MedWatch

Danish biotech company brings in heavyweight for its board room

A small Danish biotech company has managed to secure an international heavyweight for its board of directors – drawing on its connection with cairman of the board Florian Schönharting.

Foto: PR

The Danish biotech company Forward Pharma has welcomed a genuine heavyweight from the US biotech industry to its board room – J. Kevin Buchi, a former top-executive from one of America’s most successful biotech companies, Cephalon.

The information comes from an announcement from the Danish Business Authority, which also informs that Hans Schambye will be leaving the post.

Developing psoriasis drug

CEO and partner in NB Capital, Florian Schönharting, is the chairman of the board in Forward Pharma, which is currently looking for a new drug for the treatment of psoriasis - and it is his influence that has enabled the hiring of the new member of the board.

“We know him from his years at Cephalon, which is one of the greatest biotech success stories. We had a shared point of reference in former CEO and founder Frank Baldino, who unfortunately passed away too soon, and we have been meeting regularly with the management since 1992,” Florian Schönharting tells Medwatch.

He explains that Cephalon tells the story of a company that – following a period of great focus on its drug IGF-1 (Insulinlike Growth Factor) against ALS – was forced to admit failure.

“But the company rose to its feet and managed to redefine itself, primarily due to Buchi and Baldino’s abilities to focus on the right drug projects,” Schönharting says with clear reference to the drug Modafinil for the treatment of narcolepsy.

Cephalon was eventually snapped up by pharma giant Teva Pharmaceuticals for more than 6 billion dollars.

Schönharting sees the instatement of J. Kevin Buchi in the board room as “a certain degree of validation” of Forward Pharma.

“What’s more important for me is that he is an excellent sparring partner in the board room at a highly professional level and with a shared frame of reference.”

- translated by Martin Havtorn Petersen

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