Verona Pharma plc has announced the appointment of Dr Sven Jan-Anders Karlsson (aged 57) as Chief Executive Officer with effect from 1 June 2012.
Dr Karlsson has broad pharmaceutical and biotechnology R&D and corporate experience. He was formerly the CEO at S*BIO, a Singapore and US based biotechnology company focused on the discovery and development of novel small molecule anti-cancer drugs.
Before S*BIO, Dr Karlsson was Executive Vice President of Pharma Global Research at Bayer Healthcare after holding senior leadership positions at Rhone-Poulenc Rorer (now Sanofi) and Astra (now AstraZeneca).
The current CEO, Michael Walker, was one of the co-founders of Verona Pharma. Under his leadership the Company acquired and rapidly progressed two novel drug candidates through five successful Phase II clinical trials.
Michael will work closely with Jan-Anders to ensure a successful handover of the CEO position and will continue to serve the Company as a Senior Scientific Advisor to the Board.
Professor Clive Page, Chairman of Verona Pharma, said: “Michael and I have worked together on various projects for many years including the founding of Verona Pharma. Michael has brought considerable scientific and commercial experience to the Company and we are delighted that he will continue to contribute as a scientific advisor following the appointment of Dr Karlsson.”
“We have taken time to identify and recruit the right person to take over from Michael after he had notified the Board of his intention to step down. We believe Jan-Anders’ experience in the pharmaceutical and biotechnology sector will be invaluable to Verona Pharma as we move our clinical programs forward, and continue to grow and expand the Company. We very much look forward to working with him.”
Dr Karlsson said: “Verona Pharma is developing drugs for patients with respiratory diseases where the medicines are either inadequate or failing to meet patients’ needs. The Company has innovative products that have the potential to be first-in-class and I look forward to working with the team and contributing to the future successes of Verona Pharma.”