Pharminox appoints Silence Therapeutics' Iain Ross as Chairman
Nottingham, UK, 8 January 2010 - Pharminox Limited, ("Pharminox" or "the Company") the UK-based cancer drug discovery and development company, today announced that it has appointed Iain Ross as Non-executive Chairman. Mr Ross takes over from Dr Mario Polywka, who is stepping down as Chairman due to other commitments, but will remain on the Board in a non-executive capacity.
Mr Ross is currently Non-executive Chairman of Silence Therapeutics plc, the UK-quoted biotechnology company (AIM:SLN) which recently merged with the US company Intradigm Corporation. He also holds non-executive directorships with a number of other companies in the sector.
Commenting on today's announcement, Peter Worrall, Chief Executive of Pharminox said, "The appointment of Iain Ross is an important milestone in the strategic development of Pharminox. Iain brings a wealth of experience and an impressive track record of fund raising and shareholder value generation in the biotechnology sector and will greatly strengthen the Board at this important stage in the Company's development.
"I would also like to take this opportunity to thank Mario Polywka for the tremendous contribution he has made as Chairman of the Board over the last five years. I am very pleased that Mario has agreed to remain on the Board as a non-executive director."
Iain Ross commented, "I am delighted to be joining the board of Pharminox. The Company is at an exciting stage and I have been very impressed both by the calibre of the people and the quality of the science. I look forward to working with the Board and Management Team to create real and sustainable shareholder value."
A picture of Mr Ross is available on request.
Peter Worrall, Chief Executive Tel: +44 (0)1428 645416 / +44 (0)7887 682669
Citigate Dewe Rogerson
Mark Swallow PhD Tel: +44 (0)20 7282 2948 / +44 (0)7903 737703
NOTES TO EDITORS
About Iain Ross
Iain Ross BSc (Hons) Biochemistry, is an experienced business entrepreneur with more than 30 years experience in the pharmaceutical and biotechnology sector. Since 2004 he has been Non-executive Chairman of Silence Therapeutics plc, the AIM-listed company (AIM:SLN) which recently merged with the US company Intradigm Corporation.
Between 1980 and1995 Mr Ross held senior commercial positions with companies in the UK and internationally, including Sandoz AG, Fisons plc, Hoffmann-La Roche AG and Celltech Group Plc, where he was a main board director from 1991 to1995. Since 1995 he has undertaken and input to a number of biotech turnarounds and start-ups as a board member on behalf of banks and private equity groups. From 1995 to 2000 he was CEO of Quadrant Healthcare plc, and in 2001/2002 as Chairman and CEO he was responsible for the operational and financial turnaround of Allergy Therapeutics Ltd.
Mr Ross has raised substantial funds both publicly and privately and has been involved in four Initial Public Offerings. He also has direct experience of mergers and acquisitions both in the UK and USA. In addition to his role at Silence Therapeutics, he is currently Chairman of Biomer Technology Ltd and a Non-Executive Director of Powerstax Ltd.
Mr Ross is a Chartered Director of the UK Institute of Directors, a Trustee of the Breast Cancer Haven and a member of the Council of Royal Holloway College, London University.
About Pharminox Ltd
Pharminox (www.pharminox.com<http://www.pharminox.com/>) is an emerging UK company focused on the discovery and development of small molecule drugs for the treatment of cancer.
The Company's internal drug discovery and in-licensing activities are target-driven and based on world-class medicinal chemistry, drug development and commercial expertise brought by an experienced team led by CEO Peter Worrall (ex Vernalis, British Biotech), CSO Professor Malcolm Stevens (former Director of the Cancer Research UK Experimental Cancer Chemotherapy Group) and Head of Chemistry Marc Hummersone (ex KuDOS Pharmaceuticals).
Since its formation in 2002, Pharminox has built a pipeline of proprietary anti-cancer programmes spanning early stage discovery through to clinical development with a focus on targeted DNA damage and DNA repair inhibition. The Pharminox pipeline includes:
1. Phortress, a DNA-interactive compound with an innovative mechanism of action based on intra-cellular induction of cytochrome P450 1A1. This compound is currently in Phase I clinical trials;
2. a preclinical telomere targeting programme focused on agents that promote rapid cell death by disrupting telomere function and blocking the activity of telomerase. The elucidation of the role of the telomere and its associated enzyme telomerase and their importance in cancer was the subject of the 2009 Nobel Prize for Physiology and Medicine;
3. a programme to discover and develop follow up compounds to the marketed anti-cancer drug temozolomide (TemodarTM, TemodalTM, Schering-Plough / Merck) that are able to block the DNA repair mechanism which renders the majority of tumours resistant to temozolomide itself. This programme is the subject of a research collaboration between Pharminox and the Schering-Plough Research Institute which has now been running for over three years. Under the terms of the collaboration Schering-Plough has an option to acquire exclusive rights to the arising intellectual property in return for milestone payments and future royalties to Pharminox;
4. a programme to discover compounds that inhibit the activity of a key protein in the Base Excision Repair pathway, another important DNA repair mechanism.
Pharminox is supported by a network of experienced consultants and advisers, who between them have a proven track record in the discovery and development of leading marketed anti-cancer drugs, including temozolomide, for treating brain cancer, and erlotinib (TarcevaTM, Genentech and OSI Pharmaceuticals) for treating lung and pancreatic cancer.
The Company was formed as a spin-out from Oxford University at the beginning of 2002. Its discovery and development activities are now based at laboratories at BioCity Nottingham in Nottingham, UK.
Mark Swallow, Ph.D. Citigate Dewe Rogerson
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