CEO of life sciences company resigns

Dr Aaron Tolley

Life sciences business, Aptamer Group, says Dr Arron Tolley has left his position as chief executive officer and board director, with immediate effect.

He will leave his employment with the York-headquartered group after a period of garden leave.  

Chairman of the Board, Dr Ian Gilham, will assume the role of interim executive chairman, and current chief financial officer. Dr Rob Quinn, will now also assume the role of interim CEO and a search for a full-time CEO will begin immediately.

Gilham is an experienced CEO and chairman of life science companies. He is chairman of AIM company Genedrive plc and was chairman, including for an interim period, executive chairman, of Horizon Discovery, which was listed on AIM, until its acquisition by Perkin Elmer for £296m.

Prior to that, he was CEO of Main Market diagnostics company, Axis-Shield plc, which was acquired for £230m by Alere Inc.

Quinn is an experienced life sciences executive with highly relevant scientific experience working with publicly listed biotechnology and pharmaceutical companies, including as CFO of Silence Therapeutics. 

Gilham said: “I’d like to thank Arron for his achievements in building a company that is now providing its leading aptamer solutions to 15 of the top 20 pharmaceutical companies in the world.

“Alongside building the Optimer platform he has scaled the business through significant operational and corporate milestones, most significantly its AIM listing in December 2021. On behalf of the Board, I wish him well in the future. 

The Board is now focused on appointing an appropriate successor who will be able to lead Aptamer’s next phase of development and build on the foundations of the business to deliver shareholder value in the long term.”

Quinn added: I recognise the immense power of Aptamer Group’s technology and the impact it can have across the life sciences industry and I would like to thank Arron for everything he has contributed to the company.

“I look forward to working closely with Ian, the wider management team and the Board as we look to drive revenues, grow the business, and to deliver value for shareholders.”

In a trading update earlier this month, Aptamer Group said it was making cost savings as it warned its full year revenues are likely to be materially below its results for FY2022.

The company said its revenue for the 10 months ended 30 April 2023 was about £1.4m (unaudited), and its existing pipeline of new business has taken longer than expected to convert, especially licensing and royalty-based contracts, against a backdrop of continuing market headwinds.