HIV Drug Maker Trimeris Names Former GSK Executive as New CEO
Durham, N.C.-based drug maker Trimeris on Thursday announced that it has hired Steven Skolsky, a former executive in the HIV/oncology division of GlaxoSmithKline, to succeed Dani Bolognesi as CEO of the company, which produces the antiretroviral drug Fuzeon, the Durham Herald-Sun reports (Krishnan, Durham Herald-Sun, 9/10). Trimeris and Swiss drug maker Roche jointly developed Fuzeon, which is in a class of drugs called fusion inhibitors and is designed for HIV/AIDS patients who have failed to respond to other medications. The drug has encountered resistance from doctors and patients because of its high cost -- about $20,000 per patient per year -- and injection delivery method (Kaiser Daily HIV/AIDS Report, 9/9). Skolsky said his top priority for Trimeris will be boosting the sales of Fuzeon, which is the company's only drug. Sales of Fuzeon totaled $35.5 million in the second quarter, but Trimeris recorded a $16.2 million loss, according to the Raleigh News & Observer. Skolsky, who left London-based GSK at the end of last year, oversaw the debuts of the antiretrovirals Epivir and Combivir, according to the News & Observer (Ranii, Raleigh News & Observer, 9/10). Bolognesi -- a co-founder of Trimeris -- said it was his idea to step aside as CEO and added that he will remain Trimeris' chief scientific officer and vice chair, according to the Herald-Sun. "Trimeris is facing some challenges in the marketplace that really require a different type of individual," Bolognesi said, adding, "It was very easy as the founder of the company to step aside and bring in what I think is an absolute coup for the company right now" (Durham Herald-Sun 9/9).This is part of the KHN Morning Briefing, a summary of health policy coverage from major news organizations. Sign up for an email subscription.