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Avacta appoints Dr Fiona McLaughlin as Chief Scientific Officer of its Therapeutics Division

Avacta Group plc (AIM: AVCT), a clinical-stage biopharmaceutical company developing innovative cancer therapies and powerful diagnostics based on its proprietary Affimer® and pre|CISION™ platforms, announces the appointment of Dr Fiona McLaughlin as Chief Scientific Officer of its Therapeutics Division effective immediately.


Dr McLaughlin is a highly experienced oncology drug developer, bringing over 25 years of experience in research and translational drug development in the pharmaceutical and biotech sectors, having led teams from early research through to clinical development. Fiona started her career at GlaxoSmithKline and has subsequently held leadership positions in multiple biotech companies including Vice President, Translational Research at Antisoma plc and Director of Pre-clinical Development at BTG plc (now part of Boston Scientific).


Other roles include Head of Biology at TopoTarget A/S, where she was responsible for the pre-clinical development of belinostat which went on to gain FDA approval to treat peripheral T-cell lymphoma. Most recently, Fiona was Vice President of New Opportunities at Algeta ASA (acquired by Bayer), a Norwegian biotech developing alpha radio-pharmaceuticals, that gained FDA approval of Xofigo to treat castration-resistant prostate cancer.


Fiona has also gained broad experience during her career as a Consultant, providing scientific and strategic advice to biotechs, Not-for-Profit Organisations, and Venture Capitalists in UK, Europe, the USA and Australia, including helping drive oncology strategy at the CRUK/AstraZeneca Alliance Laboratory. Fiona received a PhD from the Haematology Department at Cambridge University and has a BSc in Biochemistry from Glasgow University.


Dr Alastair Smith, Chief Executive Officer of Avacta Group, commented: “We are delighted to have Fiona McLaughlin join us as Chief Scientific Officer of our Therapeutics Division. Fiona is a seasoned drug developer with an outstanding track record in developing oncology drug candidates and taking them into clinical development. She brings a huge amount of experience, deep insight and strong leadership that will be major assets to Avacta in driving forward both the Affimer® and pre|CISION™ clinical and preclinical pipelines and I look forward to working with her.”


Dr Fiona McLaughlin, Chief Scientific Officer – Therapeutics Division, commented: “I am delighted to join Avacta’s Therapeutics Division at this pivotal time, as the company transitions to become a clinical-stage development organisation. I look forward to the opportunity of driving the strategic leadership of the company’s therapeutics research and am excited by the potential of the pre|CISION™ and Affimer® platforms, to develop first and best-in-class oncology therapeutics, to ultimately provide patients with important new treatment options.


“Both platforms offer huge potential to build on and expand the existing pipeline and, with the experienced R&D leadership team, we have the ability to take assets from early discovery through to late-stage clinical development. I am looking forward to using my deep-rooted knowledge of oncology drug development to drive projects into the clinic and help bring innovative medicines to patients.”


Dr Fiona McLaughlin, Chief Scientific Officer, Avacta Therapeutics Division