Announces commercial focus on BioOxiTM bio-oxidation platform as part of targeted alignment on nearer-term and larger revenue opportunities
Reduces number of board members as part of geographic transition as a San Francisco Bay Area-based biotech company
SUNNYVALE, Calif., Aug. 24, 2023 /PRNewswire/ - Willow Biosciences Inc. ("Willow") (TSX: WLLW) (OTCQB: CANSF), a leading biotechnology company focused on revolutionizing industrial manufacturing of pure, consistent and sustainable functional ingredients, announces that having completed its transition to the San Francisco Bay Area and the commercial focus on its BioOxi platform, it has engaged an advisor to assist the Company with a review of opportunities to enhance shareholder value and unlock its intellectual property portfolio.
Commercial Focus on BioOxi™ is Succeeding
Willow has in recent months taken a number of steps to grow revenue and reduce costs. The Company has demonstrated executional success on commercial programs, including four new programs related to its BioOxi™ bio-oxidation platform technology launched in April 2023, and is now primarily focusing on partner-funded enzyme engineering engagements. This focus enables the Company to continue its cost reduction efforts while maximizing a faster path to nearer-term and potentially larger revenue opportunities, relative to its legacy strain engineering business.
Transition to San Francisco Bay Area-Based Biotech Company Complete
Willow has completed its transition as a San Francisco Bay Area-based biotech company. It has consolidated its operations, transitioning to a single, cost efficient facility in Sunnyvale, California which can accommodate future growth. The new laboratory space provides the Company with sufficient opportunity to expand as it continues to sign new collaborations but remains cost-effective compared to its previous locations.
Board of Directors Changes
The Company is reducing the size of its board of directors (the "Board") from nine to five members. Chairman of the Board and Founder of the Company, Mr. Trevor Peters, and Directors Ms. Barbara Munroe, Dr. Fotis Kalantzis and Dr. Peter Seufer-Wasserthal stepped down from the Board effective today.
The Board now consists of Dr. Chris Savile, Willow's President & CEO, Mr. Al Foreman, Mr. Raffi Asadorian, Mr. Don Archibald and Dr. Jim Lalonde. Dr. Jim Lalonde succeeds Mr. Peters as Chairman of the Board.
The Company has engaged an advisor to support maximizing shareholder value. The advisor will support the Company's review of potential value-creating actions, including amongst other possible activities, strategic investments, collaborations, licensing, joint ventures, or a company sale or merger, should this maximize value for shareholders. The Company does not intend to disclose developments with respect to the engagement, periodically or otherwise, unless the Board has approved a definitive transaction, or otherwise determines that disclosure is necessary or appropriate. There are no assurances that the engagement will result in any of the mentioned value-creating actions.
"In recent quarters we have successfully expanded our commercial portfolio, positioned Willow for significant revenue growth and consolidated our facilities in the San Francisco Bay Area to optimize operating efficiencies and lower operating expenses and cash burn," said Dr. Chris Savile, Willow's President & CEO. "We are grateful to our board members, both those stepping down and those remaining, for their guidance and leadership in helping us execute these changes to better position Willow for success while protecting our balance sheet."
"With this transition and based on our growth trajectory, we believe now is an ideal time to explore the above-mentioned review to potentially unlock value for the Company and its stakeholders while continuing our mission to help promote product innovation coupled with sustainable means of production," continued Dr. Savile.About Willow Biosciences Inc.
Willow develops and produces precision fermented functional ingredients for the health and wellness, food and beverage and personal care markets. Willow's FutureGrown™ and BiOxi™ platforms enable large-scale production with sustainability at its core. Willow's R&D team has a proven track record of developing and commercializing bio-based manufacturing processes and products to benefit our B2B partners and their customers. For more information, visit www.willowbio.com.
FutureGrown™ and BiOxi™ are registered trademarks of Willow Biosciences Inc. All other trademarks are trademarks of their respective holders.Forward-Looking Statements
This news release may include forward-looking statements including opinions, assumptions, estimates and the Company's assessment of future plans and operations, and, more particularly, statements concerning: the business plan, cost model and strategy of Willow; the expectation that the review of opportunities may elicit change and enhance shareholder value; the ability to continue to implement actions to preserve its cash position while maintaining its ability to effectively execute revenue opportunities; the development programs with partners and pipeline of potential partners, including the ability to accommodate new programs and to expand capabilities; and the demand and market size potential of the synthetic ingredients industry. When used in this news release, the words "will," "anticipate," "believe," "estimate," "expect," "intent," "may," "project," "should," and similar expressions are intended to be among the statements that identify forward-looking statements. The forward-looking statements are founded on the basis of expectations and assumptions made by the Company which include, but are not limited to: the success of Willow's strategic initiatives and strategic partnerships, including the development of future strategic partnerships; the financial strength of the Company; the ability of the Company to fund its business plan using cash on hand and existing resources; the market for Willow's products; the ability of the Company to obtain and retain applicable licences; the ability of the Company to obtain suitable manufacturing partners and other strategic relationships; and the successful implementation of Willow's commercialization and production strategy, generally. Forward-looking statements are subject to a wide range of risks and uncertainties, and although the Company believes that the expectations represented by such forward-looking statements are reasonable, there can be no assurance that such expectations will be realized. Any number of important factors could cause actual results biotechnology industry in general; the success of the Company's research and development strategies; infringement on intellectual property; failure to benefit from partnerships or successfully integrate acquisitions; the failure to achieve the anticipated benefits of the review of opportunities or any transactions undertaken pursuant to the review; actions and initiatives of federal and provincial governments and changes to government policies and the execution and impact of these actions, initiatives and policies; competition from other industry participants; adverse U.S., Canadian and global economic conditions; adverse global events and public-health crises; failure to comply with certain regulations; departure of key management personnel or inability to attract and retain talent; and other factors more fully described from time to time in the reports and filings made by the Company with securities regulatory authorities. Please refer to the Company's most recent annual information form and management's discussion and analysis for additional risk factors relating to Willow, which can be accessed either on Willow's website at www.willowbio.com or under the Company's profile on www.sedar.com.
The forward-looking statements contained in this news release are made as of the date hereof and the Company does not undertake any obligation to update publicly or to revise any of the included forward-looking statements, except as required by applicable law. The forward-looking statements contained herein are expressly qualified by this cautionary statement.
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SOURCE Willow Biosciences Inc.