Clinical-stage biopharmaceutical company Invex Therapeutics (ASX: IXC) has welcomed seasoned drug development expert Dr Megan Baldwin to the board as an independent non-executive director, effective today.
Dr Baldwin has more than two decades of experience working on therapeutic drug development programs for cancer and ophthalmic indications, most notably as the chief executive officer and managing director of late-stage biopharma Opthea Limited (ASX: OPT), which is developing a novel therapy to treat retinal eye diseases, including wet age-related macular degeneration (wet AMD).
Invex, which is focused on developing and commercialising its drug Presendin™ for neurological conditions relating to raised intracranial pressure, regarded Dr Baldwin as a “welcome addition” to its board of directors.
“[Dr Baldwin’s] substantial experience in drug development, regulatory engagement and clinical trial design and execution will be invaluable for Invex as the company progresses Presendin™ into phase III studies during 2021 to treat idiopathic intracranial hypertension (IIH), a disease where up to one quarter of patients suffer permanent vision loss,” Invex chairman Dr Jason Loveridge said.
Invex has scheduled human pharmacokinetic and animal tolerability studies for the first half of 2021 and plans to start phase III trials in Europe in the second half of the year.
Clinical development experience
Under Dr Baldwin’s leadership, Opthea has rapidly advanced its ophthalmology program through phase I and phase II clinical development, was added to the S&P/ASX 300 in June 2020 and in October 2020, completed a $180 million initial public offering and listing on the US NASDAQ exchange to progress two pivotal phase III studies in wet AMD.
Prior to Opthea, Dr Baldwin was a postdoctoral researcher at Genentech (now Roche) before moving to Genentech’s commercial division.
Dr Baldwin holds a PhD in Medicine from the University of Melbourne, having conducted her doctoral studies at the Ludwig Institute for Cancer Research, and is a member of the Australian Institute of Company Directors. She also serves on the board of Ausbiotech as deputy chair.
According to Invex’s announcement, Dr Baldwin will receive an annual renumeration of $50,000 as a non-executive director.
Subject to shareholder approval at the company’s next general meeting, Invex will also issue 400,000 options to acquire shares in the company to Dr Baldwin. Each option has a strike price of $1.10, calculated by applying a 31.8% premium to the five-day volume weighted average price of Invex shares up to and including 12 February of $0.8345.
The options will have a three-year term, with vesting at 12 months and 24 months continued service with the company.