AMAG Pharmaceuticals replacing CEO, cutting 2 drugs

AMAG Pharmaceuticals' CEO is stepping down and the company will divest two of its drugs, it announced Jan. 9. 

AMAG, based in Waltham, Mass., is currently struggling with the FDA to keep its drug, Makena, on the market, after an advisory board voted in October to remove it because data indicated it is ineffective. Sales of Makena have fallen substantially in the last few years, according to the Boston Business Journal

It's also struggling to build a customer base for its drug, Vyleesi, which treats premenopausal women with hypoactive sexual desire disorder. Critics claim that prescribing a drug to increase sexual desire reduces the complexity of human sexuality to a biological issue. 

AMAG decided to drop Vyleesi, along with vaginal pain drug Intrarosa, as an effort to cut costs. The two drugs make up half of the products AMAG currently has on the market. 

"We continue to believe in the significant long-term potential of Intrarosa and Vyleesi. However, the uncertainty around the long-term durability of Makena revenues makes it challenging to invest in both our promising pipeline and in the physician and consumer marketing required to support these two new products," said CEO Bill Heiden in a news release. 

Mr. Heiden will step down once a replacement is found, which the company expects to happen by midyear. 

CFO Ted Myles will also assume the additional role of COO, effective immediately, and general counsel Joseph Vittiglio will assume the role of chief business officer. 

AMAG's stock price was down 4 percent after news of the structural changes, the Boston Business Journal reported. 

"We are confident that taking the strategic actions announced today will position AMAG for future growth and enable the company to better serve patients," Gino Santini, chairman of AMAG’s board said in the news release. 

Read the full news release here

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