Bristol vaccine firm appoints experienced biotech chairman - Business Leader News

Bristol vaccine firm appoints experienced biotech chairman

Damian Marron

Bristol-based vaccine start-up Imophoron today announces the appointment of serial biotech entrepreneur and director Damian Marron as their Chairman, to support the development of the company’s groundbreaking vaccine platform and preclinical COVID-19 candidates.

An experienced life science executive, Marron’s achievements include multiple company exits, partnerships and fundraising, including deals with top-tier pharmaceutical companies.

“Imophoron’s technology is incredibly promising and highly relevant to the ongoing COVID-19 crisis. I have been following their progress closely, and I believe they are a company with the potential to make a difference, not just during this pandemic but in the case of any future outbreaks of infectious diseases.”, Marron said. “I am looking forward to getting started with the team.”

Marron has held CEO positions at four biotech and immunotherapy companies. He now holds the Chairman position at Targovax, a clinical-stage immuno-oncology company and non-executive Director positions at Bone Therapeutics and Resolys Bio, both developing clinical-stage therapeutics.

Some of Marron’s achievements include:

  • 2002-2008 – While Executive vice president at NicOx, set up major collaborations with Merck and Pfizer, and played a crucial role in €175m of funding rounds.
  • 2008-2012 – Led Trophos through its successful clinical programmes in Spinal Muscular Atrophy, leading to the acquisition of the company by Roche.
  • 2014 – led a successful IPO for TxCell, a T-Cell immunotherapy company.
  • 2017 – while CEO at Agalimmune Ltd, he negotiated the company’s sale to BioLine Rx, as Nasdaq-listed biopharmaceutical firm.

Frederic Garzoni, CEO and Co-founder at Imophoron, said: “Damian’s experience and industry knowledge will be a major advantage to Imophoron as we push ahead with preclinical trials of our COVID-19 candidates. We need to strike partnerships with major organisations with the resources to take our vaccine candidates to clinical trials and onto manufacturing, and I believe Damian is the right person to help us get this done. I am delighted to welcome him to our Board of Directors and look forward to working with him.”

Imophoron are currently undertaking preclinical trials in COVID-19 using several vaccine candidates developed in Bristol.

The company’s novel platform has potential advantages over existing vaccine technology, including thermostability and a reduced risk of antibody-dependant enhancement (ADE), due to its high selectivity.

Based at the Unit DX Incubator in Bristol, UK, Imophoron are working with the University of Bristol’s UNCOVER programme to undertake preclinical testing.