Sernova Announces Executive Alignment and Appoints New Board Chair
LONDON, Ontario, May 31, 2023 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) -- Sernova Corp. (TSX: SVA) (OTCQB: SEOVF) (FSE/XETRA: PSH), a clinical-stage company and leader in cell therapeutics, today announced the outcomes from a strategic and executive leadership review conducted by its Board of Directors (the “Board”).
Following the recent 2023 Annual General Meeting of Shareholders (the “AGM”), the Sernova Board welcomed Mr. Brett Whalen, Dr. Steven Sangha and Mr. Bertram von Plettenberg as newly elected Directors. The newly constituted Board has appointed Mr. Brett Whalen as its new Chair, Mr. Bertram von Plettenberg to serve on its Audit and Compensation Committees, and Dr. Steven Sangha to serve on its Nomination and Corporate Governance Committee. In addition, the new Board has determined that it is in the best interest of the Company that Dr. Philip Toleikis remain as President and Chief Executive Officer and continue leading the Company’s Management Team and executing Sernova’s vision.
“As newly appointed Chair, I would like to welcome Dr. Sangha and Mr. von Plettenberg,” said Mr. Whalen. “As a long-standing shareholder and newly elected Board member, I am excited to take on the role as Chair. I look forward to helping guide the company through its next critical phase of development.”
Sernova’s new Board and Management Team are fully aligned to position the Company in the biotech sector as a leading player developing cell-based ‘functional cures’ for type one diabetes (“T1D”), hypothyroid disease and rare diseases, such as hemophilia A, and are committed to unlocking the value inside of Sernova by ensuring the market recognizes the full potential of the Company and its extendible cell therapy platform and technologies.
The Board recognizes the contributions of the Concerned Shareholders Group that engaged in the democratic process for the recent AGM, and therefore the Company intends, as an act of good faith, and in the interest of fully aligning Sernova shareholders with Management and the Board, to reimburse the Concerned Shareholders Group for their reasonable AGM related expenses. In addition, the Company has re-priced the recently issued options granted to the Board members to $1.20 per share from $0.84, reflecting the unanimous belief from the Board that the market is undervaluing the Company at this time. In a statement from the Concerned Shareholders Group, “The newly constituted Board seems aligned with shareholder interests as evidenced by the above actions. We are pleased to note a change in tone and energy resulting from the new Board composition. We are confident they will bring about the necessary changes to unlock value for the short, medium, and longer-term horizons.”
Dr. Toleikis added, “The most promising days for Sernova from a program and business development perspective are ahead. We look forward to sharing the updated results from our ongoing T1D Phase 1/2 trial with our Cell Pouch System™ at the upcoming American Diabetes Association 83rd Scientific Sessions meeting on June 24th and advancing our second patient cohort towards full enrolment followed by anticipated initial interim results by the end of 2023. Furthermore, we are thrilled to be advancing on schedule the first human clinical studies with iPSC-based insulin-producing islet-like clusters in 2024 under our partnership with Evotec SE that is catching the eye of the investment and pharmaceutical business communities.”
Lastly, Sernova Directors Ms. Deborah Brown and Dr. Mohammad Azab have retired from the Company’s Board, effective May 30th. “The Board and Management wish to recognize and thank Ms. Brown and Dr. Azab for their years of service and contributions in providing guidance to the Company, particularly relating to corporate governance and clinical development, respectively, during their tenure,” said Mr. Whalen.
ABOUT SERNOVA CORP. AND THE CELL POUCH SYSTEM PLATFORM FOR CELL THERAPY
Sernova Corp. is a clinical-stage biotechnology company that is developing therapeutic cell technologies for chronic diseases, including insulin-dependent diabetes, thyroid disease, and blood disorders that include hemophilia A. Sernova is currently focused on developing a ‘functional cure’ for insulin-dependent diabetes with its lead asset, the Cell Pouch System, a novel implantable and scalable medical device with immune protected therapeutic cells. On implantation, The Cell Pouch forms a natural vascularized tissue environment in the body for long-term survival and function of therapeutic cells that release essential factors that are absent or deficient in the bodies of patients with certain chronic diseases. Sernova’s Cell Pouch System has demonstrated its potential to be a ‘functional cure’ for people with T1D in an ongoing Phase 1/2 clinical study at the University of Chicago. Sernova is also advancing a proprietary technology in collaboration with the University of Miami to shield therapeutic cells from immune system attack with the goal to eliminate the need for chronic, systemic immunosuppression. In May 2022, Sernova and Evotec entered into a global strategic partnership to develop an implantable off-the-shelf iPSC (induced pluripotent stem cells) based islet replacement therapy. This partnership provides Sernova a potentially unlimited supply of insulin-producing cells to treat millions of patients with insulin-dependent diabetes (type 1 and type 2). Sernova continues to progress two additional development programs that utilize its Cell Pouch System: a cell therapy for hypothyroid disease resulting from thyroid gland removal and an ex vivo lentiviral factor VIII gene therapy for hemophilia A.
FOR FURTHER INFORMATION, PLEASE CONTACT:
|Christopher Barnes |
VP, Investor Relations
|Corey Davis, Ph.D. |
LifeSci Advisors, LLC
This release contains statements that, to the extent they are not recitations of historical facts, may constitute “forward-looking statements” that involve various risks, uncertainties, and assumptions, including, without limitation, statements regarding the prospects, plans, and objectives of the company. Wherever possible, but not always, words such as "expects", "plans", "anticipates", "believes", "intends", "estimates", "projects", "potential for" and similar expressions, or that events or conditions "will", "would", "may", "could" or "should" occur are used to identify forward-looking statements. These statements reflect management’s beliefs with respect to future events and are based on information currently available to management on the date such statements were made. Many factors could cause Sernova’s actual results, performances, or achievements to not be as anticipated, estimated or intended or to differ materially from those expressed or implied by the forward-looking statements contained in this news release. Such factors could include, but are not limited to, the company’s ability to secure additional financing and licensing arrangements on reasonable terms, or at all; ability to conduct all required preclinical and clinical studies for the company’s Cell Pouch System and or related technologies, including the timing and results of those trials; ability to obtain all necessary regulatory approvals, or on a timely basis; ability to in-license additional complementary technologies; ability to execute its business strategy and successfully compete in the market; and the inherent risks associated with the development of biotechnology combination products generally. Many of the factors are beyond our control, including those caused by, related to, or impacted by the novel coronavirus pandemic. Investors should consult the company’s quarterly and annual filings available on www.sedar.com for additional information on risks and uncertainties relating to the forward-looking statements. Sernova expressly disclaims any intention or obligation to update or revise any forward-looking statements, whether as a result of new information, future events or otherwise.
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