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Arix Bioscience appoints Joe Anderson CEO in boardroom reshuffle

Executive chairman Jonathan Peacock will stay in role, but in a non-executive capacity
boardroom table
The boardroom will have a different make-up

Arix Bioscience PLC (LON:ARIX) said chief investment officer Joe Anderson has been re-appointed chief executive.

Executive chairman Jonathan Peacock will stay in his role, but in a non-executive capacity at the life sciences investment company, while biotechnology entrepreneur Sir Christopher Evans is retiring as a director after a three-year term. Evans will continue as a consultant.

“Our core value is in the portfolio of companies we have built, and continue to build,” said Anderson.

READ: Arix Bioscience quids in after Harpoon completes flotation on NASDAQ

“We have seen rapid growth in our net asset value and we are confident that this will convert into value for shareholders, whilst the pipeline of new opportunities remains strong.

“I appreciate the confidence placed in me by the Board to lead this exceptional organisation as we continue to deliver on our strategy.”

In early afternoon trading, Arix shares were at 161p.

Ken Rumph, of broker Jefferies, said shareholders may question the process of reappointing Anderson after seeking outside candidates for the role.

However, the analyst said they will “welcome the outcome in cost and clarity terms”.

“While the process wasn't smooth, the reality is that the strategy hasn't changed, and a well-regarded CEO is restored to a more focused leadership,” he explained.

“We don't characterise this as a boardroom power struggle, but the changes address criticism over the top-heavy executive team and costs, with an outcome of a clear leadership structure and the move of Sir Chris, a high profile but polarising figure, to a more arms-length role.”

Autolus presents more data

In a later statement, Arix Bioscience also noted that its portfolio company, Autolus Therapeutics PLC (NASDAQ:AUTL) has presented updated data from the ongoing Phase 1 CARPALL trial of AUTO1 in a poster presentation at the European Hematology Association 1st European CAR T Cell Meeting held in Paris, France, February 14-16, 2019.

In an announcement on its investor website, Autolus said that Professor Persis Amrolia, Consultant in Bone Marrow Transplant at Great Ormond Street Hospital (GOSH) and NIHR Research Professor of Transplantation Immunology at University College London (UCL) Great Ormond Street Institute of Child Health, said: "AUTO1 combines a high molecular CR rate with excellent persistence and a good safety profile in pediatric acute B cell leukemia patients.”

 -- Adds Autolus update, updates share price --

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