Advanced Oncotherapy PLC (LON:AVO) Q&A with CEO Nicholas Serandour (LON:AVO)

Advanced Oncotherapy plc

Advanced Oncotherapy PLC (LON:AVO) Chief Executive Officer, Nicolas Serandour, talks to DirectorsTalk to discuss the opportunities ahead, the challenges AVO has faced, what’s been done to overcome those obstacles and what the future might hold for the Company and its shareholders.


Q1: Nicolas, you became CEO in October last year; a lot has happened since then, including technical developments, an updated timetable at Harley Street and new financing. You’ve clearly been busy, yes?

A1: Yes, that’s right, although the same can be said of the whole team at Advanced Oncotherapy. We reached a number of major milestones in the development of LIGHT, gave a more detailed, and revised timetable for our flagship Harley Street centre and set up new financing facilities with Bracknor and Blackfinch; with other options, such as the Metric Capital facility, these financings give us flexibility and strength when looking to optimise our capital structure.

Advanced Oncotherapy has had challenges as well and some are not uncommon for companies of similar size and maturity. The priority for me, the Board and executive team is managing the transition from an R&D-focused company into one with a clear commercial goal. Some changes have been necessary, as has continuing to capitalise on the world-leading scientific expertise within ADAM, the CERN spin-off and AVO subsidiary.


Q2: What have you done to overcome the challenges?

A2: The first step was to focus on our priorities. It’s important for smaller companies to have a clear understanding of what really matters and to stick to that, so we’ve focused on what will advance the project as safely, efficiently and cost-effectively as possible.

As a consequence, two key areas in particular have been strengthened: personnel and regulatory engagement. For example, we’ve reorganised teams to work on a functional rather than simply a reporting basis, made a number of key hires and concentrated on accountability and KPIs.

Those hires have included experts in medical device regulation, with a view to ensuring regulatory compliance. As a result, we have had several meetings with regulatory bodies in Europe, the US and in China, which have given us confidence we are pursuing a valid path to regulatory approval.


Q3: So where does that leave AVO; how would you describe the opportunity for the Company and its ability to capitalise on it?

A3: The opportunity is, unquestionably, enormous. We are uniquely placed to upset the status quo in the global radiotherapy market, by offering a proton therapy system that is radically different to existing machines. In turn, this has major implications for potential costs/ease of installation for hospitals and clinics and for clinical benefits for patients.

Completing the first LIGHT system according to the schedule we outlined in our investor event in March this year will help us to maximise our commercial opportunities. We’re making great progress in this regard and have already reached a number of key milestones.

Terminating discussions in China was obviously disappointing, but was the right thing to do. It is a key market and one we’ll undoubtedly return to given the potential demand there and we’re making great progress in other countries. The opportunity is global.

Opportunities don’t automatically translate into commercial realities, however; the right decisions must be taken to realise potential. That’s why we have entered into partnerships with market leading companies. They bring the commercial know-how that will help us to rapidly reduce operating costs and accelerate the production ramp-up. In addition, the right people are necessary to make AVO the success it will be and I’m fortunate to work with a very talented group. Together, we execute the strategy our Board has set out.


Q4: And what next for Advanced Oncotherapy?

A4: We need to continue on the path I set when I became CEO. That means hitting the technical milestones and construction timetable at Harley Street, the site of our flagship project, strengthening our financing platform and pursuing commercial opportunities globally. We will keep the market updated with our progress and I’m convinced that by delivering on each of these steps we will deliver, to the benefit of all shareholders and to cancer sufferers here in the UK and around the world.

To make the most of this opportunity, we need to strive for excellence: “Winning requires a crystal clear vision, relentless passion and complete dedication with no excuses.”

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