Arix Bioscience concludes strategic review, reshuffles board

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Arix Bioscience PLC (LON:ARIX) has updated investors on the outcome of its strategic implementation review while also unveiling a number of changes to its board.

The biotech-focused venture capital firm said it has completed its stakeholder engagement and “now has a clear understanding of shareholder views”, which it said will enable it to implement its strategy more effectively.

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Arix said it has appointed its chief operating officer and general counsel Robert Lyne has been appointed to the board with immediate effect and will act as interim chief executive while the company recruited a permanent replacement.

The group also said its executive chairman Naseem Amin has left the firm with immediate effect, adding that it has appointed Peregrine Moncreiffe as non-executive chairman as well as Maureen O’Connell and Isaac Kohlberg as non-executive directors, both of which were nominated by the company’s largest shareholder Acacia Research Corporation.

In light of these changes, Arix said Trevor Jones has decided not to seek re-election at the coming Annual General Meeting, adding that Axel Wieandt and James Noble will no longer be joining the board.

In addition, the company said it also plans to grow its investment team, which it said will add “new talent to deploy investment capital”.

“Arix has had a busy year and made significant progress. We thank Naseem for his contribution having stepped in part-time to lead the business in the absence of both Chairman and Chief Executive last year. In 2020, Naseem has overseen an increase in NAV of 62%, an increase in total shareholder return of 106% and a restructuring of operating expenses to 2.1% of NAV. He has also brought a sharper focus to portfolio management, concluded two highly promising new investments and established clear targets for the financial returns to our shareholders. We wish him every success with his many future endeavours. I would also like to wish Trevor well after a long period of loyal service to the Company. He will leave Arix in a strong position, looking to the future with optimism and with greater governance stability”, Moncreiffe said in a statement.

“We are also grateful to Axel and James for their engagement and enthusiasm for the business and thank them for the support they have shown the Company. Arix has a strong pipeline of new opportunities and we look forward to the opportunities that will arise from the investment team’s expansion and the appointment of a new Chief Executive”, the chairman added.

“Since becoming a shareholder in Arix at the end of last year, we have sought to bring about a series of corporate governance improvements and ensure that the company is served by a board that is responsive to its shareholders. We believe it was incumbent upon us to lead on these issues at a critical time when the company was exposed to significant risk. We are grateful to our fellow shareholders for their continued support during this period, and I am delighted that this matter has now been brought to a satisfactory conclusion”, said Clifford Press, chief executive of Acacia Research.

Shares in Arix rose 0.7% to 190.2p in early trading on Friday.

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