SOURCE: Clavis Pharma ASA

January 08, 2010 01:34 ET

Clavis Pharma appoints Olav Hellebo as Chief Executive Officer

OSLO, NORWAY--(Marketwire - January 8, 2010) -

Internationally experienced pharmaceutical executive will join Clavis Pharma on February 1, 2010 from UCB Pharma.

Clavis Pharma ASA (OSE: CLAVIS), the Norwegian cancer drug development company, announced today that it has appointed Olav Hellebo as its new Chief Executive Officer (CEO). Mr Hellebo, who joins Clavis Pharma from UCB Pharma, has significant senior management experience in the pharmaceutical industry and has been appointed to lead the Company as it embarks on a new phase of international clinical and commercial development. Mr Hellebo will take up his position on 1(st) February 2010.

Olav Hellebo (age 44) is an experienced pharmaceutical executive who has held senior positions in the pharmaceutical industry in both Europe and the USA. He joins Clavis Pharma from UCB, the global biopharmaceutical company where he was Senior Vice President, UCB Pharma and President of Immunology Operations. In this position he built and led the global organization responsible for the successful registration and launch of Cimzia®, UCB's new antibody drug for the treatment of rheumatoid arthritis and Crohn's disease. From 2003 to 2004 Mr Hellebo was Chief Operating Officer of Novartis UK and prior to that held a series of senior international roles at Schering Plough, the last as head of Schering Plough's Oncology Biotech Division in the USA. Mr Hellebo graduated in business studies from Hofstra University, New York and received an MBA from IESE, Barcelona.

"I am delighted to welcome Olav Hellebo to Clavis Pharma," said Keith McCullagh, Clavis Pharma's Chairman. "He is an entrepreneurial business leader who has succeeded in building winning teams and delivered strong performance wherever he has worked. Most recently he took responsibility at UCB for building a 500-person global team to achieve successful international marketing approvals and launch of Cimzia®, UCB-Celltech's new anti-inflammatory medicine. I am confident he will be equally successful in establishing Clavis Pharma as a leading company in the field of novel anti-cancer medicines."

Olav Hellebo commented: "I look forward to joining Clavis Pharma at a time of great potential. The Company has achieved promising clinical data with elacytarabine in acute myeloid leukaemia and I believe this new investigational medicine can be brought successfully to market on an international basis. The recent partnership with Clovis Oncology for CP-4126, Clavis Pharma's second pipeline product, demonstrates the potential of the Company's Lipid Vector Technology to generate exciting new and improved versions of existing oncology drugs. One of my key objectives at Clavis will be to build on the successes of Geir Christian Melen and his team and to further expand the clinical pipeline. I believe my commercial pharmaceutical experience will help us to establish and implement a winning international business strategy as we seek to improve outcomes for cancer patients worldwide."

Geir Christian Melen, Clavis Pharma's current CEO will hand over to Olav Hellebo on 1st February 2010 and will continue with the Company as an adviser for a transition period expected to last until end of June.

"I would like to thank Geir Christian Melen for the strong contribution he has made to Clavis Pharma's development over the past two years," said Keith McCullagh. "In 2009, he achieved a successful refinancing of the Company and established a $380 million strategic partnership with Clovis Oncology laying the foundations for our future success. As Clavis Pharma enters a new phase of international clinical and commercial development, the Board believes the Company requires a CEO with significant international pharmaceutical industry experience to deliver our corporate ambitions. We would like to thank Geir Christian for his leadership to date and wish him every success as he seeks new opportunities for the future."


For further information, please contact:
Keith McCullagh
Non-Executive Chairman
Mobile : +44 793 957 3548

Geir Christian Melen
Chief Executive Officer
Office: +47 24 11 09 50
Mobile : +47 91 30 29 65

Gunnar Manum
Chief Financial Officer
Office: +47 24 11 09 71
Mobile : +47 95 17 91 90

For international press enquiries:
Mark Swallow / Nina Enegren / David Dible
Citigate Dewe Rogerson
Office : +44 207 282 2948
E-mail :


About Clavis Pharma

Clavis Pharma ASA is a clinical stage oncology drug development company based in Oslo, Norway with a portfolio of novel anti-cancer drugs in development. These patented New Chemical Entities (NCEs) are novel, improved versions of commercially successful drugs, made using Clavis Pharma's Lipid Vector Technology (LVT) chemistry. Data generated suggests these potential breakthrough products may offer improved efficacy and reduced side effects through enhanced pharmacokinetic properties, greater tissue penetration, altered metabolism and, in certain cases, additional modes of action.

Clavis Pharma's drug candidates under development include:

  * Elacytarabine, an improved form of Ara-C, a leukaemia drug - about to
    commence a Phase III randomized, controlled registration study in late-
    stage acute myeloid leukaemia;
  * Intravenous CP-4126, an improved version of gemcitabine - currently in
    a Phase II comparative study with gemcitabine for the treatment of
    pancreatic cancer;.
  * Oral CP-4126 - currently being evaluated in an escalating dose Phase I
    study in solid tumours; and
  * CP-4200, an azacitidine derivative - in preclinical development for
    myelodysplastic syndrome (MDS), often a precursor to myeloma or

Clavis Pharma intends to commercialese its products through strategic alliances and partnerships with experienced oncology businesses and, where and when commercially appropriate, by establishing its own sales and marketing capabilities. CP-4126 is licensed to Clovis Oncology in Americas and Europe. Clavis Pharma has retained rights in other territories and an option to co-promote CP-4126 in Europe.

The shares of Clavis Pharma ASA are listed on the Oslo Stock Exchange (ticker: CLAVIS).


This news release contains forward-looking statements and forecasts based on uncertainty, since they relate to events and depend on circumstances that will occur in the future and which, by their nature, will have an impact on results of operations and the financial condition of Clavis Pharma. There are a number of factors that could cause actual results and developments to differ materially from those expressed or implied by these forward-looking statements. These factors include, among other things, risks associated with technological development, the risk that research & development will not yield new products that achieve commercial success, the impact of competition, the ability to close viable and profitable business deals, the risk of non-approval of patents not yet granted and difficulties of obtaining relevant governmental approvals for new products.

No expressed or implied representations or warranties are given concerning Clavis Pharma or the accuracy or completeness of the information provided herein, and no claims shall be made by the recipient hereof by virtue of this News Announcement or the information contained herein.

Clavis Pharma™ is a registered trademark of Clavis Pharma ASA. This information is subject of the disclosure requirements acc. to §5-12 vphl (Norwegian Securities Trading Act)


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