Appointment of Dr Eliot Forster as Non-Executive Chairman

Avacta Group plc (AIM: AVCT), the developer of Affimer® biotherapeutics and reagents, is pleased to announce the appointment of Dr Eliot Forster as Non-Executive Chairman to the Board with immediate effect.  Dr Trevor Nichols, who has acted as Chairman of the Board since January 2014, will remain on the Board as a Non-Executive Director.

Dr Forster brings over 25 years of experience in the pharmaceutical and biotechnology industry, most recently leading Immunocore as Chief Executive Officer to become a world-leading immuno-oncology biotech, raising over £230 million in equity and non-dilutive funding as well as securing partnerships with AstraZeneca and the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation.

The early part of Dr Forster’s career was at GSK and then he went on to hold a number of senior roles in Pfizer where he became Head of Development and Operations for the EU and Asia, a role in which he was responsible for drug development activities across multiple geographies and was involved in bringing several drugs to market, including Celebrex® (celecoxib) and Relpax® (eletriptan).  Since leaving Pfizer, Dr Forster’s roles have included the Chief Executive Officer of UK-based Creabilis.

Dr Forster holds a PhD in neurophysiology from Liverpool University and an MBA from Henley Management College.  He is Chairman of the MedCity project that promotes the Life Sciences in the London/Cambridge/Oxford “Golden Triangle”. He is an Honorary Visiting Professor of the Pharmacology and Physiology Department at the University of Liverpool, a Board member of OSCHR (Office for Strategic Coordination of Health Research) and the National Genomics Board.

Dr Alastair Smith, Chief Executive Officer of Avacta Group, commented: “I am absolutely delighted that Dr Forster is joining Avacta.  We have an exciting opportunity to build a world-leading and highly valuable biotech based on the Affimer platform.  Eliot’s considerable experience, expertise and network will make a material difference to achieving that goal and to delivering maximum value to shareholders. I would like to thank Dr Nichols for his hard work and support as Chairman over the past few years. We are very pleased that he will remain on the Board as Non-Executive Director. I look forward to updating the market on Avacta’s progress as the Group advances its proprietary pipeline of Affimer therapeutics towards the clinic and builds a business based on Affimer reagents for research and diagnostics.”

Dr Eliot Forster, Chairman of Avacta Group, commented: “I am very much looking forward to serving Avacta Group alongside the Board of Directors.   I am confident that Avacta’s Affimer technology will be both disruptive and transformational in the biotech field.  It is a privilege to begin working with Alastair and the team as the Company enters an exciting new phase in its growth, advancing therapeutics to the clinic and further building the reagents business.”