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Athenex hires Yordon as president of new specialty products subsidiary

Athenex, the specialty cancer drug company that is undergoing a rapid expansion, has hired a pharmaceutical industry veteran as president of a newly formed subsidiary.

Jeffrey M. Yordon will serve as president of Athenex Specialty Products and oversee the entire business unit, including manufacturing, distribution, strategy, new products, sales and marketing, Athenex said in a statement.

Yordon, 66, was founder, chairman and CEO of Sagent Pharmaceuticals, an Illinois-based maker of injectable drugs, before leaving in March 2015. Prior to that, he founded American Pharmaceutical Partners, an operating division of Abraxis Bioscience before it was sold to Fresenius Kabi. His is one of several high-profile hires that Athenex has made recently as it continues an ambitious growth plan here and internationally.

Earlier this month, Athenex announced the hiring of Dr. David L. Cutler as vice president of clinical development. Cutler has extensive experience in cancer drug development at Merck, Schering-Plough Research Institute and Schering-Plough Japan.

And in February, Athenex hired Simon C. Pedder as its vice president of corporate strategy and business development. Pedder has held leadership positions with Cellectar Biosciences, Chelsea Therapeutics, Hoffman-LaRoche and Shearwater Corporation.

Last fall, the company reached an agreement to build two drug manufacturing and distribution plants in China. The government in the Banan District of China’s Chong- qing province has agreed to pay for the land and construction of the two factories, while Athenex will pay to outfit the plants.

And state and company officials in February announced plans for the state to invest $225 million in a state-of-the-art drug manufacturing plant in Dunkirk, a new headquarters and product development site in Buffalo and at a third location in Erie County. The project is expected to create 1,400 jobs – 700 at Athenex and 700 with its suppliers.