BOSTON, MA--(Marketwired - May 14, 2014) - Marina Biotech, Inc. (PINKSHEETS: MRNA), a leading nucleic acid-based drug discovery and development company focused on rare diseases, today provided an organizational update that include naming Daniel Geffken, M.B.A. as interim Chief Financial Officer and the engagement of Wolf & Co., P.C. as the Company's new independent auditors effective May 12, 2014. Further, Alan Dunton, M.D. has rejoined the Company as consulting Chief Medical Officer, and June Ameen, R.N., M.B.A has rejoined as consulting Senior Vice President, Program Management and Strategic Alliances. Both will assist the Company in the restart of the START-FAP (Safety and Tolerability of An RNAi Therapeutic in Familial Adenomatous Polyposis) Phase 1b/2a clinical trial as well as the development and implementation of its rare disease clinical development plan.
"We are focused on regaining SEC compliance, restarting the FAP program and executing on our rare disease clinical strategy," stated J. Michael French, President and Chief Executive Officer of Marina Biotech. "We are going to remain virtual to the extent possible in order to continue to conserve our resources and utilize out-sourced consulting and contract services in order to be responsive and flexible in the pursuit of these goals. I'm pleased to be able to bring back to the Company the expertise of Alan Dunton and June Ameen, both of whom were and will continue to be instrumental in the advancement of our FAP program. In addition, they will be assisting the Company in the development and implementation of its rare disease clinical strategy. We have also brought in Dan Geffken, Founder and Managing Partner at Danforth Advisors, as our interim Chief Financial Officer. Dan and his team will fully support our internal finance functions and spearhead our efforts to complete the audit and file SEC documents. Wolf & Co., P.C. has been engaged as our independent auditors. We expect they will initiate the audit within the week and we will file the documents necessary to regain SEC compliance by mid-summer. At the end of the summer, we anticipate holding an Annual Shareholder Meeting. We still have several tasks to complete in the coming months to be a fully reporting public company but are well on our way to accomplishing this goal. Further, we hope to report advances in the FAP program and rare disease pipeline at the Annual Shareholder Meeting."
Daniel Geffken, M.B.A. is a founder and Managing Director at Danforth Advisors. He has worked in both the life science and renewable energy industries for the past 20 years. His work has ranged from early start-ups to publicly traded companies with $1 billion+ market capitalizations. Previously, he served as COO or CFO of four publicly traded and four privately held companies. In addition, he has been involved with multiple rare disease-focused companies in areas such as Huntington's disease, amyotrophic lateral sclerosis, fragile X, hemophilia A and Gaucher's disease including the approval of enzyme replacement therapies for the treatment of Fabry disease and Hunter syndrome. Mr. Geffken has raised more than $700 million in equity and debt securities. Mr. Geffken started his career as a C.P.A. at KPMG and, later, as a principal in a private equity firm. Mr. Geffken received his M.B.A from the Harvard Business School and his B.S. from the Wharton School, University of Pennsylvania.
Alan W. Dunton, M.D. is the founder of Danerius, LLC. He has held significant senior positions in major pharmaceutical companies and has been directly responsible for, or has overseen the successful development/original/line extension approvals of Levaquin®, Regranex®, Aleve®, Procrit/EPREX®, Sporanox®, Reminyl® and Risperdal®. Most recently, he served as President and Chief Executive Officer of Panacos Pharmaceuticals, Inc. a company focused on treatment resistant HIV therapeutics. Previously, he was the President and CEO of Metaphore Pharmaceuticals, which focused on anti-inflammatory and analgesic products. Dr. Dunton was a senior executive in various capacities in the Pharmaceuticals Group of Johnson & Johnson including President and Managing Director of The Janssen Research Foundation. He also served as group vice president of global clinical research and development of Janssen as well as the R.W. Johnson Pharmaceutical Research Institute, also a Johnson & Johnson company. Dr. Dunton has also held positions in clinical research and development at Syntex Corporation, CIBA-GEIGY Corporation and Hoffmann La Roche Inc. Dr. Dunton holds a M.D. degree from New York University School of Medicine, where he completed his residency in internal medicine. He also was a Fellow in Clinical Pharmacology at the New York Hospital/Cornell University Medical Center.
Ms. Ameen has held progressively responsible positions in both public and private life sciences companies for the past 20 years. Ms. Ameen has served as Vice President, Alliance Management and then Vice President, Business Development and Alliances of Entelos, Inc., a privately held systems biology company based in Foster City, California. While there, she was responsible for expanding the business from early-adopter technology-based research partnerships to therapeutic focused co-development collaborations with major pharmaceutical and biotechnology companies. As Vice President, Business Development and Alliances, annual revenues increased from less than $3 million to over $21 million in two years. Prior to Entelos, Ms. Ameen was with PAREXEL International Corporation in several positions focused on client relations and alliance management. In her capacity as Vice President and General Manager, Ms. Ameen had operational and P&L responsibility for generating $35 million in annual revenues with Fortune 200 pharmaceutical companies. Ms. Ameen has an M.B.A. from Babson College and a B.S.N., magna cum laude, from Boston College.
Wolf & Company, P.C. is a leading regional certified public accounting and business consulting firm founded in 1911, with offices in Boston and Springfield, Massachusetts, and Albany, New York.
About Marina Biotech, Inc.
Marina Biotech is an oligonucleotide therapeutics company with broad drug discovery technologies providing the ability to develop proprietary single and double-stranded nucleic acid therapeutics including siRNAs, microRNA mimics, antagomirs, and antisense compounds, including messenger RNA therapeutics. These technologies were built via a roll-up strategy to discover and develop different types of nucleic acid therapeutics in order to modulate (up or down) a specific protein(s) which is either being produced too much or too little thereby causing a particular disease. We believe that the Marina Biotech technologies have unique strengths as a drug discovery engine for the development of nucleic acid-based therapeutics for rare and orphan diseases. Further, we believe Marina Biotech is the only company in the sector that has a delivery technology in human clinical trials with differentiated classes of payloads, through licensees ProNAi Therapeutics and Mirna Therapeutics, delivering single-stranded and double-stranded nucleic acid payloads, respectively. Our novel chemistries and other delivery technologies have been validated through license agreements with Roche, Novartis, Monsanto, and Tekmira. The Marina Biotech pipeline currently includes a clinical program in Familial Adenomatous Polyposis (a precancerous syndrome) and a preclinical program in myotonic dystrophy. Marina Biotech's goal is to improve human health through the development of RNAi- and oligonucleotide-based compounds and drug delivery technologies that together provide superior therapeutic options for patients. Additional information about Marina Biotech is available at www.marinabio.com.
Marina Biotech Forward-Looking Statements
Statements made in this news release may be forward-looking statements within the meaning of Federal Securities laws that are subject to certain risks and uncertainties and involve factors that may cause actual results to differ materially from those projected or suggested. Factors that could cause actual results to differ materially from those in forward-looking statements include, but are not limited to: (i) the ability of Marina Biotech to obtain additional funding; (ii) the ability of Marina Biotech to attract and/or maintain manufacturing, research, development and commercialization partners; (iii) the ability of Marina Biotech and/or a partner to successfully complete product research and development, including preclinical and clinical studies and commercialization; (iv) the ability of Marina Biotech and/or a partner to obtain required governmental approvals; and (v) the ability of Marina Biotech and/or a partner to develop and commercialize products prior to, and that can compete favorably with those of, competitors. Additional factors that could cause actual results to differ materially from those projected or suggested in any forward-looking statements are contained in Marina Biotech's most recent filings with the Securities and Exchange Commission. Marina Biotech assumes no obligation to update or supplement forward-looking statements because of subsequent events.