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Large For-Profit CEO of the Year – Hervé Hoppenot, Incyte CEO

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CEO Hervé Hoppenot | PHOTO BY LUIGI CIUFFETELLI

When Hervé Hoppenot decided to leave his job as president of Swiss-American pharmaceutical giant Novartis’ oncology program to lead Wilmington-based Incyte, it was then a burgeoning firm with big plans.

“When I came in, the company was already together for more than 10 years and we were on the cusp of this new era where we drove it to internationalization, to multiplying the investment in R&D, and to bringing the right team together – and that’s the path that was the most exciting,” he said.

Since taking the helm, Hoppenot has been growing Incyte’s sales, headcount and products, making the $16 billion company one of the largest employers in northern Delaware with more than 1,000 based here. Led by its blockbuster blood cancer drug Jakafi, revenue has increased more than 300% under Hoppenot’s watch and Incyte has expanded its small-molecule inhibitor drugs into dermatology.

“More importantly, we’re growing at 20% annually, and continue to grow very dynamically. We are able to invest $1.5 billion a year in R&D for life-changing drugs,” he said.

Incyte continues to invest in its Delaware home, where its Alapocas campus just outside the city serves as its world headquarters. After recently opening its third major building on the campus this year, the company is already beginning plans on its fourth, and perhaps most ambitious, building that will host up to 1,000 additional employees in coming years.

“The campus is not buildings that we are accumulating, it’s also creating a culture of interaction between different specialties and dealing with the complexity of what we do,” Hoppenot said.

One of the reasons for Incyte’s success has been its ability to hold on to top leadership over the years, and Hoppenot credits a culture of respect, authenticity, and a shared mission they call: Work hard, keep calm, and cure cancer.

The CEO expects Incyte to grow into a premier employer for Delaware over the coming years and become increasingly involved in the community. It already accepts monthly applications for its Incyte Cancer Care Assistance Fund, which funds treatment of Delaware cancer patients in need.

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