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Feb. 1 (Bloomberg) -- Dendreon Corp., maker of the prostate-cancer drug Provenge, named Savient Pharmaceuticals Inc.’s John H. Johnson as chief executive officer and president, succeeding Mitchell H. Gold.
Johnson has been a member of Dendreon’s board since August, the Seattle-based company said in a statement today. Johnson resigned as CEO from Savient and will be replaced by David Y. Norton, the East Brunswick, New Jersey-based company said in a separate statement.
Johnson will take over Dendreon as it works to expand the use of Provenge, which was approved in April 2010 as the first therapy in the U.S. that trains the body’s immune system to attack cancer cells as if they were a virus. The treatment, which costs $93,000, was cleared for patients with advanced cases of the disease after the company’s three-year effort to persuade the Food and Drug Administration to back the medicine.
Because the medicine is the first of its kind, doctors need time to get comfortable prescribing the treatment and to understand the reimbursement system, Gold said in an interview last month.
Gold will serve as executive chairman until June 30, Dendreon said. At that point he will become a director and Johnson will take over as chairman.
--Editors: Kristen Hallam, Chris Staiti
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