New CEO for Glasgow biopharmaceuticals company with global ambitions

Glasgow-based novel biopharmaceuticals company Aurum Biosciences has appointed a new CEO as it looks to further expand its global presence

A 2015 clinical stage spinout company of InnoScot Health, NHS Greater Glasgow and Clyde, and the University of Glasgow, Aurum Biosciences develops breakthrough therapeutics and diagnostics in areas of unmet clinical need.

Its patented ABL-101 platform technology represents one of the first major advancements in the management of acute stroke patients in the past 20 years.

ABL-101 has huge potential to significantly improve outcomes for acute stroke patients, not only by delivering oxygen to brain tissue under stress beyond the clot, but by providing acute stroke diagnostics and helping to identify salvageable brain tissue.

Stroke remains the third biggest killer in Scotland, the second leading cause of death worldwide, and the leading cause of disability, so ABL-101 could have a major impact in that area.

Replacing Jim McGuire, new CEO David Brennan will step into the role in March on a full-time basis after a recent period as both interim Chief Executive of Aurum and Principal Clinical Physicist at the Queen Elizabeth University Hospital in Glasgow.

He said: “I’m incredibly proud to have taken up this exciting role, in turn fully committing my future to Aurum Biosciences.

“I was a founding member of the company and previously Director of Project Management, taking a keen interest in all aspects of company development, but when the opportunity to become CEO arose, I simply couldn’t turn it down.

“Aurum has grown so much since I first came onboard. Initially, I thought we would just licence out the technology, then it became a spinout with a whole new life of its own and a very bright future.

“My NHS background has been in the field of MRI, image analysis, and their clinical applications, so it feels like a natural step, and a huge opportunity for me to now immerse myself in a company that has so much potential to significantly help in some of the clinical areas I have experience in.

“Jim has provided incredible leadership and drive in getting Aurum Biosciences to where it is today. I am committed to building on this legacy as we look to the future and the vast opportunities for our technology.”

While Aurum has selected stroke as its first therapeutic target, its novel molecule has the potential to be used in multiple indications where oxygen is required.

It is also being developed for inflammatory conditions, oncology, cardiovascular conditions, spinal cord injury, and dementia.

Aurum was recently awarded Innovative Licensing and Access Pathway (ILAP) status by the Medicines and Healthcare products Regulatory Agency (MHRA). The ILAP, which aims to accelerate the time to market, facilitating patient access to medicines, provides a single, integrated platform for sustained collaborative working between the MHRA, partners, and the medicine developer.

The company continues to attract significant international investment and collaborators, most recently from the US and Switzerland.

In 2020, it raised around £670,000 as part of a round of equity funding, enabling it to develop its important new treatments and diagnostics.

That funding round was supported by InnoScot Health, Infinion Biopharma Limited (Infinion), the Scottish Investment Bank, TRICAPITAL business angel syndicate, and individual investors.

Speaking of Aurum’s current plans, David said: “Our focus is firmly on manufacturing and realising the full potential of our existing collaborations, while continuing to attract investment.

“ABL-101 for stroke treatment remains a fundamental driver for us, but the opportunity in cardiology, oncology, spinal cord injury, inflammatory conditions, and more is significant.

“Other entities have been an important part of our journey. InnoScot Health for one were absolutely critical in the early days, educating us scientists in the process of spinning out a company. They were involved in all the important discussions and continue to play a very active role.”

Executive Chair of InnoScot Health, Graham Watson“Our congratulations go to David on this well-deserved appointment. He has always been a pivotal member of the Aurum Biosciences team, and now will be spearheading an exciting new era for the company that is filled with opportunity.

“That includes the potential for significant change across the therapeutic landscape of ischaemic stroke and other disorders, a vital area of healthcare.

“InnoScot Health is proud to be involved in this true homegrown success story and we are certain that much more is to follow, both in Scotland and around the world. We look forward to seeing and supporting Aurum’s further expansion.”