Dutch biotechnology company Crucell has appointed a new chief execvutive as it continues its transition from a company specialising in enabling technologies to one focuused on product development.
Ronald Brus took over the reins from former CEO Dinko Valerio yesterday. He joined the company in 1997 and had been serving as chief operating officer at Crucell.
Valerio, who co-founded Crucell, will continue to work for the company until the end of theyear, and will join the supervisory board on 1 January 2005.
Crucell is best known for its PER.C6 cell line technology, already licensed to around 25 partners for the production of vaccines, monoclonal antibodies and gene therapeutics. Latterly, the company has started developing its own vaccine products, aided by its positions in PER.C6 and adenoviral vectors.
Crucell is using this platform on its own to develop a vaccine for influenza that should be significantly cheaper to produce than other products. And, because of the speed in which it can be used to produce vaccine, it provides the first real way to allow a vaccination-based response to both epidemic and pandemic flu outbreaks. It is also working on vaccines for West Nile virus, Ebola and malaria.
Meanwhile, Crucell has posted a loss of €23.4 million in 2003, well down from the loss of €55.7 million it reported the prior year, although revenues dipped 23 per cent to €7.4 million.
The company said a significant up-front fee from a commercial contract signed in December has been deferred. Total deferred revenues at the end of last year were €13.8 million compared to €6.0 million in 2002.