Fusion Antibodies PLC – FAB – Directorate Change
Fusion Antibodies plc (AIM: FAB), specialists in pre-clinical antibody discovery, engineering and supply for both therapeutic drug and diagnostic applications, announces the appointment of Dr Richard Jones as Chief Executive Officer, replacing Dr Paul Kerr who stands down from the Board with immediate effect in order to pursue other opportunities. Paul will become a consultant to the Company so that he can continue to support the Company going forward.
Richard Jones is an accomplished life sciences executive with 25 years' experience in the pharmaceutical industry both in big pharma and biotech companies as well as running a contract development and manufacturing organisation ("CDMO"). He joins Fusion from BrYet Limited, a biotech company focused on the discovery and development of transtherapeutics nanotechnology for the treatment of metastatic liver and lung cancers. As CEO of BrYet, Richard led the company's transition from research group to a start-up biotechnology company.
Previously, Richard was Senior Vice-President, Head of Europe for NASDAQ listed Akcea Therapeutics, a US biotech company focused on rare diseases. During his time in charge of the European operations, Richard successfully built a business with over 100 staff across 16 countries, generating revenues of c. $25m. Before this, Richard was CEO of Holostem Advanced Therapies S.r.l, a cell and gene therapy developer/CDMO, where he led the transformation of the business from an 'early stage' research-based company to a fully-fledged development, commercial and production entity. Prior to this, Richard was CEO of Akinion Pharmaceuticals AB, a Swedish biotech focussed on the discovery and development of signal transduction inhibitors for the treatment of acute myeloid leukaemia (AML).
Richard previously served at Novartis and GlaxoSmithKline's ("GSK") Global Oncology division, for GSK's Rare Diseases unit, for Genzyme's Global Oncology and Transplant business and as International Franchise Director for Shire Pharmaceuticals. Richard holds a PhD in Molecular Oncology and Signal Transduction.
Exercise of options and total voting rights
Concurrent with his stepping down from the Board, Paul Kerr is exercising 125,000 options over ordinary shares of 4 pence each in in the Company (the "Ordinary Shares") at an exercise price of 4 pence per option. Application will be made for the 125,000 new Ordinary Shares to be admitted to trading on AIM ("Admission"), which is expected to occur on 19 February 2021.
On Admission, the issued share capital of the Company will consist of 25,562,025 Ordinary Shares, with one voting right per share. The Company does not hold any Ordinary Shares in treasury. Therefore, the total number of Ordinary Shares and voting rights in the Company will be 25,562,025. The above figure may be used by shareholders in the Company as the denominator for the calculations by which they will determine if they are required to notify their interest in, or a change to their interest in, the share capital of the Company under the FCA's Disclosure Guidance and Transparency Rules.
Simon Douglas, Chairman of Fusion Antibodies, commented: "I would like to extend the Board's thanks to Paul for his contribution to the business and his stewardship over the last 10 years, during which time we have established a strong position supporting our customer base as they develop new antibody therapeutics and achieved the significant milestone of becoming a publicly traded company.
"Richard joins us at an exciting time as we focus on the commercial roll out of OptiMAL, our Mammalian Antibody library and, in particular, on opportunities to develop COVID-19 targets as well as our oncology targets."
Richard Jones said: "I am delighted to be leading Fusion Antibodies into the next phase of the Company's evolution, building on the strong foundations and expanding its commercial success. Fusion Antibodies has a world class and cutting edge antibody discovery, development and supply technology platform built over the last decade and validated through high profile collaborations. Fusion Antibodies has the potential to generate significant shareholder value from its exciting technology platforms and services in rapidly growing therapeutic areas and in particular OptiMal, which represents a key future growth driver for the business. I believe that Fusion will play a significant global role in the discovery and development of novel, effective antibody therapeutics."