Arix clears the decks
Arix Biosciences’ search for a new chief executive ended bizarrely a year ago with the reappointment of the previous incumbent, Joe Anderson. Clearly this failed to please, as today Mr Anderson was jettisoned in a boardroom coup at the UK venture firm. Also out are two investment directors, understood by Vantage to be Ed Rayner and Mark Chin. Jonathan Peacock, chairman, and Art Pappas, non-executive, will leave at the AGM. It was a clash between Mr Peacock and Mr Anderson, Arix’s co-founders, that is thought to have led to the search for a new chief. Arix has been under fire for its bloated cost base and salaries – Mr Anderson was on £500,000 ($614,000) a year plus options – and while 2019 employment costs fell 14% to £5.6m this was still out of kilter with a valuation that at £77m is today 70% below its 2017 IPO. Arix told Vantage that the changes “right-sized” it and would have a substantial impact on cost structure. Without any major exits, and with limited cash for new stakes, Arix probably did not need a significant investment team, and in the current environment a slimmed-down business stands a better chance of raising new funds.