Mr. Coats joins Lexicon after 18 years of senior management experience with Eisai. As president and chief executive officer at Eisai, he oversaw the commercialization of Eisai products in the therapeutic areas of oncology, neurology, GI, epilepsy and metabolic. Mr. Coats also oversaw the expansion of Eisai's business across the Americas, inclusive of gaining market approval in Canada for Halaven, Banzel and Gliadel. Previously, as president and chief operating officer, Mr. Coats led the diversification of Eisai's business through over $5 billion in strategic acquisitions, licensing and partnerships, which included the acquisition of MGI Pharma in 2008 and the licensing of Belviq in 2011.
"In our search for the next leader of Lexicon, we sought a seasoned and dynamic executive with an exceptional understanding of bringing drugs to the market," said Raymond Debbane, Lexicon's chairman of the board. "Lonnel brings the ideal blend of operational intelligence, business development acumen and proven leadership, along with a breadth of expertise in sales and marketing to guide Lexicon as we prepare for commercialization."
"Upon my retirement from Eisai, I had the privilege to be presented with many new opportunities to continue contributing to our great industry," said Lonnel Coats. "By far, Lexicon is the most exciting and promising opportunity I reviewed. Lexicon is on the cusp of becoming a major contributor to improving the lives of patients living with type 1 and 2 diabetes, with carcinoid syndrome and with many other conditions. We have much work to do before we achieve all of our goals, but I am enthusiastic and energized at our prospects. I am honored to have the trust of the board of directors and management to lead Lexicon through the next phase of its evolution."
Mr. Coats originally joined Eisai as a regional sales director in 1996 when the company was first establishing its sales force in the United States in preparation for the launch of Aricept. In 2001, he became vice president of human resources, and in 2003, he was appointed vice president of U.S. sales and marketing, before serving as president and chief operating officer from 2004 to 2010 and as president and chief executive officer since 2010. Mr. Coats holds a B.S. in public administration from Oakland University in Michigan.
Lexicon is a biopharmaceutical company focused on developing breakthrough treatments for human disease. Lexicon currently has drug programs in clinical development for diabetes, carcinoid syndrome, and other indications, all of which were discovered by Lexicon's research team. Lexicon has used its proprietary gene knockout technology to identify more than 100 promising drug targets. For additional information about Lexicon and its programs, please visit www.lexpharma.com.
Safe Harbor Statement
This press release contains "forward-looking statements," including statements relating to Lexicon's growth and future operating results, discovery and development of products, strategic alliances and intellectual property, as well as other matters that are not historical facts or information. All forward-looking statements are based on management's current assumptions and expectations and involve risks, uncertainties and other important factors, specifically including those relating to Lexicon's ability to meet its capital requirements, successfully conduct preclinical and clinical development of its potential drug candidates, advance additional candidates into preclinical and clinical development, obtain necessary regulatory approvals, achieve its operational objectives, obtain patent protection for its discoveries and establish strategic alliances, as well as additional factors relating to manufacturing, intellectual property rights, and the therapeutic or commercial value of its drug candidates, that may cause Lexicon's actual results to be materially different from any future results expressed or implied by such forward-looking statements. Information identifying such important factors is contained under "Risk Factors" in Lexicon's annual report on Form 10-K for the year ended December 31, 2013, as filed with the Securities and Exchange Commission. Lexicon undertakes no obligation to update or revise any such forward-looking statements, whether as a result of new information, future events or otherwise.