Shakeup in Sovaldi launch team

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Gilead's EVP of commercial operations, Kevin Young, has announced he is retiring effective Feb. 4, the biotech firm said yesterday. Young's move comes as the drugmaker embarks on the marketing launch of its heralded HCV treatment Sovaldi, approved by the FDA last month.

J.P. Morgan analyst Geoff Meacham, as reported by The Street, wrote in an investor note that “the timing of the departure is somewhat of a surprise given the recent approval/launch of Sovaldi…that said, our sense is that the team working on the Sovaldi commercialization has largely been intact for 2+ years, which should help smooth the initial stage of the launch. Additionally, we would not be surprised if Gilead promoted someone internally to fill the role, rather than look externally, given the working knowledge base required…and the fact that Kevin [Young] has had a ‘large team,' with some people working together for over a decade."

Young joined Gilead in 2004 and led global commercial operations for the company through the launch of antivirals Truvada, Atripla, Viread, Complera and Stribild, among others.

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