Alvotech announces new CEO and chief operating officer

The biosimilars firm Alvotech (Nasdaq:ALVO) has announced that its CEO, Mark Levick, will retire. As of January 1, the company will install Robert Wessman, executive chairman and founder, as its top exec.

Reykjavik, Iceland–based Alvotech also announced that it had retained Hafrun Fridriksdottir as its chief operating officer. Fridriksdottir was formerly the executive vice president and head of global R&D at Teva (NYSE:TEVA).

Wessman will retain his role as executive chairman of Alvotech’s board.

At Teva, Fridriksdottir managed a pipeline of more than 1,000 generic drugs and dozens of biosimilars. She led 3,500 international employees in that role.

Robert Wessman

She has also held roles at Gacell Laboratories, Omega Pharma, the generics firm Actavis (now owned by Teva) and Allergan (now part of AbbVie).

Wessman founded Alvotech in 2013 and began his stint as board chairman in …

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House report accuses AbbVie of price gouging

A recent report from the House Oversight and Reform Committee concluded that AbbVie (NYSE:ABBV) aggressively increased prices of popular drugs, including the bestseller Humira (adalimumab), which brought in close to $20 billion last year. Approximately $16 billion of those sales were in the U.S.

In recent years, the company also repeatedly increased the price of the small-molecule drug Imbruvica (ibrutinib), according to the report, which is the result of a two-year investigation. AbbVie jointly markets Imbruvica with Janssen (NYSE:JNJ).

An annual supply of Humira costs approximately $77,000, while a year’s worth of Imbruvica is $181,529, according to the House report. The price of the latter has increased 82% since the drug launched in 2013. Outside of the U.S., the cost of Humira has fallen in recent years.

“AbbVie pursued a variety of tactics to increase drug sales while raising prices for Americans, including exploiting the patent system to extend it…

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AbbVie accuses Alvotech of stealing Humira trade secrets 

In a complaint filed in Illinois federal court, AbbVie alleges that the Icelandic biopharma company Alvotech sought to copy its blockbuster biologic Humira (adalimumab). 

The lawsuit accuses Alvotech of hiring a former AbbVie employee, Rongzan Ho, to help it develop a copycat version of Humira. 

Ho, a team leader of upstream manufacturing for Humira, was well-versed in the processes involved in manufacturing the drug. 

Ho relayed to AbbVie in an exit interview that he was leaving “mainly to learn single-use bioreactors and other new technologies.”

Ho left AbbVie in 2018 to join Alvotech and provided the company with proprietary spreadsheets, according to the complaint, which also accuses Alvotech of poaching other former AbbVie employees.  

In November, Alvotech announced that the FDA had accepted its biologics license application to review its proposed Humira biosimilar. “AVT02 is highly similar to its reference product in terms of structu…

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