Stephanie Unwin will be leaving Phylogica after two years. Photo: Attila Csaszar

Phylogica appoints new chair, CEO

Wednesday, 11 April, 2018 - 13:39

Former IKEA franchise owner Alan Tribe has taken charge at local biotech firm Phylogica, lifting his stake to 20 per cent and becoming chairman on the same day chief executive Stephanie Unwin was replaced by Rohan Hockings.

Dr Hockings has been an alternative director to his father, Bernard Hockings, whose stake in the company has been cut from 27.5 per cent to 14.9 per cent after selling $8 million of shares.

The buyer was Mr Tribe’s private company Australian Land, which disclosed today it has lifted its stake from 7.5 per cent to 19.9 per cent.

Mr Tribe sold the franchise for Ikea in Perth and Adelaide to Ikea Group for $170 million last year.

The changes at Phylogica come just more than two years after Ms Unwin joined the company, initially as a non-executive director, then as chair, and since June 2017 as chief executive and chair.

The company also announced today that Michael Williams, who joined the board in January this year as a non-executive director, will also be leaving.

The new chief executive, Dr Hockings, was appointed an alternate director in August 2016.

He is the founding principal of a private equity fund active in the acquisition of healthcare assets in Australia.

He has previously worked in both medicine and law, including in the equity capital markets division of Herbert Smith Freehills and with consulting group McKinsey & Co.

His father is a retired cardiologist who has been a substantial shareholder in Phylogica since 2012 and a director since 2014.

Phylogica said Mr Tribe brings substantial commercial experience to the board and a deep interest in the company’s delivery platform, which had developed during his time as a major shareholder in the company.

“The changes enable the company to both diversify and accelerate development of the functional penetrating peptide delivery platform through the transition from ‘proof of concept’ cargoes to therapeutic cargoes and towards the clinic,” Phylogica said in a statement to the ASX.

“The board would like to thank Ms Unwin for her contribution over the past two years in her capacity as both chairperson and chief executive.”

After today’s update, the company’s continuing directors are chief scientific officer Robert Hayes and Sahm Nasseri.

Shares in Phylogica were up 17.8 per cent at 3.3 cents each at 3.30pm AEDT.