15.05.2012 - F-Star's management has been lifted and replaced by a troika of new leaders.
Cambridge - A press note issued by Austrian-British F-Star GmbH on 14 May names the new personnel. Following Keith Fitz-Gerald as CEO is John Haurum who had been CSO of the Danish biotechnology company Symphogen A/S. Also quickly appointed: Jane Dancer and Sharon Grimster. Dancer was previously employed at Cellzome Ltd. At F-Star she becomes Chief Operating Officer (COO). Grimster, formerly employed at Antisoma plc, has been appointed Vice President of Development.
Clearing the management board so vigorously is indeed a surprise, even with the knowledge that the company - a leader in the development of bispecific antibodies - has had a hard time after moving all research operations from Vienna to Cambridge leaving the parent company in Austria. The Supervisory Board did not forget to mention Kevin FitzGerald and thanked him for "his significant contribution in bringing F-star to its current stage of development". He started as the company's CEO in May 2009. Within this three years, the start-up saved €23m using venture financing. He also arranged major alliances with Boehringer Ingelheim and Merck Serono.
With its proprietary technology, F-star produces antibody fragments called Fcabs, which have full antibody capabilities but are believed to have a better biological profile because of their small size. Additionally Fcabs may offer IP advantages in many cases by lacking variable regions, which may be claimed by third party antibody patents. This seems to attract pharma companies. In November 2010, F-star allied with Germany's Boehringer Ingelheim and in September 2011 with Merck Serono.