OXFORD, UK, 13 OCTOBER 2008 – Oxitec Ltd, a company dedicated to combating global diseases spread by insects, such as dengue fever and malaria, announced today that it has appointed Hadyn Parry as CEO, effective from 3rd November 2008.
Mr Parry has an extensive background in the Life Science sector. During his fifteen year career at Zeneca/Syngenta he held various positions, including General Manager of Zeneca Plant Sciences and European Director and Global Head of R&D for Advanta, one of the world’s largest seed companies. More recently he was CEO of MNL Pharmaceuticals, a company that was focused on pioneering a novel approach in immunology. Mr Parry is also Chairman of Help For Heroes, a charity that was founded in 2007 to support wounded British soldiers.
Oxitec has developed an innovative technology, employing advances in genetics and molecular biology, to improve on the well-established Sterile Insect Technique (SIT). SIT is used to control insect pests that damage crops. Oxitec’s technology extends the principle of using sterility to suppress insect populations to a far broader range of insect species that threaten public health and agriculture.
The Company was recognised as a Technology Pioneer 2008 by the World Economic Forum. Technology Pioneers 2008 were nominated by the world’s leading technology experts, including venture capitalists, technology companies, academics and media. Oxitec’s potential to improve human health was also recognised by an award from the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation Grand Challenges for Global Health Initiative, as part of a $20 million consortium developing strategies to control disease-carrying mosquitoes.
“Oxitec is a company that could have a dramatic impact on world health, and I am pleased to be joining at a critical point in its development,” said Mr Parry. “The technology has been shown to be both safe and environmentally friendly, and is now ready to be taken to market. The Company has developed male-sterile Aedes aegypti mosquitoes, the main insect carrier for dengue fever, with the aim of effectively controlling the disease in many countries. I believe Oxitec has a real chance to produce a breakthrough in reducing the incidence of this damaging disease.” Dengue fever is an emerging disease that affects one hundred million people each year across the world and which is increasing in severity, with over 55% of the world’s population at risk.
Oxitec has already generated product candidates for controlling the spread of dengue fever and the chikungunya virus, and has also developed approaches for management of the agricultural pests the pink bollworm and Mediterranean and Mexican fruit fly.
Dr David Brooks has been Chairman and CEO of Oxitec since 2002. Dr Brooks will now step down as CEO, but will remain as Chairman of Oxitec.
Welcoming Mr Parry’s appointment, Dr Brooks commented: “Oxitec has made great progress with its technology in the six years since start up. We are now moving towards a new and exciting commercial phase, and I believe that Hadyn’s skill set is ideally suited to driving this forward. I look forward to working with him as the Company develops under his leadership.”
Oxitec is developing and commercialising an effective and environment-friendly proprietary technology for the control of significant insect pests. Oxitec’s technology has the potential to make a major contribution for both global health and agriculture by combating insects responsible for serious diseases such as dengue fever as well as agricultural damage. The proprietary technology builds on inventions from the University of Oxford and employs genetics and molecular biology to enhance the cost-effectiveness and safety of the existing Sterile Insect Technique (SIT), and to extend SIT to a broader range of insect pests. The Company has generated product candidates for several insect pest control markets, and has advanced its lead candidate to the final testing phase of the development in the US. Based near Oxford, UK, the Company was founded in 2002 and is rapidly developing to become a world-leading provider of insect pest control programmes. Oxitec has received venture capital investment from Oxford Capital Partners, East Hill Management and The University of Oxford.