* Novimmune touted as a potential IPO candidate
* Andrew J. Oakley to take up role immediately
* Spent a decade at Actelion building up company
By Caroline Copley
ZURICH, March 12 Privately-held Swiss biotech
company Novimmune, has appointed former Actelion
CFO Andrew Oakley as its new finance chief, increasing
expectations that the company will go public.
Oakley, a UK and Australian citizen who was chief financial
officer of Actelion for a decade, stepped down from the company
last August. He will take up his new role with immediate effect,
"With Novimmune's research and development efforts maturing,
our company will benefit significantly from his extensive
experience in both the biopharmaceutical industry and the global
capital markets," Chief Executive Jack Barbut said in a
statement on Wednesday.
Novimmune has six compounds in clinical development to treat
autoimmune and inflammatory diseases, including one monoclonal
antibody which it is developing in partnership with Roche
In February, an executive at BZ Bank, one of the top
investors in Novimmune, told the Swiss newspaper Finanz und
Wirtschaft that the company was considering selling its shares
on either the U.S. or Swiss market.
"They can profit from Oakley's expertise as CFO of a listed
company in readiness for a potential IPO," said Helvea analyst
Biotech stocks have enjoyed an exceptionally strong run in
the United States over the past two years, raising speculation
as to when the fever might cross the Atlantic.
Last month, Circassia, a company developing allergy
treatments based on a discovery by scientists at Imperial
College, said it aims to raise $285 million in one of Europe's