LONDON, February 10, 2012 /PRNewswire/ --
-- Tony Sedgwick steps up to Chief Executive Officer from Chief Business Officer --
-- Thomas Christély resigns as a Director of the Company --
Silence Therapeutics plc (AIM: SLN) ("Silence" or "the Company"), a leading RNA interference (RNAi) therapeutics company, announces today the promotion of Tony Sedgwick PhD, FRCPath to the role of Chief Executive Officer from Chief Business Officer with immediate effect and the departure of Thomas Christély who has resigned as a Director of the Company for personal reasons but will ensure a smooth transition.
Dr Anthony David Sedgwick (aged 56) joined Silence in September 2011 to lead a new business development team and has been instrumental since then in helping shape the Company's future strategy and in discussions with partners, investors and other stakeholders. Tony has extensive experience from European life science companies including more than fifteen years at Roche. Prior to joining Silence, Tony was CEO of Novacta and Chairman of the Norwegian biotech company Plastid AS. He was also previously CEO of two successfully acquired companies, Daniolabs Ltd. and Cambridge Biotechnology Ltd.
Commenting on the announcement Jerry Randall, Chairman of Silence Therapeutics, said: "Tony has a great deal of relevant experience gained from the global pharmaceutical industry. He has made a very positive impact on Silence since joining in September last year and has demonstrated the right leadership skills needed as the Company continues to gain momentum. On behalf of the Board I would like to thank Thomas for his many years of valuable service to Silence and wish him well with his future endeavours. I am delighted that Tony has agreed to take on the CEO role. He has impressed us since joining and I am sure he will continue to do so."
Tony Sedgwick, newly promoted Chief Executive Officer, added: "Since joining Silence Therapeutics in September 2011, I have been excited by the Company and the opportunities that lie ahead. We have a unique proprietary position in RNAi therapeutics and their delivery. I am confident that this will be further strengthened and will be the basis upon which investors and pharmaceutical partners alike will take an increasing interest in this Company. We have already strengthened the business development team with the appointment of Dr Georg Buchner who will now take full responsibility for business development. The Company's pipeline including Atu027 is making good progress and is endorsed by external partners. I look forward to taking on the role of Chief Executive Officer and working with the staff at Silence to strengthen the Company's pipeline. Over the next few years, I intend to increase the commercial focus of the Company, harness the RNAi therapeutics opportunity and, as a result, create substantial shareholder value."
Tony Sedgwick holds 1,108,108 shares (0.19%) of the issued share capital in the Company. No further disclosures are required under Rule 17 and Schedule 2(g) of the AIM Rules.
Notes for Editors
About Silence Therapeutics plc (www.silence-therapeutics.com)
Silence Therapeutics plc (AIM: SLN) is a leading biotechnology company dedicated to the discovery, development and delivery of targeted, systemic RNA interference (RNAi) therapeutics for the treatment of serious diseases. Silence offers one of the most comprehensive short interfering RNA (siRNA) therapeutic platforms available today based on a strong intellectual property portfolio and large clinical safety database. Silence's clinical siRNA product pipeline is one of the broadest in the industry. The Company possesses multiple proprietary siRNA delivery technology platforms including AtuPLEX™, DACC and DBTC. AtuPLEX enables the broad functional delivery of siRNA molecules to targeted diseased tissues and cells, while increasing their bioavailability and intracellular uptake. The DACC delivery system allows functional delivery of siRNA molecules selectively to the lung endothelium with a long duration of target mRNA and protein knock-down. The DBTC delivery system enables functional delivery of siRNA molecules selectively to liver cells including hepatocytes. Additionally, the Company has a platform of novel siRNA molecules based around its AtuRNAi chemical modification technology, which provides a number of advantages over conventional siRNA molecules. Silence's unique RNAi assets also include structural features for RNAi molecules and specific design rules for increased potency and reduced off-target effects of siRNA sequences.
The Company's lead internal drug candidate is Atu027, a liposomal formulation in clinical development for systemic cancer indications and one of the most clinically advanced RNAi therapeutic candidates in the area of oncology. Atu027 incorporates two of the Company's technologies, AtuRNAi and AtuPLEX™. Silence is currently conducting an open-label, single-centre, dose-escalation Phase I study with Atu027 in patients with advanced solid tumors involving single, as well as repeated, intravenous administration. Encouraging interim safety and pharmacokinetic data were presented at the American Society of Clinical Oncology Annual Meeting in June 2011. The study is expected to be completed in the first half of 2012.
The Company's RNAi therapeutic platform has received key validation through multiple partnerships with pharmaceutical companies including AstraZeneca, Dainippon Sumitomo, Pfizer/Quark, and Novartis/Quark. Silence is actively pursuing the establishment of additional partnerships. Silence Therapeutics has operations in both Berlin and London.
For further information, please contact:
Tony Sedgwick / Max Herrmann
Mary-Jane Elliott / Claire Dickinson
Singer Capital Markets
Shaun Dobson / Claes Spång
SOURCE Silence Therapeutics Plc