Widecells Group Plc (LON:WDC) CEO João Andrade talks to DirectorsTalk about the strengthening of its management and advisory team through the appointment of three new board members, the creation of a new Scientific Advisory Committee and the appointment of specialist advisory company WG Partners LLP. João explains more about the new members and what they will bring to the team, the reasoning behind the new scientific board and WG Partners and what we should look forward to during 2018.
The company announced today a number of corporate changes that reflect the it’s transition from product development into a revenue-generative, international provider of stem cell services. The Company has today strengthened its management and advisory team through the appointment of three new board members, created a new Scientific Advisory Committee and appointed a specialist advisory company, WG Partners LLP (‘WG Partners’), as joint broker.
Mr. Alan Greenberg, previously Vice President of Wideacademy and a Group Non-Executive Director, is now a Group Executive Director, Group Chief Business Development Officer and Senior Vice-President of Wideacademy. Though predominantly continuing the growth of Wideacademy, his responsibilities include: producing and refining business development strategies; designing and implementing processes to support growth, both by working with clients and business partners; developing marketing strategies, maintaining contacts and project partners; and driving prospects through to contract award, including identifying new customers and markets and the approaches to them.
Mr. Peter Presland, Mr. Malcolm Glaister and Mr. Zakaria Aziz have joined the Board of WideCells Group, as Non-Executive Directors, with Mr. Peter Presland assuming the Chairman position. The three new directors bring a wealth of corporate experience to support WideCells Group’s targeted growth initiatives as it looks to increase its global profile and build sales across its innovative stem cell services portfolio. As part of these board changes, Dr. Graham Hine, incumbent Chairman, has retired from his board role having successfully supported the Group’s IPO in July 2016 and advanced the Company to a point of international growth and development. Dr. Graham Hine remains as a director of a subsidiary of the Group.
Mr. Peter Presland LLB, ACA, has a track record of building both large and small companies through the development of corporate strategies to create shareholder value. Over his 45-year career he has held numerous chairmanships and directorships spanning a range of sectors including pharmaceutical, healthcare and insurance. He was CFO then CEO at C E Heath PLC, a London Stock Exchange listed major international insurance group, and has held previous non-executive positions at East Kent Hospitals University Foundation NHS Trust, one of the largest Foundation Trusts in the UK, John Holman & Sons Limited, the (then) oldest independent Lloyd’s insurance broker, and Chairman at Link, the UK ATM network. He is currently Chairman of Beautiful Information Limited, which provides analytics to the NHS/health sector and R & B Underwriting, an insurance agency and a non-executive director at AIM listed Redx Pharma plc, a company pioneering transformational drug discovery and development in the areas of cancer and fibrosis. His extensive experience and network of contacts within the medical and insurance industries will support WideCells Group’s active growth strategy as it looks to build client reach and rapidly advance product roll-out internationally. Additionally, Mr Presland will assume the role of Chairman of the Group’s audit and risk committee.
Mr. Malcolm Glaister brings extensive capital markets experience having held a number of management roles across a broad spectrum of leading investment and trading businesses. In 2012 he founded Farm Street LLP, of which he is currently CEO, delivering financial advice to mainly UK entrepreneurs and businesses, covering corporate finance, treasury, debt, and asset management. He is also a Founding Partner and CEO of the Eight Great Technologies Investment Fund LP, a venture capital fund focusing on investing in emerging UK technology companies. Prior to this, Mr. Glaister was Head of Private Banking for Lloyds Bank PLC, managing the company’s wealthiest clients; responsible for European private client business in private equity, real estate and hedge funds at AIG Investments; and Head of Family Offices and a senior private banker at JP Morgan, with responsibly for the larger UK domiciled clients. His financial experience, investor knowledge and prestigious network of contacts will be invaluable to WideCells Group as the Company looks to build its investment profile. Mr Glaister will also assume the role of Chairman of the Group’s remuneration committee.
Mr. Zakaria Aziz is a successful entrepreneur with significant corporate and investment experience, primarily in South-East Asia and the Middle East where WideCells Group has recently become active following its strategic agreement with White Apex General Trading in October 2017. Having started his career in oil and gas, working with companies including Brunei Shell Petroleum and Alpha One Engineering, Mr. Aziz is currently a director of the RAY International board. With proven success in driving global business development and unrivalled operational experience and business relationships in South-East Asia and the Middle East, which represent prospective new markets for WideCells Group, Mr. Aziz will be integral in supporting the continued global growth of the Group and building its investment profile.
Scientific Advisory Committee
As part of the Group’s commitment to remaining at the fore of development within the stem cell industry, and in accordance with its aim to ensure a consistent level of operational excellence, WideCells Group has created a Scientific Advisory Committee (the ‘Committee’). The Committee will be responsible for identifying and advising the Board on new developments within the stem cell sector to ensure that the Group continues to address market demand and offer the most competitive and innovative portfolio of services.
The Committee will also help to manage all research work for the Group. This will include research linked to the Group’s educational training division, Wideacademy, as well as paid-for-research projects that are undertaken at the Group’s Institute of Stem Cell Technology in Manchester, UK.
The Committee will be chaired by Prof. Tristan Mckay. He will be supported by a team of leading medical innovators.
Prof. Tristan McKay is Professor of Stem Cell Biology and Head of Genes, Cell & Molecular Biology Group at the Biomedical Research Centre, School of Healthcare Science, Manchester Metropolitan University, UK. He leads a group of researchers investigating the signalling pathways underlying cellular reprogramming during differentiation and de-differentiation in development and disease. Prior to this he was Reader in Molecular and Cell Sciences at St. George’s University of London and Senior Lecturer at the Centre for Endocrinology, William Harvey Research Institute, Queen Mary University of London. He is a member of numerous UK and international organisations focused on stem cell research and gene therapy including the American, European and British Society for Gene and Cell Therapy, as well as the International Society for Stem Cell Research. Professor McKay has also published original research in leading publications such as Stem Cell Research, Scientific Reports, Molecular Therapy and Mol Cell Endocrinol.
Dr. Ahmed Al-Alawi has significant biotechnical and management experience having previously led a team for the development of a manufacturing process for a major product at Genzyme. He consults and advises on strategic investments, management, manufacturing and innovation and works closely with leading universities, organisations and businesses on shaping the future of healthcare and innovation globally. In 1989 he founded the Middle East Thrombosis Research Institute in the UAE, which boasts 18 research centres. During 2011 to 2013 he was a Programme Director of the HealthCare Programme at the Gulf Research Centre in Cambridge, UK. Alongside his medical achievements, Dr. Alawi has considerable cross functional experience in international Fortune 500 & FTSE companies, having previously held roles at Royal Philips Electronics and being a recipient of a scholarship from Shell International. He also has notable connections in the Middle-East having previously worked within the Omani Government and co-founded RAY International LLC, which is part of the leading RAY International Group. As well as being part of the Scientific Advisory Committee, Dr. Al-Alawi is WideCells Group Managing Director of MENA and Asia-Pacific.
Dr. Niranjan Bhattacharya is a leading Obstetrician and Gynaecologist in Kolkata, India, who has won several industry awards and was named one of the top five cord blood industry influencers by market researcher, BioInformant. He has worked in hospitals and advised on various medical and health boards for over 30 years. Through his research into various aspects of pregnancy and the developing foetus, he learnt about other uses for pregnancy specific biological substances, including the use potential of cord blood; subsequently he founded a new Department of Regenerative Medicine and Translational Science at the Kolkata school of Tropical Medicine, India (www.stmkolkata.org) in April 2012. He has written extensively on the topic of cord blood and presented at leading institutions worldwide, including Harvard, University of London, University of Glasgow, and Chinese University of Hong Kong. He is currently pioneering highly innovative research projects, such as the use of foetal cell and tissue therapy in degenerative disease; placental umbilical cord blood as an emergency substitute of adult whole blood and; the role of amniotic fluid as a burn dressing.
Dr. Richard Shaffer is a consultant in Clinical Oncology at St Luke’s Cancer Centre, Guilford, and Clinical Lead for Radiotherapy Innovation at GenesisCare UK. Prior to this he was Specialist Registrar in Clinical Oncology at Charing Cross Hospital, University College London Hospital, and Royal Free Hospital Hampstead, London, and most recently was a Clinical Fellow in Radiation Oncology at the British Columbia Cancer Agency, Vancouver. He is chair of numerous biotech and development groups spanning several medical fields including cancer, oncology and radiotherapy.
Appointment of WG Partners (www.wgpartners.co.uk)
WG Partners is a specialist boutique that supports healthcare and life science companies across the globe with corporate advisory, M&A and capital raising services. As a leading advisor in the sector, with significant institutional reach, clients of WG Partners include well-known companies in the sector such as BTG plc and Oxford Biomedica and a large number of other exciting biotech growth companies in the UK, Europe and Australia. WideCells Group is delighted to be represented by WG Partners, as it looks to build its presence amongst the institutional investment community.
WideCells Group CEO, João Andrade, said, “Having listed WideCells Group in July 2016 we have delivered on our ambition to create an end-to-end stem cell service that transforms the way the industry as a whole operates by making access to treatment affordable and unrestrained by geography. With three divisions now operational and starting to generate revenues, we are about to embark on a new period of growth and development as we look to build our operational reach on an international scale, increase our client base, and ultimately transform the value profile of our company. To achieve this, we are delighted to have completed several planned corporate changes to ensure we are best positioned for growth.
“We have welcomed three new board members, who bring a wealth of corporate knowledge and experience in the insurance, medical and financial industries, which will be invaluable to us as we target new markets and seek new commercial agreements to facilitate the roll-out of our stem cell services. To support this new Board, and in line with our commitment to maintaining operational excellence and being at the fore of our field, we have also created a new Scientific Advisory Committee, which brings together some of the best brains in stem cell technology and regenerative medicine. The committee’s unrivalled knowledge and prestigious network of contacts will I believe provide us with a number of exciting growth opportunities.
“Whilst we are delighted to welcome new team members, we are sad to say goodbye to Graham Hine, who has retired from his Board role. We are incredibly grateful for the commitment he has shown our company and wish him the best in his future endeavours.
“Finally, we are delighted to be working with WG Partners, a leading specialist player in the life sciences sector, with a proven track record of raising the institutional profile of its clients. We very much look forward to working with WG Partners, together with our new Board and Scientific Advisory Committee to maximise the future opportunities ahead.”