Clinical stage drug development company, Invion Limited (ASX:IVX) is pleased to provide the Chairman’s Address and CEO presentation for the 2012 Annual General Meeting of Shareholders being held this morning at 10.30am (AEST) at the offices of McCullough Robertson Lawyers, Level 11, 66 Eagle Street Brisbane.
Address by Dr Ralph Craven, Chairman, Invion Limited
Good morning Shareholders
I am very pleased to have the opportunity to speak with you today about your company, Invion, and about the Board’s view of what success will look like for Invion Limited. This morning I will briefly recount the significant events of the last 12 months before handing over to our CEO Dr Bill Garner who will talk to us about the many activities already in the pipeline for the year ahead.
A great deal has changed in the last 12 months, and I am very pleased to be standing here as the Chair of the Board of this revitalized company at the commencement of what is going to be an exciting phase. I will take this opportunity to thank my colleagues on the Board, for their skill, drive and commitment in working to turn your company around. The focus of both Board and management is now on creating value, cost-effectively, from our assets.
For the year ended 30 June the company incurred an operating loss of $5.5 million and held net assets of $6 million. This is a greatly improved position to the previous year which recorded an operating loss of $13.6 million and net liabilities of $2 million. The improved position of the company is in large part a reflection of the strong focus of the Board on operational efficiency and sound financial management.
During the second half of the year, the Board reviewed the company’s direction in detail. The outcomes included the identification and investigation of potential acquisition targets in order to expand and deepen the company’s drug pipeline. Three months ago, Shareholders were asked to consider and vote on the acquisition of a US-based company. The acquisition was approved, and on the 30th of August the company merged with Inverseon to bring into the stable new technology, clinical and regulatory expertise, and access to a $4.4 million grant from the US National Institutes of Health.
Invion’s focus is the development and commercialisation of new therapies for inflammatory diseases, and we now have two therapeutic candidates that target chronic inflammation. One of those – INV102 – is well-progressed into phase II territory. The other – Cpn10 – is benefitting from a revitalized development strategy at the hands of our new and highly experienced Chief Medical Officer, Dr Mitchell Glass.
Your company operates in the biotechnology and drug development commercialization sector. In common with other companies in this space, operations are subject to significant risks and uncertainty. Your Board recognises the expectations placed upon it, not only by shareholders but by a corporate world that is changing rapidly. We acknowledge the need to be innovative and focused on creating value, and aim to do so while also meeting high standards of good corporate governance.
Your Board is committed to the continuous improvement of its governance framework, and we have taken action this year to substantially enhance the company’s governance practices.
Invion is now a lean, primarily outsourced business that will utilise good networks both in Australia and the US to add value to its operations. The Board has restructured the remuneration packages of employees with the overall objectives of capital management and maximum stakeholder benefit from the focused hiring and retention of a high quality team. The provision of Options as part of the remuneration packages of employees links remuneration to the performance of the company and incentivises staff towards the future growth and success of the business.
Before closing, it is appropriate that in this address I acknowledge the legal proceedings commenced in February of this year against four former officers of the company. The proceedings are now at a point where defences and their replies have been filed. The company has also filed its replies to the counterclaim which has been made against the company. The Board is committed to bringing the case to resolution as swiftly as possible, and it is expected that a request for trial date will be lodged with the Supreme Court this calendar year. We expect the matter to go to trial in the first quarter of 2013.
In summary, Invion is a new, clinical-stage pharmaceutical drug development company with three phase II programs targeting inflammatory diseases. New management, new assets and a wealth of new experience on board means we are well positioned to deliver on the plans we have developed for the Invion portfolio. If you have not already done so I encourage you to visit our website and to do so regularly to keep up with what is happening in your company.
I would now like to introduce Managing Director and Chief Executive Officer, Dr Bill Garner.