Savient Pharmaceuticals Inc. (>> Savient Pharmaceuticals, Inc.) unveiled plans to reduce the size of its work force by more than a third as it aims to reduce its operating costs, and the specialty biopharmaceutical company also named the head of its North American commercial business as its new president and chief executive.
Shares were up 4.2% at 64 cents in recent trading. The stock has fallen about 71% this year.
The company selected Louis Ferrari, who joined Savient in February 2011, to succeed John H. Johnson, who left the company earlier this year to become chief executive at Dendreon Corp. (>> Dendreon Corporation). He takes the reigns from David Norton, who has headed Savient on an interim basis since Mr. Johnson's departure.
Savient Chairman Stephen Jaeger said that since joining Savient, Mr. Ferrari has played a key role in the continuing rollout of Krystexxa treatment for gout and development of the company's growth strategies.
The work-force reduction, which includes current vacancies, will include a restructuring of its field force to 35 key account managers and three regional business directors. Savient aims to generate annual operating cost savings of about $56 million by 2013, including roughly $6.5 million of operating expense savings in 2012.
About $4.7 million in restructuring and employee severance charges are anticipated, including $3.6 million during 2012.
Prior to joining Savient, Mr. Ferrari had a long career of increasing responsibility at health-care giant Johnson and Johnson (>> Johnson & Johnson), where he most recently served as vice president of oncology and nephrology.
Write to Tess Stynes at Tess.Stynes@dowjones.com