OSLO, NORWAY--(Marketwire - Jan 29, 2013) - Bionor Pharma ASA (OSLO: BIONOR) today announced that Anker Lundemose, MD, PhD, DMSc (Medical Microbiology), has been appointed as President and CEO of Bionor Pharma ASA from 1 March 2013. Dr. Lundemose is a Danish citizen, and replaces Steen Krøyer, who as of 1 March will take the position as Deputy Chairman of the Board of Directors.
Anker Lundemose (51) has comprehensive international experience and a vibrant international network. He has been responsible for successful mergers and acquisitions within biotech, venture investments, and licensing. His background includes senior management positions at biotech startups, large biotech and big pharma, as well as an initial career in academia.
Dr. Lundemose has extensive experience from business and corporate development as well as R&D in several key therapeutic areas including oncology and anti-infectives. He has been a co-founder of several biotech companies, significantly increased company valuation from startup to exit, and raised more than $150 million in private equity.
Anker Lundemose has been CEO of Prosidion Ltd. in the UK from 2003 to 2005, Executive Vice President OSI Pharmaceuticals, New York City, U.S. and President of Prosidion Ltd. from 2005 to 2009. Dr. Lundemose was Executive Vice President Corporate & Business Development, OSI Pharmaceuticals Inc., from 2009 until Astellas Pharma's acquisition of OSI in 2010. Anker Lundemose has previously held positions as Managing Director at OSI Pharma's venture arm in Zug, Switzerland, and as Business Development Director at Novo Nordisk, Denmark.
"I am delighted to be joining Bionor Pharma at this crucial point in its development," said Dr. Lundemose. "Bionor's HIV vaccines have shown in clinical and preclinical trials unique properties, which the three ongoing clinical studies aim to further demonstrate. The two HIV vaccines in combination may have the potential to be part of an eradication strategy within HIV. In addition, the Company has several other novel targeted vaccine technologies in its pipeline and an excellent R&D team, which I look forward to lead going forward."
The Board of Directors is also very pleased to announce that Steen Krøyer, who has held the position as interim CEO of the Company since September 2011, will take the position as Deputy Chairman of the Board of Directors in accordance with the nomination and election at the Company's AGM 11 May 2012.
Steen Krøyer has focused on preparing Bionor Pharma for the industrial phase of development, including initiation of three clinical studies for the HIV vaccines Vacc-4x and Vacc-C5. The ongoing shift from a technology driven company to a development- and commercial-oriented entity has led to some further organizational changes, including that one of the founders of Bionor Pharma, Birger Sørensen has stepped out of his regular employment.
"We believe that Dr. Lundemose's extensive business experience and strong scientific background will be of significant value for the Company's further research and product developments, and for an upcoming partnering process going forward," says Dr. Lars H. Høie, Chairman of the Board. "The board will also use this opportunity to thank Steen Krøyer, who has done an excellent job preparing Bionor Pharma for a new and commercially driven phase of the Company's development."
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About Bionor Pharma ASA
Bionor Pharma is a leading vaccine company, listed on the Oslo Stock Exchange. The Company's investments in developing therapeutic vaccines exceed US$ 80 million, and the Company has secured funding of planned scientific and business related activities until mid 2014.
Bionor Pharma's vaccines are based on the proprietary technology platform developed following more than two decades of research on peptides, and they are designed to safely stimulate the immune system to combat viral diseases.
HIV Vaccines - Foremost in Development
The Company's lead HIV candidate, Vacc-4x, has been investigated as a therapeutic vaccine in a large exploratory phase II randomized, multinational (USA and 4 European countries), double-blind, placebo-controlled study. This study showed a statistically significant reduction in viral load by inducing killing of virus producing cells. Bionor Pharma's second HIV vaccine candidate, Vacc-C5, is developed to induce antibodies that can reduce the harmful hyperactivation of the immune system caused by HIV infection, which leads to AIDS.
Bionor Pharma has started three clinical studies which can lead towards phase III, and first results from these studies are expected in 2013:
1. Vacc-4x in combination with Celgene's immune modulator Revlimid® (Lenalidomide), in patients who fail to regain a normal immune system despite having a well-controlled viral load on conventional HIV medication (antiretroviral therapy, ART). The researchers at four clinics in Germany will in this placebo-controlled study investigate whether Revlimid enhances the effect of Vacc-4x.
2. Reboosting with Vacc-4x in patients from the phase II study (USA and 4 European countries), to investigate whether this can result in a further reduction in viral load. Approximately 40 patients from the large phase II study with Vacc-4x will take part at 10 clinics.
3. Clinical phase I/II study with Vacc-C5, at Oslo University Hospital will investigate safety and efficacy, and whether this vaccine leads to increased formation of antibodies against HIV in humans.
Bionor Pharma is exploring the possibility to combine Vacc-4x and Vacc-C5 into one vaccine (Vacc-HIV), which as a therapeutic and possibly preventive HIV vaccine potentially can eradicate HIV-infection.
Vaccines for Other Viral Diseases
The Company's innovative technology platform is also well suited to develop vaccines for other viral diseases, including Influenza, HCV (Hepatitis C), CMV (Cytomegalovirus) and HPV (Human papillomavirus). The universal influenza vaccine (Vacc-Flu) and Hepatitis C vaccine (Vacc-HCV) are in preclinical phase of development.
Based on the three new clinical studies with the HIV vaccines, and preclinical data from the universal influenza- and Hepatitis C vaccines, Bionor Pharma has started a structured partnering process aiming at the commercialization of the technology platform and products.
More information about Bionor Pharma is available at www.bionorpharma.com.
This information is subject of the disclosure requirements acc. to §5-12 vphl (Norwegian Securities Trading Act). Vacc-4x, Vacc-C5, Vacc-Flu, Vacc-HCV, Vacc- CMV and Vacc-HPV are investigational treatments that have not been approved for marketing by any regulatory authority.