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Vernalis appoints new Chief Executive Officer and Chief Financial Officer

14 November 2008

Winnersh, UK, 14 November 2008, Vernalis plc (LSE: VER) today announces two key appointments.  Firstly, Ian Garland (43) is named as Chief Executive Officer.  It is expected that he will take up his position with the Company in December 2008.

 

From May 2007 until September 2008, Ian was CEO of Acambis plc, a company focussed on the development of novel vaccines.  During this period he oversaw a series of important advances for Acambis including approval by the FDA of its smallpox vaccine, partnering with Sanofi Pasteur on a West Nile vaccine and advancing vaccines against other infectious diseases such as pandemic influenza and clostridium difficile.  In April 2008, Acambis was awarded a $425m. biodefence contract with the US Government, and successfully raised £43.4m in a secondary financing.  The exceptional progress achieved during this period led to acquisition of Acambis by Sanofi Aventis in September 2008 for £280m.

 

From 2004 to 2007, Ian served as CFO of Arrow Therapeutics Ltd., a privately-held company engaged in the discovery and development of new anti-viral agents.  He oversaw its acquisition by AstraZeneca plc for $150m in February 2007.

 

From 1999 to 2003, Ian was President and Chief Operating Officer of Celltech Pharmaceuticals Inc., which had a turnover of around $300 million and approximately 1,000 employees, encompassing the US operations of Celltech Group plc.  He was responsible for all US activities, including marketing, manufacturing and supply chain management, and US-based development and support functions.  During this time, he achieved significant US sales and earnings growth, the approval of two US New Drug Applications, and the divestment of several non-core businesses.

 

For much of this period Ian reported directly to Peter Fellner, then CEO of Celltech, and now Chairman of Vernalis, and then worked closely with him again whilst Peter served as Chairman of Acambis.

 

From 1988 to 1995 Ian worked at KPMG, specialising in the pharmaceutical sector, following qualification as a Chartered Accountant.

 


In conjunction with the new CEO appointment, David Mackney (40) is named as Chief Financial Officer, and is expected to join the Company on 1st February 2009.

 

From February 2008 to the present, David has served as Interim CFO at Acambis plc, working closely with Ian Garland to successfully secure the US biodefence contract and the secondary financing.  Prior to this he served as CFO for a private equity-backed technology company.

 

From January 2002 to May 2005, David served as Group Financial Controller at Shire plc, a FTSE 100 biopharmaceutical company. 

 

From September 1996 to December 2001, he worked as a senior manager in audit and then in transaction services at Arthur Andersen. David is a Chartered Accountant.

 

Peter Fellner, Chairman, commented:

 

“I am delighted to welcome Ian Garland, with his exceptional experience and strategic abilities, as our new CEO at Vernalis, following his very successful tenure at Acambis plc. 

 

I am also pleased to welcome David Mackney as Chief Financial Officer.  His contribution to the successful development of Acambis, together with his broad previous experience, will be very valuable for Vernalis.”

 

Ian Garland commented:

 

“I am very excited to be joining Vernalis which, for a small company, has one of the broadest portfolios of promising and unpartnered drug candidates in the European biotechnology industry.  I look forward to working with the Vernalis team to build significant value for shareholders.”

 

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Enquiries:

 

Vernalis plc

+44 (0) 118 977 3133

Peter Fellner, Executive Chairman

 

 

 

Brunswick Group

+44 (0) 20 7404 5959

Jon Coles

 

Justine McIlroy

 

 

 

Notes to Editors

 

About Vernalis

 

Vernalis is a pharmaceutical company with one marketed product, Frova®, and six products in clinical development and collaborations with leading, global pharmaceutical companies including Novartis, Biogen Idec, Endo, Menarini and Chiesi:

 

For further information about Vernalis, please visit www.vernalis.com.

 

Forward-Looking Statement

 

This news release may contain forward-looking statements that reflect the Company's current expectations regarding future events including the clinical development and regulatory clearance of the Company's products, the Company's ability to find partners for the development and commercialisation of its products, as well as the Company's future capital raising activities. Forward-looking statements involve risks and uncertainties. Actual events could differ materially from those projected herein and depend on a number of factors including the success of the Company's research strategies, the applicability of the discoveries made therein, the successful and timely completion of clinical studies, the uncertainties related to the regulatory process, the ability of the Company to identify and agree beneficial terms with suitable partners for the commercialisation and/or development of its products, as well as the achievement of expected synergies from such transactions, the acceptance of Frova® and other products by consumers and medical professionals, the successful integration of completed mergers and acquisitions and achievement of expected synergies from such transactions, and the ability of the Company to identify and consummate suitable strategic and business combination transactions.

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