QUÉBEC CITY, April 15, 2013 /PRNewswire/ - Aeterna Zentaris Inc.
(NASDAQ: AEZS) (TSX: AEZ) (the "Company") announced today that David A.
Dodd has been appointed President and Chief Executive Officer of the
Company, succeeding Juergen Engel, PhD. Mr. Dodd has also been
appointed director on the Company's Board of Directors. Aeterna
Zentaris Inc. is an oncology and endocrinology drug development company
currently investigating treatments for various unmet medical needs.
"With the appointment of David, we are taking an important first step in
transforming Aeterna Zentaris from a company focused on R&D to a
company focused on commercializing the promising compounds in our
pipeline," said Juergen Ernst, Chairman of the, Board of Directors.
"David's reputation in the industry as a 'transformation specialist' is
well deserved, with a record of successful and dramatic transformations
of multiple pharmaceutical and biotechnology enterprises. David is a
strong, focused leader with the ability to motivate employees, and
significantly enhance shareholder value. We are delighted that he is
joining our management team, and we look forward to his leadership and
stewardship of Aeterna Zentaris."
"I am honored and excited to have the opportunity to lead Aeterna
Zentaris," said Mr. Dodd. "Building on the existing strong R&D
foundation, my focus will be to serve the needs of patients,
shareholders and employees through successful development and
commercialization of novel, differentiated products that enhance and
may save lives. I am fully committed to rewarding our shareholders
with sustained growth and future profitability. Moreover, I look
forward to the challenge of moving this company forward, and working
with its highly dedicated staff."
Mr. Dodd's executive management experience in the pharmaceutical and
biotechnology industries spans more than 35 years. From December 2007
to June 2009, Mr. Dodd was President, CEO and Chairman of BioReliance
Corporation, a leading provider of biological safety and related
testing services. From October 2006 to April 2009, he served as
non-executive Chairman of Stem Cell Sciences Plc., where he oversaw the
development and implementation of a strategic growth plan,
implementation of an experienced executive team, and the sale of the
Company to Stem Cells, Inc., in April 2009.
During Mr. Dodd's six-year tenure as President, CEO and Director of
Serologicals Corporation, the market value of that company increased
from $85 million in June 2000 to an all-cash sale to Millipore
Corporation in July 2006 for $1.5 billion. That successful
transformation followed his five-year term as President and CEO of
Solvay Pharmaceuticals, Inc. and as Chairman of its subsidiary Unimed
Pharmaceuticals, Inc. Prior to that, Mr. Dodd held various senior
management positions at Wyeth-Ayerst Laboratories, the Mead Johnson
Laboratories Division at Bristol-Myers Squibb, and Abbott Laboratories.
Currently, he serves as Chair, Board of Directors, of GeoVax, Inc., a
biotechnology company developing innovative, patented HIV/AIDS
vaccines; as a Director on the Board of Aruna Biomedical, a
privately-held life science development company focused on the
development and commercialization of stem cell research products and
services; and, as a Director on the Board of PNP Therapeutics, a
clinical stage company, developing a novel nucleoside-booster treatment
for solid tumor mass cancers.
He also serves as CEO of RiversEdge BioVentures LLC ("RiversEdge"),
which he founded in 2009. RiversEdge is an investment and advisory firm
focused on the life sciences and pharmaceutical industry.
He is a frequently invited speaker and panelist at business and economic
development conferences, as well as various conferences focused on the
life sciences and pharmaceutical industry. He is a recipient of the
Oglethorpe Award for UK-US Business Relationships, the Georgia BIO
Industry Growth Award, and the FastTech 50 Growth Company Award
(2000-2006) while leading Serologicals Corporation.
Mr. Dodd holds Bachelor of Science and Master of Science degrees from
Georgia State University, and completed the Harvard Business School of
Advanced Management Program. His numerous public service activities
include the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention, and the Board
of Directors of the Institute of Bioengineering and Bioscience at
Georgia Institute of Technology.
"We sincerely appreciate Dr. Engel's leadership over the past five
years," said Mr. Ernst. "He has been dedicated to leading our research
program and building our pipeline of viable compounds. We wish him
success in his future endeavors."
Prof. Dr. Engel, who will pursue his passion in research and
development, said, "I have enjoyed my years at Aeterna Zentaris, and I
am confident the company is in good hands, and will thrive under the
leadership of David Dodd."
Shareholders are advised that, in place of Prof. Dr. Engel, Mr. Dodd
will be one of the management nominees for directors at the Company's
annual meeting of shareholders to be held on May 8, 2013. Management
proxy holders intend to exercise the discretion granted in the proxies
and vote in favour of the election of Mr. Dodd as a director at the
shareholders' meeting. If any shareholders have voted by proxy and wish
to amend their vote, they should follow the instructions on the Form of
Proxy and Notice of Meeting.
About Aeterna Zentaris
Aeterna Zentaris is an oncology and endocrinology drug development
company currently investigating treatments for various unmet medical
needs. The Company's pipeline encompasses compounds at all stages of
development, from drug discovery through to marketed products. For more
information please visit www.aezsinc.com.
This press release contains forward-looking statements made pursuant to
the safe harbour provisions of the U.S. Securities Litigation Reform
Act of 1995. Forward-looking statements involve known and unknown risks
and uncertainties that could cause the Company's actual results to
differ materially from those in the forward-looking statements. Such
risks and uncertainties include, among others, the availability of
funds and resources to pursue R&D projects, the successful and timely
completion of clinical studies, the risk that safety and efficacy data
from any of our Phase 3 trials may not coincide with the data analyses
from previously reported Phase 1 and/or Phase 2 clinical trials, the
ability of the Company to take advantage of business opportunities in
the pharmaceutical industry, uncertainties related to the regulatory
process and general changes in economic conditions. Investors should
consult the Company's quarterly and annual filings with the Canadian
and U.S. securities commissions for additional information on risks and
uncertainties relating to forward-looking statements. Investors are
cautioned not to rely on these forward-looking statements. The Company
does not undertake to update these forward-looking statements. We
disclaim any obligation to update any such factors or to publicly
announce the result of any revisions to any of the forward-looking
statements contained herein to reflect future results, events or
developments, unless required to do so by a governmental authority or
by applicable law.
SOURCE AETERNA ZENTARIS INC.