Allen appointed to spearhead Proximagen's licensing drive

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The Independent Online

Peter Allen will be named as the new non-executive chairman of Proximagen Neuroscience this morning in a move that the group hopes will spearhead its consolidation of parts of the biotech industry.

Mr Allen has been appointed to the boards of several companies in the biotech industry in recent years. He is currently the non-executive chairman of the London-listed ProStrakan and the private group, Chroma.

Mr Allen has also helped to manage the sale of two other biotech groups. He is the finance director of Abacus, which was sold to Avent of the US last month and was a non-executive director of Acambis for a brief period last year, before it was sold to the pharmaceutical giant Sanofi-Aventis.

It is this experience that Proximagen will be hoping to tap as it seeks new merger, acquisition and licensing deals of its own. "I am delighted that Peter has chosen to join our board," Proximagen's chief executive Ken Mulvany. "He brings considerable relevant experience to Proximagen, particularly from within the biopharma and merger and acquisitions arena."

Proximagen, which specialises in finding treatments for neurodegenerative diseases such as Parkinson's and Alzheimer's, has previously stated that it is actively trying to find acquisition targets. Mr Mulvany said in August, at the time of the group's interim results, that Proximagen "is well positioned to continue investment in our pipeline and exploit commercial opportunities as they arise".

Proximagen has seen its share price rise by nearly 40 per cent over the past 12 months and was picked as a stock tip at the start of 2008 by The Independent.

The group benefited last year by signing several agreements with other companies that it hopes will lead to substantial several milestone payments. In July, the group struck a $232m (£160m) licensing deal with Upsher-Smith, and, earlier in the year, the company penned a partnership agreement with Boehringer Ingelheim.

"Proximagen is operating in a very exciting scientific area and the company is well positioned in terms of the collaborations it has already signed and its financial standing," said Mr Allen.