Savient Shares Fall as Medical Chief Resigns

Fri, 06/26/2009 - 7:33am
NEW YORK (AP) — Shares of Savient Pharmaceuticals Inc. fell Friday after the company said Chief Medical Officer Dr. Zebulun D. Horowitz resigned, marking another key executive to leave the company over the past 12 months. Shares fell 35 cents, or 2.5 percent, to $13.50 in midday trading. The stock has traded between $2.80 and $28.42 over the past 52 weeks. In November, President and CEO Christopher Clement resigned, and in February Chief Financial Officer Brian Hayden was "terminated." The company did not provide details on those executive moves. In a Securities and Exchange Commission Filing late Thursday, it said Horowitz's resignation was not due to any disagreement with the company and he left to pursue other interests. Savient is currently waiting for a FDA regulatory decision on the experimental gout drug Krystexxa. A panel of experts has already recommended the drug's approval and the FDA normally follows the opinions of its advisers, though that is not a requirement. Leerink Swann analyst Joseph P. Schwartz reaffirmed an "Outperform" rating on the stock, saying the recent resignation doesn't come as a surprise following the prior executive shifts. "The chief medical officer position has become somewhat extraneous since the board's BLA (drug) Advisory Committee has been guiding Krystexxa through the FDA approval process," he said, in a note to investors. He expects the stock value to hit $18 over the next 12 months and considers the company a potential buyout target because of Krystexxa's potential.

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