Former Covidien (NYSE:COV) executive Kenneth McBean has joined Cornerstone Therapeutics (NASDAQ:CRTX) as president of the respiratory therapeutics company.

The hire, announced Wednesday, comes as Cornerstone puts more emphasis on its branded products and transitions away from sales of unbranded drugs. As Covidien’s vice president and general manager of Specialty Pharmaceuticals from March 2009 through last May, McBean was credited with turning around that company’s branded pharmaceutical products division.

McBean will report to Cornerstone Chairman and CEO Craig Collard.

In Cornerstone, McBean joins a much smaller company. Cornerstone reported $125 million in 2010 revenue compared with the $10.4 billion in fiscal 2010 revenue that Covidien generated. But Cornerstone has made significant strides in recent years with acquisitions that have added new products, including its top seller, Curosurf, a drug that treats respiratory distress in premature infants. In the second quarter Curosurf generated $8.5 million in revenue, down about 1 percent compared to the year ago period.

Cornerstone has indicated it plans to make an acquisition, and it has the cash to do so. Through the end of the second quarter, Cornerstone had $92.8 million available to make a deal. But the next development for the company could be Food and Drug Administration approval on a new drug. Collard has indicated that approval of cough and cold treatment CRTX067, a generic version of UCB’s Tussionex, is expected in time for the coming cold and flu season.

McBean’s experience includes work for several Canada-based pharmaceutical startups. He was also vice president of marketing and commercial development for Biovail Pharmaceuticals and its predecessor company DJ Pharma. McBean has also held positions at Glaxo Wellcome and Marion Merrell Dow. He holds a bachelor’s degree in business from Kansas State University.

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