Elan investor proposes Irish board candidates

ELAN Corp investor Ib Sonderby has proposed four candidates for the Irish drugmaker’s board, including Athena Neurosciences co-founder Larry Fritz.

Athena developed the multiple sclerosis drug Tysabri and was later acquired by Elan. Fritz is the founder of several biotech companies, including Athena, where, as vice-president of research, his work led to the development of what is today Elan’s core science in the areas of multiple sclerosis, Alzheimer’s disease and neuromuscular disorders, Sonderby said.

Fritz also served as president and chief executive of Anadys Pharmaceuticals, a company focused on viral diseases and oncology.

Sonderby, who has been spearheading an investor campaign to shake up the company’s board amid allegations of mismanagement and misconduct, also proposed Jens Bager, whocurrently serves as president and chief executive of Alk-Abello A/S, a Danish company that makes products to diagnose, prevent and treat allergies.

Another proposed candidate is Dr Torbjorn Bjerke, who was recently appointed chief executive of Karolinska Development, a private company that manages one of the largest portfolios of life-sciences companies in Europe. He has also served as chief executive of Orexo AB, a Swedish pharmaceuticals company, and was director of pharmacology at AstraZeneca Plc.

The final proposed candidate is Michael Heffernan, co-founder and chief executive of Collegium Pharmaceutical, a private US company, and its wholly owned subsidiary, Onset Therapeutics. Collegium is focused on the development and commercialisation of innovative pharmaceutical products for central nervous system and skin disorders through the development of drug delivery technologies.

On a conference call with investors, Sonderby said yesterday that the candidates he has identified are all independent and do not know each other. They were introduced to each other within the last week through a telephone conference call, he said.


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