Senzer Pharmaceuticals appoints Chairman and two new NEDs

Written by: Nola Cadman
Published on: 15 Jul 2020

Senzer, a respiratory pharmaceutical company, has expanded its Board with four new non-executive directors, appointed a new CEO and reshaped its executive team under changes aimed at bolstering its commercialisation strategy for COVID-19 and cannabinoid treatments.

Senzer’s new chairman, Barbara Staehelin, is a serial entrepreneur who has founded four life science companies, and has had an executive role with Roche Diagnostics. She will be joined on the board by two other non-executive directors. Tim Corn is CMO at Izana Bioscience, and has wide-ranging pharmaceutical and regulatory experience. Andy Weymann served as CMO to Smith and Nephew, and will provide focus on commercialisation and clinical strategy.

Former CEO Alex Hearn, the founder and inventor of the unique inhalation platform at the heart of the Company, will remain actively involved in the business as Deputy Chairman and will continue to assist the Company on scientific and technical strategy. Adam Kelliher, who has been involved with Senzer for more than two years as Chairman and Executive Chairman, has strong commercialisation expertise and becomes CEO.

In three other moves on the executive team Matt McKevitt, a qualified doctor who has been with Senzer for four years, has been promoted to COO. Dr Andrew Saich, who was previously International Medical Director at GW Pharmaceuticals, will become CMO. Wendy Lloyd-Goodwin, who previously was head of legal and compliance at Bristol Myers Squibb (UK.EIR) will be Senzer’s General Counsel. They will join the executive team with Chief Financial Officer (CFO) Nick Robbins-Cherry, who has more than 25 years’ experience in US and UK public markets. Mssrs Kelliher, Robbins-Cherry and McKevitt will be executive members of the new board, along with the four non-executives.

Commenting on today’s announcement, Adam Kelliher, CEO, said.

“We now have in place a highly experienced executive team and a very focused Board. These appointments are crucial as our unique respiratory offerings will soon be ready for patients and users,  We all owe so much to Alex Hearn, under whose leadership Senzer has developed a remarkable product pipeline that enables us to now take the company into a commercial execution phase.”

Senzer is actively formulating treatments for COVID-19 using approved anti-viral pharmaceuticals that may be appropriate for targeted, topical application direct to the lungs. Senzer’s core technology is a unique breath-activated inhaler which it has developed for delivering pharmaceutical cannabinoids, with the US approval pathway aimed at resolving its effectiveness for side effects linked to cancer treatment. The device will soon be offered in the UK as a special unlicensed medicine and it is to be supplied to the Twenty21 registry trial, a project that aims to get 20,000 patients taking cannabinoid therapy. The Company is also developing a health and wellbeing presentation that will allow consumers to easily inhale CBD derived from hemp.

Senzer’s core technology is a unique breath-activated inhaler that allows efficient low dose inhalation therapies with targeted delivery directly to the respiratory tract.

Senzer Pharmacueticals and Critical Care divisions develop combination medicinal products using the company’s proprietary inhaler technology. Senzer Pharma is developing a range of inhaled pharmaceutical cannabinoids with targeted clinical indications in oncology, psychiatry and addiction and in addition will engage in the UK’s Twenty21 cannabinoid clinical registry project.

Senzer Critical Care is developing inhaled medicines using approved anti-viral  pharmaceuticals for clinical trial use in COVID-19 and other respiratory viral infections

The Senzer Consumer division is focused on the commercialisation of a health and wellbeing presentation using Senzer’s core technology that will allow consumers to inhale botanical CBD derived from hemp without a potentially harmful heating step.

Mr Kelliher has served as Senzer’s Chairman since October 2017, more recently as an Executive Chairman, and so is fully across all strategic aspects of Senzer’s operation. An entrepreneur with more than 20 years’ experience in the life sciences sector, he has been CEO of three companies, two of which he took from foundation through to successful exit. He pioneered the use of the omega-3 space through his nutraceutical company, Equazen Limited, which was sold in 2007 to Swiss pharmaceutical company Galenica. His second company, Equateq Ltd, developed a unique means of pharmaceutical lipid manufacturing, and was sold in 2012 to BASF, the world’s largest chemical company. More recently, he served as CEO of Avita Medical (NASDAQ ticker RCEL) and oversaw the evolution of the regenerative medicine company from its home market in Australia towards US market entry.

Barbara Staehelin is a serial entrepreneur and professional board member. She has founded four companies in the life science sector, was member of the Global Executive Committee of Roche Diagnostics and currently serves as the head of the Audit and Risk Committee of Swiss health insurer, Assura. Her education includes a M.Sc. in biochemistry from ETH Zurich, an MBA from Insead Fontainebleau and several years of management consulting with McKinsey.

Tim Corn is currently CMO at Izana Bioscience and current board director at Reneuron plc. Tim Corn was formally CMO at EUSA Pharma Inc, until its acquisition by Jazz in 2012. He has held senior clinical and regulatory positions at GlaxoWellcome, MSD Research Laboratories, Athena Neuroscience and Elan, as well as in the UK regulatory agency. Tim qualified in medicine at King's College Hospital, London after gaining a Master’s degree in biochemistry from Imperial College.

Andy Weymann is the former CMO of FTSE 100 company Smith & Nephew PLC, overseeing all clinical trials, commercial partnerships and part of their global executive leadership for eight years. He is a professional board member and life sciences entrepreneur, having co-founded two companies in the life science sector. Prior to joining Smith & Nephew in 2006, he trained and worked as an Orthopedic Surgeon. Andy is currently advising companies and institutions on COVID-19 responses.