Norwegian biopharmaceutical firm Nordic Nanovector has revealed that its Chief Executive Officer Luigi Costa is set to step down from his role at the company, with the decision made with mutual agreement from its Board of Directors. Costa has pledged to remain available to the board until the end of July this year, while the company seeks a replacement.
The news coincided with announcements made by the company the same day which indicated that it would be indefinitely postponing human trials of its novel 177Lu-conjugated chimeric anti-CD37 antibody Humalutin in patients with non-Hodgkin’s Lymphoma. This is due to the firm’s revamping of its timelines for the PARADIGME study exploring the efficacy of Betalutin in third-line follicular lymphoma, with results now expected in the first half of 2020, as opposed to the original target of the second half of 2019. The decision was made, according to the company’s Dr Lisa Rojkjaer, because of the “re-analysis of the patient enrolment rate and the fact that it has taken longer than expected to enrol the first patient”.
In light of the news of Costa’s departure, Chairman Ludvik Sandnes said: “On behalf of the Board, I would like to thank Luigi for all his hard work and enthusiasm in leading the company through its initial public offering in 2015 to the point where the company has a strong team and a clear plan to develop the company’s promising drug candidate, Betalutin, which is in late-stage clinical development. We look forward, in due course, to announcing the appointment of a new CEO who will lead the company through the next phase of its growth and development.”
Costa himself remarked: “Nordic Nanovector has recently taken a significant hit to its market valuation and credibility with the Norwegian investment community. As CEO, I have to take full responsibility for this. For the good of the company, its employees and investors, I have therefore decided to step down from my position as I hope it will allow the company to receive the support it deserves. I have full confidence that the company’s management team will successfully execute the on-going Betalutin development programme and generate significant value for Nordic Nanovector’s shareholders.”
The search for Costa’s replacement is ongoing, said Nordic Nanovector Chairman Ludvik Sandnes, “and we hope to have one in place shortly.”