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LEO Pharma adds internationally recognized dermatologist to Global Leadership Team

Ballerup, March 14, 2023 – LEO Pharma today announced a split of its R&D organization into two distinct functions. To lead Research and Early Development, LEO Pharma has appointed Dr. Jacob Pontoppidan Thyssen as new Executive Vice President and Chief Scientific Officer. Jacob is an internationally recognized dermatologist and key opinion leader who will add his clinical experience and strong understanding of patients’ needs into LEO Pharma’s drug development.


LEO Pharma is fully committed to being a leader in medical dermatology by delivering an innovative dermatology portfolio for patients with unmet medical needs. 


To achieve this goal, the company announced – in early 2023 - a significant shift in R&D to a research model, which aims at driving the early-stage pipeline with externally sourced innovation. Equally important for LEO Pharma is to maximize the value to patients of our three assets in late-stage development: tralokinumab, delgocitinib and IL-22R, ensuring competitive labels and the fastest possible approvals and launches to bring first- and best-in-class solutions to patients. 


To support these two critical pillars, LEO Pharma today announced a split of its Research and Development organization into two distinct areas, both represented in the Global Leadership Team (GLT).  The two GLT members - a Chief Scientific Officer and a Chief Development Officer – will both report to CEO Christophe Bourdon.


This means that as of May 1,  2023:

  • Dr. Jacob Pontoppidan Thyssen will join LEO Pharma to take over the responsibility for Research and Early Development in the role as EVP and Chief Scientific Officer.
  • Dr. Jörg Möller will, on an interim basis, take on the role as EVP and Chief Development Officer and continue to lead the Development organization. 


Christophe Bourdon, CEO of LEO Pharma, comments :
“This change is about ensuring coherence and focus from early to late-stage across the pipeline. We remain committed to the full development cycle and to a close collaboration between Research and Development. I am delighted to welcome Jacob to LEO Pharma and the Global Leadership Team and am confident that his experience will help spearhead our innovative portfolio. I am also very happy that Jörg has agreed to stay onboard in the interim. He can now fully focus on leading the Development organization and the activities of our clinical pipeline assets post proof-of-concept with an emphasis on the late-stage assets: tralokinumab, delgocitinib and IL-22R.”


Sharpening LEO Pharma’s external and competitive focus

Jacob Pontoppidan Thyssen is an internationally recognized dermatologist. He will remain affiliated with the University of Copenhagen, where he has served as a professor for many years, as well as with Bispebjerg Hospital, the largest Dermatology department in Denmark. His research has focused on inflammatory skin diseases, where he has paid particular attention to atopic dermatitis and chronic hand eczema, key focus areas of LEO Pharma. Jacob is a highly regarded member of several international societies and has published >600 peer reviewed articles. 


Jacob Pontoppidan Thyssen comments: 

“I am truly excited to join LEO Pharma. Medical dermatology is developing at a very fast pace and I see a great opportunity for LEO Pharma to positively impact patient care, now and in the future. This is a unique opportunity to fully leverage my clinical and research mindset to the company along with a personal network of top leaders in dermatology for the benefit of patients affected by skin diseases.”


Jörg Möller comments: 
”LEO Pharma is on an exciting transformation journey and maximizing the opportunities in our late-stage pipeline will be a major focus for the organization. In this context, I continue to support the transition to the adjusted R&D strategy which we announced in January this year on an interim basis with a focus on our clinical pipeline assets post proof-of-concept, especially tralokinumab, delgocitinib and IL-22R.”


With the changes announced today, Thorsten Thormann, currently VP Research and Early Development, is leaving LEO Pharma. During the transition, Thorsten will work with Jacob to ensure a smooth handover. 


Thorsten has been with LEO Pharma for almost 20 years. He has been instrumental in driving LEO Pharma’s Research & Early Development forward, and most recently, in developing the adjusted R&D strategy.  


Christophe Bourdon comments: :

“I would like to thank Thorsten for everything he has has done for LEO Pharma in Research and Early development for the past years. We are in a good place today because of his curiosity, dedication and support. Thorsten has also played a key role in bringing assets such as delgocitinib and IL-22R to LEO Pharma. I sincerely wish him all the best of success in his next endeavor.”


About LEO Pharma


LEO Pharma is a global company dedicated to advancing the standard of care for the benefit of people with skin conditions, their families and society. Founded in 1908 and majority owned by the LEO Foundation, LEO Pharma has devoted decades of research and development to advance the science of dermatology, and today, the company offers a wide range of therapies for all disease severities. LEO Pharma is headquartered in Denmark with a global team of 4,700 people, serving millions of patients across the world. In 2022, the company generated net sales of DKK 10.6 billion.


Henrik Heskjaer

Director, Global External Communications
Tel: +45 3140 6180