goals: expand use of Qsymia through targeted patient and physician education; find the right partner for Qsymia; quickly create a pathway for approval in Europe; and eliminate expenses that are not essential to expanding use of Qsymia."
VIVUS released Qsymia in the U.S. market last September. At the time, the company said the weight management drug was the first new medication available in 13 years for obesity.
"I believe strongly in the potential of Qsymia, the VIVUS organization and the future direction of the company," Zook said in a statement. "This has been a difficult decision. Unfortunately, I cannot devote the necessary time and focus to the company but instead must concentrate on personal health issues."
Fischer has three decades of experience in the pharmaceutical and medical device industry. Until his retirement in 2012, he served in positions of increasing responsibility at Johnson & Johnson, most recently, as company group chairman at Johnson & Johnson and worldwide franchise chairman for Cordis Corp. from 2008 to 2012. He also was company group chairman for North America pharmaceuticals from 2004 to 2007, which included
responsibilities for Ortho-McNeil Pharmaceuticals, Janssen and Scios.
"We wish Tony the best as he faces his health challenges," Fischer commented. "Helping VIVUS realize its potential and achieve its stated goals represents an exciting opportunity, and I look forward to working with this unique organization. Obesity has reached epidemic proportions in America and other parts of the world. Qsymia offers a new solution for patients and their health care providers in addressing this devastating condition. We will continue our mission to unlock the full value of the Qsymia franchise."