Willow Continues its Transition to the Bay Area in California with Management Promotions and a New Board Member
Mountain View, California – March 28, 2023 – Willow Biosciences Inc.(“Willow” or the “Company“) (TSX: WLLW; OTCQB: CANSF), a leading biotechnology company focused on revolutionizing industrial manufacturing of pure, consistent and sustainable ingredients, is pleased to announce that the Board of Directors has appointed Dr. Chris Savile, Willow’s Chief Operations Officer, as President and Chief Executive Officer and Mr. Trevor Peters, a Director and Founder of the Company, as Chairman, effective March 28, 2023, in connection with Dr. Peter Seufer-Wasserthal’s retirement as President and CEO. Dr. Seufer-Wasserthal will continue to be a Director of the Company.
Management and Executive Promotions
Dr. Savile, a leader at Willow since the Company’s inception in early 2019, has been appointed President and Chief Executive Officer effective March 28, 2023. Since joining Willow, Dr. Savile has led the development of the technology platform, building of the operational capabilities, and expansion of the internal portfolio and external partnerships. Prior to joining Willow, Dr. Savile worked in senior leadership roles at Intrexon Corporation, a biotechnology company, and Codexis, Inc., a protein engineering company. Chris is an experienced business professional and an accomplished chemist, high-throughput assay scientist, and protein engineer with a strong technical background.
“Chris’ extensive scientific knowledge and business development experience will be invaluable to Willow in its next phase of growth,” said Trevor Peters, Chairman of the Board. “Chris has played an integral part in the success Willow has achieved to date. He is the driving force behind our scientific achievements, including the development of our new biooxidation manufacturing platform, and our commercial successes including the partnerships with Sandhill One and Kalsec as well as other commercial programs that the Company anticipates announcing in the near future.”
The Company is also pleased to announce that Dr. Trish Choudhary, Willow’s VP Research and Development, has been promoted to the role of Sr. VP Research and Development. Dr. Choudhary has been with the Company since its inception in 2019, leading the Company’s R&D program in Mountain View, California. Dr. Choudhary has built and continues to build Willow’s genetic engineering technology that includes enzyme engineering, strain engineering and its recently-developed genome-wide high-throughput editing technology. These tools have enabled the rapid development and commercialization of our first precision fermentation product, cannabigerol (CBG), development of the aforementioned biooxidation manufacturing platform, and development of alternative hosts to broaden our capabilities and offering.
Board of Directors Changes
Additionally, Mr. Raffi Asadorian will join the Board of Directors as an independent director following the Company’s upcoming annual general meeting of shareholders on May 12, 2023 (the “AGM”). Mr. Asadorian has been the Chief Financial Officer of AcelRx Pharmaceuticals, a NASDAQ-listed, commercial stage specialty pharmaceutical company since August 2017. Mr. Asadorian has over 30 years of experience in finance, including 15 years’ experience as a CFO with publicly listed and private equity-owned biotech and life sciences companies including Amyris and Barr Pharmaceuticals . Prior to that, Mr. Asadorian was a Partner in the Transaction Services Group of PwC, LLP in New York. Mr. Asadorian holds an MBA in Finance from the University of Manchester and a B. Sc., Business Administration in Accounting from Xavier University in Cincinnati. Mr. Asadorian is a Certified Public Accountant (inactive, Ohio).
Mr. Trevor Peters, a Director and Founder of the Company, will succeed Dr. Peter Seufer-Wasserthal as Chairman of the Board. Ms. Barbara Munroe will continue to serve as a Director and Chair of the Governance and Compensation Committee but will no longer serve as Lead Independent Director. Mr. Sadiq Lalani will not stand for re-election as a director at the Company’s upcoming AGM due to other commitments.
“Willow is grateful to Dr. Seufer-Wasserthal’s vision and talent,” said Trevor Peters, Chairman of the Board of the Company. “Under his leadership, we have completed our transition to an innovative company, focused on functional ingredients.”
“I am excited to take over as President and CEO and to build upon the amazing progress we have made in our transition to become a fully-integrated precision fermentation company with a growing list of internal product opportunities and a rapidly expanding portfolio of development and commercialization partners, said Chris Savile, President and CEO. I am eager to continue the future growth of Willow.”
About Willow Biosciences Inc.
Willow develops and produces precision fermented functional ingredients for the health and wellness, food and beverage and personal care markets. Willow’s FutureGrownTM biotechnology platform allows large-scale production with sustainability at its core. Willow’s R&D team has a proven track record of developing and commercializing bio-based manufacturing processes and products to benefit our B2B partners and their customers. For more information, visit www.willowbio.com.
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This news release may include forward-looking statements including opinions, assumptions, estimates and the Company’s assessment of future plans and operations, and, more particularly, statements concerning: the Company’s board and management team, including the composition and performance thereof; the ability to accommodate new programs and to expand capabilities, including the expansion of the Company’s portfolio of functional ingredients beyond cannabinoids; and the business plan of the Company, generally. When used in this news release, the words “will,” “anticipate,” “believe,” “estimate,” “expect,” “intent,” “may,” “project,” “should,” and similar expressions are intended to be among the statements that identify forward-looking statements. The forward-looking statements are founded on the basis of expectations and assumptions made by the Company which include, but are not limited to: the success of Willow’s strategic partnerships, including the development of future strategic partnerships; the financial strength of the Company; the ability of the Company to fund its business plan using cash on hand and existing resources; the market for Willow’s products; the ability of the Company to obtain and retain applicable licences; the ability of the Company to obtain suitable manufacturing partners and other strategic relationships; and the successful implementation of Willow’s commercialization and production strategy, generally. Forward-looking statements are subject to a wide range of risks and uncertainties, and although the Company believes that the expectations represented by such forward-looking statements are reasonable, there can be no assurance that such expectations will be realized. Any number of important factors could cause actual results to differ materially from those in the forward-looking statements including, but not limited to, risks associated with: the cannabinoid industry in general; the success of the Company’s research and development strategies; infringement on intellectual property; failure to benefit from partnerships or successfully integrate acquisitions; actions and initiatives of federal and provincial governments and changes to government policies and the execution and impact of these actions, initiatives and policies; import/export and research restrictions for operations in the cannabinoid, personal care, food and beverage and pharmaceutical markets; the size of such markets; competition from other industry participants; adverse U.S., Canadian and global economic conditions; adverse global events and public-health crises, including the evolving COVID-19 outbreak; failure to comply with certain regulations; departure of key management personnel or inability to attract and retain talent; and other factors more fully described from time to time in the reports and filings made by the Company with securities regulatory authorities. Please refer to the Company’s most recent annual information form and management’s discussion and analysis for additional risk factors relating to Willow, which can be accessed either on Willow’s website at www.willowbio.com or under the Company’s profile on www.sedar.com.
The forward-looking statements contained in this news release are made as of the date hereof and the Company does not undertake any obligation to update publicly or to revise any of the included forward-looking statements, except as required by applicable law. The forward-looking statements contained herein are expressly qualified by this cautionary statement.