Affitech Appoints Dr Robert Burns as CEO and Dr Alexander Duncan as SVP Research & Development
Experienced Biopharmaceutical Executives Form new Leadership Team at Antibody Medicines Company
COPENHAGEN and OSLO, September 1 /PRNewswire-FirstCall/ -- Affitech A/S,
(Nasdaq OMX: AFFI), the antibody medicines company, today announced that it
has appointed two experienced biotech executives to head its management team.
Dr Robert Burns, previously CEO of Celldex Therapeutics Inc., has today
assumed overall responsibility for Affitech as its new Chief Executive
Officer. Dr Alexander Duncan, previously SVP Biopharmaceuticals for Astra
Zeneca - Medimmune, also joins Affitech today as Senior Vice President of
Research and Development. Dr Robert Burns takes over the Affitech CEO role
from Dr Achim Kaufhold who, having successfully completed the recent
combination of Affitech and Pharmexa, is leaving the Company. Dr Martin
Welschof, Managing Director of Affitech Research AS, Oslo, continues in post.
Robert Burns is an experienced biotech business executive. He joins
Affitech following the successful merger of Celldex Therapeutics and
NASDAQ-listed Avant Immunotherapeutics. Prior to Celldex, Robert was Director
of Technology Licensing at the Ludwig Institute for Cancer Research, where he
was played key leadership roles in the spin-out of 3 successful companies,
Piramed in the UK, Lymphatix in Finland and Recepta, an antibody therapeutics
business, in Brazil. Prior to that he was Commercial Director at both Oxford
Glycosciences and British Biotech. Robert is also non-executive Chairman of
Haemostatix, an early stage company specialising in blood clotting products.
Robert holds a BSc in Chemistry and a PhD in oligosaccharide analysis from
The University of Birmingham.
Alexander Duncan is a leading antibody research scientist and business
leader. At Astra Zeneca he was a member of AZ Discovery senior management
team and SVP Biopharmaceuticals. He led the Cambridge UK Discovery site,
previously Cambridge Antibody Technology (CAT), through its integration with
Medimmune. Prior to its acquisition by Astra Zeneca, Alex was SVP Drug
Discovery at CAT, where he built a recognised world class antibody discovery
capability. In addition to playing a major role in the creation of the CAT-AZ
alliance, he led CAT discovery collaborations with Wyeth, Merck, Human Genome
Sciences, Elan, Pfizer, Immunex and others. Alex gained his PhD in Dr Sir
Greg Winter's laboratory at the MRC Laboratory of Molecular Biology,
University of Cambridge and held post-doctoral positions at the University of
California San Diego.
Commenting on these management changes, Dr Keith McCullagh, Affitech's
Chairman, said: "I am delighted to welcome Robert Burns and Alex Duncan to
Affitech. They bring exceptional experience in structuring biotech alliances
and the discovery and development of competitive human antibody medicines. I
am confident that under their business and scientific leadership the recently
listed Affitech will emerge as an exciting new international competitor in
the rapidly growing pharmaceutical sector of human antibody medicines."
"I would also like to thank Dr Achim Kaufhold for his dedication and
commitment to the success of Affitech over the last year and wish him every
success as he returns to Switzerland to pursue other opportunities.
Dr Robert Burns, Affitech's new CEO, commented: "Alex and I are both
excited to be joining the Affitech team at this transformational point. The
Company has developed powerful antibody selection technology that has already
shown success in generating potential human antibody drugs against previously
challenging new disease targets. I think Affitech has a strong competitive
advantage in the antibody field and I look forward to building the business
into an internationally successful biopharmaceutical company."
The management changes announced today take place with immediate effect.
Affitech A/S is a human antibody medicines company based on modern phage
display technology coupled with powerful antibody screening and selection
systems. In particular the Company has developed specialized expertise (i) to
identify and engineer successful new proprietary human antibodies with
improved properties over commercially marketed antibody drugs; and (ii) to
isolate effective new antibody medicines that interact with and inhibit the
function of certain cell surface receptors. The Company's rapidly emerging
product pipeline is based on products in the fields of cancer, immunology and
angiogenesis. Following its reverse acquisition of Pharmexa A/S, completed in
June 2009, the newly Copenhagen OMX-listed company aims to raise further
equity investment to fund clinical development of these and other candidates.
For further information see http://www.affitech.com.