BRISBANE, AUSTRALIA--(Marketwired - February 11, 2014) - Alchemia Limited, (ASX: ACL) a drug discovery and development company, today announced the appointment of Santo J. Costa as non-executive Chairman of the Board of Directors, effective as of 1 March 2014. Mr. Costa brings to Alchemia extensive international experience serving in senior leadership roles across the life sciences industry. Over a 30 year period, Mr. Costa held top executive positions including President and Chief Operating Officer of Quintiles Transnational Corp. and Senior Vice President, Administration and General Counsel of Glaxo, Inc., where he sat on the Company's Board of Directors and Executive Committee. Nathan Drona, who has served as Alchemia's Chairman since July 15, 2013, will remain on the Board as a non-executive Director.
"One of my top priorities, since assuming the role of Chairman on an interim basis, has been the recruitment of a new Chairman with the deep commercial experience necessary to help lead Alchemia through this truly transformational stage of growth, as we prepare to extend our commercial pipeline beyond fondaparinux," said Nathan Drona. "After an extensive and comprehensive international search, we are thrilled to have attracted the interest of such an outstanding individual with the senior experience necessary to take Alchemia to the next level. On behalf of the Board of Directors and management team, I am delighted to welcome someone of Sandy's caliber to the Company."
At Quintiles Transnational Corp., Mr. Costa was responsible for all operating divisions, including worldwide business development. During his tenure, he oversaw the successful integration of numerous acquisitions as the company became the worldwide leader in providing services to the pharmaceutical and biotechnology industries. Mr. Costa joined Quintiles at the time they became a public company and under his management the company's employee base increased from approximately 1,000 to 20,000. Mr. Costa has also sat on the Board of Directors of numerous public and private biotech and healthcare related companies. He is currently Of Counsel to the law firm Smith, Anderson, Blount, Dorsett, Mitchell & Jernigan in Raleigh, North Carolina, and serves as an adjunct professor in the clinical research program at the Campbell University School of Pharmacy. He holds a B.S. in Pharmacy and a J.D., both from St. John's University (N.Y.) and is a member of the North Carolina Bar, the New York Bar and the Ohio Bar.
"I am extremely pleased to have the opportunity to join the Board as Chairman during this exciting stage of development for Alchemia," said Sandy Costa. "This calendar year promises to be one of the most eventful in the Company's history, as it progresses the ongoing Phase III trial of HA-Irinotecan in metastatic colorectal cancer. I am hopeful that my life science industry experience presiding over large scale commercial operations will enable me to provide valuable guidance as Alchemia approaches significant near-term milestones."
Alchemia extends its appreciation to Mr. Drona as during his tenure as Chairman, the Company achieved significant progress across multiple asset classes and nearly doubled its stock price. Most notably, the Company continues to develop HA-Irinotecan in metastatic colorectal cancer and the trial remains on track to reach its primary endpoint in the first half of 2014. In August, Alchemia reported its full fiscal 2013 results, including A$9.6 million in profits from fondaparinux, the first net profits recognized for the approved generic anticoagulant. In November, the Company announced that the Data Safety Monitoring Board (DSMB) concluded a scheduled review of patient experience and safety in the Company's ongoing pivotal Phase III clinical trial of HA-Irinotecan in metastatic colorectal cancer. The trial continues to treat patients safely, thus permitting the Company to continue the trial to its completion.
About Alchemia Limited
Alchemia is a drug discovery and development company marketing FDA approved fondaparinux, an injectible antithrombotic in the US, as well as other major markets via partner Dr. Reddy's Laboratories. The Company is also developing a late stage oncology product pipeline with multiple ongoing trials through its proprietary HyACT drug delivery platform, which targets anti-cancer drugs to solid tumours. Lead asset HA-Irinotecan is in a pivotal Phase III clinical trial for the treatment of metastatic colorectal cancer. HA-Irinotecan is also in two Phase II investigator-sponsored trials, one of which is in collaboration with Merck Serono combining HA-Irinotecan with Erbitux® (cetuximab). Alchemia is also exploring additional small molecule drug discovery targets via an internal discovery platform VAST, based on the Company's deep chemistry expertise. The VAST technology is being developed in collaboration with leading academic institutions and is partnered with AstraZeneca AB.
Arixtra® is a trademark of GlaxoSmithKline plc, Erbitux® is a trademark of Merck KGaA.