If anyone had doubts about exactly where Neil Woodford was going to aim the brunt of his new £200 million ($300 million) fund, details of the board that will oversee the venture will have washed away the uncertainty. The board is heavily tilted toward biopharma, the "golden triangle" and academic commercialization know-how.
Former Imperial Innovations (AIM:IVO) CEO Susan Searle will chair the board, which features leaders from two of the companies in which she invested during her stint in charge of the business. Circassia (LON:CIR) CEO Steve Harris and Nexeon CEO Scott Brown both pulled in serious cash during Searle's reign--in 2011 Imperial Innovations led rounds worth £100 million in the companies--and will now work alongside her on Woodford's board.
Louise Makin, CEO of specialty pharma company BTG (LON:BTG), has taken the fourth seat on the board, Citywire Wealth Manager reports. As such, three-quarters of the board have strong biotech credentials--Brown is developing lithium-ion battery technology at Nexeon--and the same proportion are part of Imperial Innovation's ecosystem. Woodford took a big stake in Imperial Innovations while at Invesco Perpetual and put the company near the top of the wish list when he went solo.
Stacking the board with people embedded in the academic ecosystems in south-east England gives the fund access to the sort of connections that have enabled Imperial Innovations to prosper. The board members won't have a direct say in investment decisions, but will support the fund by challenging its thinking and providing access to their networks of contacts in industry and academia.
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