Dix takes over at C4XD as chief executive Morgan leaves

DR CLIVE Dix has replaced chief executive Piers Morgan at the helm of Manchester-based drug discovery company C4X Discovery Holdings.

Dix has become executive chairman following the immediate departure of Morgan and told TheBusinessDesk C4X is aiming to “become a drug discovery engine, the like of which the industry has never seen before”.

C4X, which floated on the AIM a year ago, recently reported it had grown its assets to £8.7m and was continuing to develop treatments for addiction, chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD), diabetes and multiple sclerosis.

The company reported cash equivalents and deposits for the year ending July 31 of £7.5m (2014: £0.7m) in its preliminary results.

Recent achievements also include the signing of a collaboration agreement with the Structural Genomics Consortium at Oxford University.

Dix said the plan was to expand C4X’s projects up to about 20, saying “this is a very exciting time for us and we can make a big impact discovering remedies for the clinical sector”.

Of Morgan’s departure, Dix said: “Piers joined us when we were floating on the AIM and his expertise was very much around compliance regulation and that area.

“We’ve now been pushing the technical side of the operation and we are at that point where we see ourselves moving and expanding.

“My background is very much in that area and Piers and I agreed that it needed a different type of leadership, so we shook hands and that was that.”

Dix is widely recognised as one of the leading figures in the UK biotechnology sector, combining track records as a serially successful entrepreneur and an experienced pharmaceutical R&D executive.

Most recently, he was chief executive of Convergence Pharmaceuticals, which was sold to Biogen in January this year for $675m.

Prior to that, Dix enjoyed successful exits with PowderMed Limited, Auralis Limited and PowderJect Pharmaceuticals, where he held the roles of chief executive, chairman and head of R&D, respectively. Before his move into biotechnology,  Dix was UK research director for GlaxoWellcome.

He currently serves as chairman of Touchlight Genetics and Calchan, and was Chairman of the UK BioIndustry Association (BIA) from 2008-2010.