RNS Number : 6697Z
Roquefort Therapeutics PLC
16 September 2022

16 September 2022


Roquefort Therapeutics plc

("Roquefort Therapeutics" or the "Company")


Board and Management Appointments


Roquefort Therapeutics (LSE:ROQ,OTCQB:ROQAF), the Main Market listed biotech company focused on developing first in class drugs in the high value and high growth oncology segment, is pleased to announce that further to the completion of its acquisition of the entire issued share capital of Oncogeni Limited ("Oncogeni") as announced earlier today the following board appointments:


·    Trevor Ajanthan (Ajan) Reginald as Executive Director and Chief Executive Officer;

·    Professor Sir Martin Evans as Executive Director and Group Chief Scientific Officer; and

·    Dr Darrin Disley as Non-Executive Director.


In addition, Roquefort Therapeutics is pleased to announce the appointment of Professor Armand Keating FRCPC, MD as an independent Chief Medical Advisor (as a non-board position).


Further, as previously announced, Mark Freeman has today resigned as a Non-Executive director of the Company.


Commenting on the appointments, Stephen West, Executive Chairman, said:

"I would like to welcome Ajan Reginald, Professor Sir Martin Evans and Dr Darrin Disley to the Board of Roquefort Therapeutics, and Professor Armand Keating as our new Chief Medical Officer. We are building a world class team with a proven track record in drug development who will help drive innovation and ultimately value in our exciting portfolio of oncology drugs. Sir Martin Evans is a pioneer in stem cells and DNA research and his experience will be incredibly valuable as Group Chief Scientific Officer throughout our preclinical studies. Ajan Reginald's experience in commercialisation both within big pharma and in biotech will be invaluable as CEO as we look to achieve value in this high growth segment of life sciences.  Dr Darrin Disley is a great addition as Non-Executive Director, and his expertise in fundraising and value creation is incredibly complementary to our existing Board of Directors. Professor Keating is a renowned expert in anti-cancer cell therapy, a key area of Roquefort Therapeutics' research and is a welcome addition as Chief Medical Officer.  Finally, I would like to thank Mark Freeman for his valuable contribution since joining the Board of the Company in October 2021, and we wish Mark all the best with his other endeavours."


Commenting on his appointment, Roquefort Therapeutics CEO Ajan Reginald said: "I am very excited to be appointed as CEO of Roquefort Therapeutics. The acquisition of Oncogeni by Roquefort Therapeutics creates a material cancer biotech company with a portfolio of four innovative pre-clinical programs, which provides stakeholders with great upside potential. We believe we can realise value for shareholders in a number of ways, including our internal drug development, licensing deals or via an outright sale of the clinical program.  I look forward to working with the combined Oncogeni and Roquefort Therapeutics teams to progress these programs over the coming months."




Ajan Reginald, Chief Executive Officer

Ajan is an experienced biotechnology CEO with a track record in drug development, biotech transactions and commercialisation. Over 20 years, he has served as the Global Head of Emerging Technologies for Roche Group (SWX: ROG), Chief Operating Officer and Chief Technology Officer of Novacyt S.A (LON: NCYT) and CEO of Celixir Ltd.


With Prof. Sir Martin Evans, Ajan founded Celixir PLC, and developed a novel cardiac cellular medicine which completed pre-clinical development and won FDA, MHRA and EU regulatory trial approvals. Celixir completed a licensing deal for its lead program in the Japanese market with Daiichi Sankyo, a Japanese pharmaceutical company which included a £12.5M upfront payment and a £5M equity investment which valued Celixir at ~£220 million.   


Ajan is a graduate of the University of Oxford (MSc Experimental Therapeutics), Kellogg Business School (MBA) Northwestern University and University of London (BDS). He is also a recipient of the Fulbright Scholarship and an alumni of Harvard Business School (AMP), and has represented England at the Hockey Masters World Cup and European Championships.


The following information is disclosed in relation to Trevor Ajanthan (Ajan) Reginald, aged 50:

 Current directorships and/or partnerships:

Former directorships and/or partnerships (within the last five years):

Celixir Limited

Celixir Innovations Limited

Oncogeni Ltd

Orthogeni Ltd

Desktop Genetics Ltd

SIRNA Limited

Cell Therapy Limited


Cell Therapy Tendoncel Limited

Cell Therapy Diabetes Limited

Cell Therapy Skincel Limited

Heartcel CABG Limited

Innately Limited

Kardiacare Limited

Lifescitech Limited

Myocardion Ltd

Cell Therapy Oncology Limited

Bioreactor Corporation Limited


Professor Sir Martin Evans, Nobel Laureate, Group Chief Scientific Officer

Sir Martin was the first scientist to identify embryonic stem cells, which can be adapted for a wide variety of medical purposes. His discoveries are now being applied in virtually all areas of biomedicine - from basic research to the development of new therapies. In 2007, he was awarded the Nobel Prize for Medicine, the most prestigious honour in world science, for these "ground-breaking discoveries concerning embryonic stem cells and DNA recombination in mammals."


Sir Martin has published more than 120 scientific papers. He was elected a Fellow of the Royal Society in 1993 and is a founder Fellow of the Academy of Medical Sciences. He was awarded the Walter Cottman Fellowship and the William Bate Hardy Prizes in 2003 and in 2001 was awarded the Albert Lasker Medal for Basic Medical Research in the US. In 2002 he was awarded an honorary doctorate from Mount Sinai School of Medicine in New York, regarded as one of the world's foremost centres for medical and scientific training. He has also received honorary doctorate awards from the University of Bath, University of Buckinghamshire, University College London, University of Wales and the University of Athens. Sir Martin gained his BA in Biochemistry from Christ College, University of Cambridge in 1963. He received an MA in 1966 and a DSc in 1966. In 1969 he was awarded a PhD from University College, London. He joined the Cardiff University School of Biosciences in 1999. He was knighted in 2004 for his services to medical science and in 2009 was awarded the Gold Medal of the Royal Society of Medicine in recognition of his valuable contribution to medicine. In 2009 he also received the Baly Medal from the Royal College of Physicians and the Copley Medal, the Royal Society's oldest award, joining an eminent list of previous recipients including Albert Einstein.


The following information is disclosed in relation to Professor Sir Martin Evans, aged 81:

 Current directorships and/or partnerships:

Former directorships and/or partnerships (within the last five years):

Celixir Limited

Oncogeni Ltd

Sun Force Ltd

Cell Therapy Limited


Moyclare Limited


Dr Darrin M Disley, Non-Executive Director

Darrin is a renowned scientist, entrepreneur, angel investor and enterprise champion who has started, grown, or invested in over 40 start-up life science, technology and social enterprises, raising US$600 million in business financing and closing US$700 million in commercial deals. He was CEO of Horizon Discovery Group plc for 11 years, during which he led the company from start-up through a US$113 million IPO, and rapid scale-up powered by multiple acquisitions of US peer companies to become a global market leader in gene editing and gene modulation technologies. He was awarded a lifetime Queen's Award for Enterprise Promotion in 2016 for his work in promoting enterprise across the UK and appointed OBE in 2018 for his services to business and enterprise in the healthcare sector.


The following information is disclosed in relation to Dr Darrin Disley, aged 55:

 Current directorships and/or partnerships:

Former directorships and/or partnerships (within the last five years):

Mogrify Limited

Celixir Limited

Oncogeni Ltd

Odyssey Technical Consulting Services Limited

Horizon Discovery Group Limited

Horizon Discovery Limited

Horizon Discovery Biosciences Limited

Horizon Diagnostics Limited

Avvinity Therapeutics Limited

Bioindustry Association

Synthetx Limited

Geospock Limited

Cambridge Science Centre

Dharmacon Inc


Sage Labs Inc



Professor Armand Keating FRCPC, MD, Independent Chief Medical Advisor

Armand is an internationally recognised leader in blood and marrow transplantation and cell therapy. He is a Professor of Medicine and of Biomedical Engineering at the University of Toronto. He is a past President of the American Society of Hematology and a past President of the American Society for Blood and Marrow Transplantation. He has served in a number of advisory roles at the US National Institutes of Health and more recently for the New Organ Alliance and NASA. He held the position of Chief, Medical Services at Princess Margaret Hospital for a decade and was the Division Director of Hematology at the University of Toronto. His research and clinical interests focus on cell-based tissue regeneration, anti-cancer cell therapy, and blood and marrow transplantation. He has conducted laboratory, translational and clinical research in these areas, particularly on the biology and clinical application of mesenchymal stromal cells and NK cells.


This announcement contains inside information for the purposes of Article 7 of the UK version of Regulation (EU) No 596/2014 which is part of UK law by virtue of the European Union (Withdrawal) Act 2018, as amended ("MAR"). Upon the publication of this announcement via a Regulatory Information Service, this inside information is now considered to be in the public domain.





Roquefort Therapeutics plc

Stephen West (Chairman) / Ajan Reginald (CEO)

+44 (0)20 3290 9339


Hybridan LLP (Joint Broker)

Claire Louise Noyce


Optiva Securities Limited (Joint Broker)


+44 (0)203 764 2341

Christian Dennis


Buchanan (Public Relations)

Ben Romney / Jamie Hooper / George Beale


+44 (0)20 3411 1881



+44 (0)20 7466 5000




LEI: ‎254900P4SISIWOR9RH34


About Roquefort Therapeutics

Roquefort Therapeutics (LSE:ROQ, OTCQB:ROQAF) is a Main Market listed biotech company developing first in class drugs in the high value and high growth oncology segment prior to partnering or selling to big pharma.


Since listing in March 2021, Roquefort Therapeutics has successfully acquired Lyramid Pty Limited, a leader in the development of medicines for a new therapeutic target, Midkine (a human growth factor associated with cancer progression), and most recently acquired Oncogeni Ltd, founded by Nobel Laureate Professor Sir Martin Evans, which has developed two families of innovative cell and RNA oncology medicines.


Roquefort Therapeutics' portfolio consists of four fully funded, novel patent-protected pre-clinical anti-cancer medicines.  The highly complementary profile of four best-in-class medicines consists of:

·    Midkine antibodies with significant in vivo efficacy and toxicology studies;

·    Midkine RNA therapeutics with novel anti-cancer gene editing action;

·    MK cell therapy with direct and NK-mediated anti-cancer action; and

·    siRNA targeting novel STAT-6 target in solid tumours showing significant in vivo efficacy.


For further information on Roquefort Therapeutics, please visit www.roquefortplc.com and @RoquefortTherap on Twitter.


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