Following the recent announcement of the recruiting of a new CEO, Ziccum's Board of Directors release the following update on the Company's strategy, objectives and priorities. It is the Board's assessment that recent internal priorities have not been in line with the company's overall strategy and that too few resources have been invested into achieving the company's most important objectives.
Ziccum has developed a new technology (LaminarPace) that has ground-breaking potential for improving the production and distribution of biological drugs. The technology makes it possible to dry biological material into a robust, stable powder that will not be affected by, for example, temperature changes. The company is currently focused on applying the technology to vaccines, a subset of the class of biological drugs.
Ziccum's business model is based on licensing the rights to use the company's technology for the production of specific products, such as a specific vaccine.
The current COVID-19 pandemic has clearly illustrated the enormous value that vaccines in powder form would have, both in terms of transport and storage. Furthermore, specific mRNA vaccines against COVID have further highlighted the possibility of RNA as the next generation of precision drugs and diagnostics. https://www.bcg.com/publications/2021/rna-therapeutics
Ziccum has generated data that support LaminarPace’s ability to gently air-dry liquid biological material into powder, and that demonstrate that air-dried proteins have retained their structure over a long period at temperatures of up to 40 ° C. It is now an important priority for the company to generate such specific ‘proof of concept’ data regarding mRNA.
Ziccum has also invested resources into describing in detail what will be required to move today's small-scale experimental activities into the industrial production of vaccines in powder form. With the help of these plans, one can make calculations on production finances. Thanks to the technology’s high yield (the proportion of active material that remains after the drying process) and low energy consumption, there is potential for major savings in the industrial production of vaccines using this technology compared to alternative methods.
Technical 'proof of concept', in combination with clear specifications on the path to cost-effective industrial manufacturing, are both important factors in being able to enter into agreements with a commercial partner and licensee.
The current management team, with acting CEO Frida Hjelmberg and Development Director Anna Lönn, will ensure that Ziccum runs the business according to plan and, above all, continue to strengthen the company's technology, and deliver according to agreements in Ziccum’s ongoing collaborative research projects.
Ziccum also has a strong financial position after the recent issue, which creates good conditions for reaching important milestones with existing cash.
Strategy, goals and priorities
The company's strategy for entering into commercial agreements with industrial players has been and is clearly defined. It is based on four key priority activities:
- Drive an active business development agenda that proactively prepares for collaboration with existing and potential partners. This is partly to offer the opportunity to evaluate specific projects in combination with Ziccum's technology, and partly to understand the requirements placed on the technology before a decision on a license agreement can be made.
- Generate laboratory data that manifests and confirms the technology's capacity to dry different types of vaccines, so-called proof of concept.
- Develop the company's technology to adapt its functionality, capacity and quality to the licensees' required specifications.
- Develop conceptual plans for how Ziccum's drying technology can be adapted to the commercial scale and integrated into a commercial production environment.
With a new CEO, the Board's goal is to increase the pace of, above all, business development work – with the goal of entering into more industrial collaborations in order to evaluate LaminarPace and advance our existing collaborations into negotiations on commercial terms and license agreements.
Furthermore, the Board's ambition is to increase transparency as far as possible, and to communicate more clearly and systematically on progress in ongoing projects on both the technical and commercial level.
Recruitment of CEO
The recruitment process for a new CEO of Ziccum is ongoing. There is currently no specific date forecast for when a CEO will be able to take office. This is entirely due to the availability of the candidates being evaluated. It is the board's current top priority to accelerate the recruitment process as far as possible.