NWBO augments management team in anticipation of further key developments Print E-mail
By M.E.Garza   
Thursday, 09 June 2011 13:51
Northwest Biotherapeutics (OTCBB:NWBO) announced that it has made changes and substantially expanded its management team, adding several highly experienced executives. Why is this important?

The positive changes continue at NWBO and we continue to assert our position that the company is in the middle of a strong push to become one of the leaders in the cancer vaccines space. The company has been showing real movement, growing momentum, and interest from outside entities/partners in both the U.S. and Europe and that is reflected in the volume and share price increases we are seeing for the stock.  Earlier in the week, the company addressed some of the strongest concerns associated to sentiment that the company lacked adequate financing to get to their platform to through the regulatory process. The news about the note and warrant financing gives the company a larger amount of funding all at once than they have had for the last 4 years and we felt the development was very well executed.

Now the company has shifted their focus to augmenting their management team in anticipation of further developments. Ms. Linda Powers, who has served as Chairman of the Board since May 2007, has been appointed Chief Executive Officer. Powers recently hinted to investors that the recently announced Fraunhofer partnership was “a first step in a broader European strategy.”  We are expecting more major developments in Europe for NWBO's broad platform technology for dendritic cell-based vaccines. The current lead clinical trial is a 240-patient Phase II trial in newly diagnosed Glioblastoma multiforme (“GBM”), the most aggressive and lethal form of brain cancer. NWBO had also previously received clearance from the FDA for a 612-patient Phase III trial in prostate cancer, and clearance from the FDA for Phase I trials in five other cancers. We may also see some developments involving the therapies focused on those cancers.

Powers has served as Chairman of NWBT for the last 4 years, and brings more than 25 years’ experience in corporate transactions and operations, including more than a decade specializing in building biotech companies through the Toucan Capital fund. The cell therapy companies which Ms. Powers has been involved in building over the last decade, both in the US and abroad (in Asia, Europe and Israel), are at the forefront of clinical trials and early commercialization. Ms. Powers has served for years on a number of related boards, including the M2Gen Board of the Moffitt Cancer Center, the Board of the Trudeau Institute (a world leader in immunology research) and others.

Company officials said Dr. Anthony Maida, a well known senior executive in the field of cancer immune therapies, will also be joining the team at Northwest Biotherapeutics as Chief Operating Officer on June 20th.  As the newest member of the management team, Dr. Maida adds more than 20 years’ experience in building oncology companies, with expertise in the business and financial aspects, the clinical and regulatory aspects, and the underlying science. Over these two decades, Dr. Maida has held positions as Chairman, CEO, COO, CSO, CFO and VP Business Development, and has raised nearly $200 million in financings for these oncology companies. Among these experiences, he served for a period as CEO of CancerVax, an early leader in cancer vaccines. In that role, he raised the company’s first $30 million of funding, and was responsible for conducting multi-hundred patient, multi-center clinical trials with the company’s cancer vaccines. Prior to joining NWBO as COO, Dr. Maida was serving as global head of Oncology for a leading contract research organization that manages clinical trials in the US and internationally.

It is interesting to note that Dr. Maida has been responsible for negotiating partnering and licensing transactions with many premier pharmaceutical companies and academic centers of excellence, including, among others, Eli Lilly, Novartis, RCT Corporation, Astra Zeneca, Pfizer, Bristol Myers Squibb, MD Anderson, Yale University, Stanford University, University of California San Francisco and Davis, and the Wistar Institute. On the financial front, Dr. Maida has served for years as a key adviser to many large institutional investors for their oncology investments. Dr. Maida serves on several boards in the oncology field, including Spectrum Pharmaceuticals and others. Earlier in his career, Dr. Maida served for a number of years as the Chief Financial Officer of a large public company’s subsidiary and Senior Financial Controller of a $1.7 billion division of that company (Lockheed).

Manwhile, Dr. Alton Boynton, who was the scientific founder of NWBO and has served as CEO since May 2007, will return to his position as Chief Scientific Officer. Dr. Boynton is the scientific founder of Northwest Biotherapeutics, and was the first in the world to conduct a clinical trial with dendritic cells – the master cells of the immune system, which are the cells used in NWBO’s DCVax® products. Back in the 1990's, when little was known about dendritic cells and their roles, Dr. Boynton’s research lab was an early leader in identifying the important clinical capabilities of the dendritic cells and their potential for fighting cancer. He has authored over 150 peer-reviewed research publications, and is the inventor on numerous issued and pending patents relating to dendritic cells.

Mr. Les Goldman, a former longtime partner at Skadden, Arps specializing in advanced technology commercialization, has been appointed Senior Vice President, Business Development. He helped build one of the preeminent global practices in this area. He was responsible for advising on financing, regulatory strategies, and public outreach relating to his clients’ development of numerous cutting edge technologies, bringing to bear a diverse range of deal-making skills. He has taken a special early retirement from Skadden, Arps to enable him to undertake an executive role at NWBO.

Dr. Marnix Bosch is continuing in his role as Chief Technology Officer. He joined the company in 2000, and has been serving as Chief Technical Officer for a number of years. In this capacity, he plays a key role in the preparation and submission of the Company’s regulatory applications, as well as ongoing development of the Company’s product lines, and ongoing development and/or acquisition of new technologies. Dr. Bosch led the process of designing the protocols, and managed the successful preparation and submission of the Company’s INDs (applications for FDA approval to conduct clinical trials), for prostate cancer, brain cancer and five other cancers. He also led the processes for other regulatory submissions in both the US and abroad (including the successful applications for orphan drug status in both the US and Europe for DCVax-L® for brain cancer).

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