David Hallal made his name as the CEO of the global biopharmaceutical company, Alexion. After leaving Alexion in less than auspicious circumstances in 2016, he turned his attention to building his own company. The result is ElevateBio, a leading biotech company focused on developing cellular and genetic therapies. This month, the company closed $525 million in a Series C round of financing, doubling the $193 million Series B funding it closed last year. To find out more, keep reading for 10 things you didn't know about David Hallal.
1. He has a B.A. in Psychology
Considering the nature of his profession, Hallal's choice of degree may seem a little leftfield. But then again, how many of us actually end up going into the field we studied? Before deciding to dedicate his life to biotech, Hallal studied Psychology, graduating with a B.A. from the University of New Hampshire.
2. He began his career at Amgen
In 1992, Hallal made the move into biotech when he took on a job at Amgen, which was then, as it is now, the biggest independent, multinational, biopharmaceutical biotech firm in the world. During his time at Amgen, he served in numerous roles that focused primarily on the company's leading brands of Epogen, Neupogen, and Neulasta. As Wiki notes, while working as Amgen's Director of Oncology National Accounts between 1998 and 1999, he's credited with playing a significant role in developing long-term partnerships with some of the leading oncology practice management groups in the country. While serving as the Sales Director of Southeast Oncology from 1999 to 2002, he was instrumental in developing Amgen's first dedicated hospital sales team.
3. He spent two years at Biogen
In 2002, Hallal quit Amgen to take on the position of Senior Director of Sales for Biogen Idec's Immunology Sales Team. During his time with the company, he helped launch Alefacept, a first-in-class biologic designed for patients with chronic plaque psoriasis. After moving on from Biogen in 2004, he served for 2 years as Vice President of Sales at OSI Eyetech, where he was responsible for overseeing the U.S. launch of Macugen, a first-in-class therapy for the treatment of neovascular age-related macular degeneration.
4. He joined Alexion in 2006
In 2006, Hallal was offered the position of Vice President U.S. Commercial Operations at Alexion Pharmaceuticals. His acceptance marked the start of a ten-year working relationship. In his original position, Hallal was responsible for all US commercial operations, covering marketing, sales, customer relations, and account management. Over the years, the job description changed slightly as he graduated first to Senior Vice President of Commercial Operations, then to Senior Vice President of Global Commercial Operations, then to Chief Commercial Officer and Executive Vice President, and finally to CEO and Director. By 2014, it was estimated his take-home pay was $696,058 per year. By 2016, he was estimated to own around 190 thousand Alexion Pharmaceuticals shares worth around $25 million.
5. He left Alexion after losing the confidence of the board
As Endpoints News writes, Hallal's relationship with Alexion came to an end in 2016 after both he and Alexion's Chief Financial Officer Vikas Sinha were bounced out of their jobs after failing to maintain the confidence of the board when an investigation into the company's sales practices by an Audit and Finance Committee led to a top-to-bottom overhaul of management. While their departure may have signaled the end of both Hallal and Sinha's relationship with Alexion, it didn't come close to ending their biotech careers.
6. He founded ElevateBio in 2019
After a slightly bitter parting of the ways with Alexion, Hallal decided to channel the emotion of the experience into a new venture. After teaming up with Vikas Sinha and Mitch Finer, Hallal founded ElevateBio. The company, which launched to the public in 2019, focuses on the development of cellular and genetic therapies. It operates by creating new companies as part of a wider portfolio, with each company dedicated to the development, manufacture, and commercialization of a novel therapeutic approach.
7. He's just raised $525 million in funding
March 2021 has been a good month for ElevateBio. As TechCrunch reports, the company has just raised a massive $525 million Series C round of financing, more than twice as much as the $193 million Series B funding it closed last year. The funding round was led by existing investor Matrix Capital Management, with new investors SoftBank and Fidelity Management & Research Company also participating. According to Hallal, the funding will be put towards expanding the company's R&D and manufacturing capabilities, as well as developing new companies and partnerships. According to Business Insider, the latest funding round is the third-largest round in the biotech industry and the largest-ever Series C round in biotech.
8. He's on the board of Scholar Rock
Shortly after leaving Alexion, Hallal joined the Board of Directors at Scholar Rock, a well-respected clinical-stage biopharmaceutical company focused on developing a pipeline of life-transforming treatments for patients suffering a wide range of serious diseases, including neuromuscular disorders, cancer, fibrosis, and anemia. He also serves as Chairman of the Board of the private biotechnology company iTeos Therapeutics and as a member of the Board of Directors at Seer.
9. He's worth over $32 million
According to Wallmine, Hallal is currently worth a phenomenal $32.5 million. His wealth derives from over 332 units of Scholar Rock Corp stock worth over $12,569,155 and the salary of $303,026 he makes as Independent Chairman of the Board at Scholar Rock Corp. He's also helped prop up his earnings by selling stock: in the last 12 years, he's sold over $19,581,350 worth of SRRK stock.
10. He's keeping quiet about the future
ElevateBio now has a headcount of around 150, and it's growing all the time. As to whether an IPO may be in the company's future, Hallal is keeping silent, at least for now. Speaking via Finetecology, he says, “Thus far, through three rounds of financing, the private path has actually served us really well,” adding “And I think with an eye out to the future, we’ll approach the next financing event the very same way: outlining the advantages and disadvantages to, let’s just say, a public path and a private path.”
Written by Allen Lee
Read more posts by Allen Lee