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Business News

Biotech group Arix prepares board shake-up in activist peace deal


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The London-listed biotech investor Arix Bioscience is preparing a boardroom shake-up as part of a truce with an investor which has accused its board of presiding over an “uncontrollable tumult”.

Sky News has learnt that the company and Acacia Research Corporation were on Thursday finalising the details of a bilateral peace deal which could involve the departure of Arix’s executive chairman Nassem Amin.

Sources close to the situation insisted that the details of an agreement had yet to be thrashed out, but acknowledged that an announcement could be made to the stock market as soon as Friday morning.

Neil Woodford
Image: Acacia acquired the biotech portfolio of fallen star fund manager Neil Woodford

A person close to Acacia suggested that Mr Amin’s departure was “possible”, while Peregrine Moncreiffe, a serial company director, was expected to be nominated to Arix’s board following talks between the two sides.

Acacia owns 19% of Arix, having taken on the position as part of a deal to acquire the biotech portfolio of the fallen star fund manager Neil Woodford.

Mr Woodford is now advising Acacia, and is plotting a controversial comeback backed by the firm, despite his former investors having lost hundreds of millions of pounds.

In an open letter in March, Acacia attacked Arix’s corporate governance, citing its poor record at engaging with shareholders on remuneration issues.

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Arix describes itself as “a global venture capital company focused on investing in and building breakthrough biotech companies around cutting-edge advances in life sciences”.

The company’s share price has more than doubled over the last year, and it now has a market value of £250m.

Neither Arix nor Acacia would comment on Thursday.

 Sky News

© Sky News 2021

Written by: Rother Radio News

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