Seagen named David Epstein as its permanent CEO, the Seattle biotech said Thursday. Epstein replaces former CEO and founder Clay Siegall, who resigned last spring amid domestic abuse allegations.

Epstein brings strong big pharma and oncology experience. Over the course of two decades, he launched and then led Novartis Oncology as president/CEO, building the business unit “from initiation to second largest in the world,” Seagen said in a statement. 

Following that came a six-year stint as CEO/division head of Novartis’ pharmaceuticals unit. Most recently, Epstein served as executive partner at Flagship Pioneering.

“I have long admired Seagen as a leader in the development and commercialization of transformative cancer therapies,” Epstein said in a statement. “Seagen is a pioneer in antibody-drug conjugate (ADC) technology with a portfolio of four approved medicines, a diverse pipeline of promising programs, and a science-driven, patient-first culture. I am honored to become CEO and work with the experienced team to further deliver on Seagen’s mission to make a meaningful difference so that people who have been diagnosed with cancer can live better lives.”

Additionally, Roger Dansey, who had assumed interim CEO duties in May following Siegall’s departure, has been named president of R&D, the company added. The new role will see Dansey continue to serve as chief medical officer, reporting to Epstein. 

Over the summer, it was reported that the biotech was the subject of takeover talks with Merck. At a purchase price rumored to be around $40 billion, an acquisition by the big drugmaker would have been one of the largest deals of the year. However, talks stalled after the firms failed to agree on a purchase price, Bloomberg reported in August.

A commercial tie-up between the firms is still possible, though. The C-Suite addition comes as Seagen is preparing to launch Padcev in combination with Merck’s Keytruda in first-line metastatic urothelial cancer, which analysts estimate is a potential multi-blockbuster opportunity.

Epstein was one of two big-name hires Thursday to hail from a post-CEO biotech investment firm role. 

The other was Christopher Viehbacher, who replaced outgoing CEO Michel Vounatsos at Biogen. Viehbacher joined from investment firm Gurnet Point Capital, which he co-founded after a six-year stint at the helm of Sanofi and 20 years at GSK.