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UPDATE 2-Emergent appoints former Bausch + Lomb CEO to head company

(Adds analyst comment in paragraph 6, updates share movement, adds background in paragraphs 4 to 7)

By Christy Santhosh

Feb 21 (Reuters) - Emergent BioSolutions said on Wednesday it has named former Bausch + Lomb CEO Joseph Papa to the top job as the company, which makes the opioid overdose reversal drug Narcan, aims to return to revenue growth.

Shares of Emergent rose more than 10% before the bell.

Papa has 35 years of experience in the healthcare industry. Before Bausch + Lomb, he was brought in as the CEO of Bausch in 2016 as the company, formerly called Valeant, sought to get past a flurry of investigations into its accounting and pricing practices under the previous management.

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Emergent has been seeking to cut costs, pivot away from its contract manufacturing business due to sluggish demand, and drive sales growth for Narcan and its other branded drugs.

Within its contract manufacturing business, Emergent has been struggling with lower contributions from Covid products. In 2022, Johnson & Johnson terminated its agreement with the contract manufacturer to make Covid vaccines.

While Emergent's interim CEO has done a good job in "righting the ship", Papa's appointment is "very positive" as his experience should help Emergent focus on products such as Narcan, said Benchmark analyst Robert Wasserman.

Shares of Emergent have fallen about 90% in the last 12 months, hitting a 16-year low in August.

Emergent also cut 400 jobs and scaled back operations at some of its facilities in August to focus on core products such as Narcan and anthrax vaccines.

Papa succeeds Haywood Miller, who will step down from his role as interim CEO effective Feb. 21.

(Reporting by Christy Santhosh; Editing by Krishna Chandra Eluri and Janane Venkatraman)