Sunday 25 September 2016

Sudocrem man Stafford is on board for Amryt deal

Published 03/04/2016 | 02:30

Amryt chairman Harry Stratford
Amryt chairman Harry Stratford

Ray Stafford, the man behind the Sudocrem brand, has joined the proposed board of Amryt Pharmaceuticals, which is poised to complete a reverse takeover of Irish-listed Fastnet Equity.

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The deal, reported by the Sunday Independent earlier this year, will create a new drugs company focusing on treatments for rare (or 'orphan') diseases.

It will aim to develop its lead product - which has been approved as a treatment for certain types of skin wounds by the European regulator - as a treatment for epidermolysis bullosa (EB), a genetic skin disease that causes painful blisters to form at the slightest friction.

The disease was the subject of a well-known Channel 4 documentary entitled The Boy Whose Skin Fell Off.

Stafford was chairman, chief executive and majority shareholder of the Tosara Group, which owned, manufactured and marketed Sudocrem.

Tosara was later sold to the American company Forest Laboratories, where he became executive vice president for global marketing. He will be a non-executive director of Amryt.

Also joining the company is Michele Bellandi, who will be Amryt's chief commercial officer. He is a former Head of Commercial for Europe at Shire, the company whose founder Harry Stratford will be Amryt's chairman.

Joe Wiley, who previously led the European office of life sciences venture capital firm Soffinova Ventures, will be the chief executive.

Rory Nealon, a former chief financial officer of Trinity Biotech, will be Amryt's chief financial and operating officer. He told the Sunday Independent that the company was "focused on building a pipeline of commercially attractive products in the orphan disease space."

He added: "For a company of our size, I would suggest we've a very strong non-executive board, and management team."

The reverse takeover deal will see Fastnet buy Amryt for £29.6m, with the consideration to be paid in shares, allowing Amryt to take control and gain access to public markets without the expensive IPO process. The deal is believed to have been brokered in part by Dublin-based Raglan Capital.

If the reverse takeover goes ahead, Amryt will then seek to raise £10m to accelerate its plan for the EB treatment, which comes to the company as the result of its proposed acquisition of German company Birken. That deal will complete when the reverse takeover process concludes.

Amryt is also working on developing products for treating other rare diseases.

Sunday Indo Business

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