SOMERSET, N.J., April 28 Alfacell Corporation(Nasdaq: ACEL) today announced that Kuslima Shogen, the company's chiefexecutive officer and scientific founder, will retire from the company on orbefore March 31, 2009. The company also announced that the royalty agreementbetween Ms. Shogen and Alfacell has been terminated.
The termination of the royalty agreement between Alfacell and Ms. Shogencould reduce payments from the Company to Ms. Shogen by an estimated $20million over the next 10 years, if the company's lead compound, ONCONASE(R),is granted marketing approval by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA).
Under the terms of the retirement agreement between the company and Ms.Shogen, Ms. Shogen will continue to receive her current salary for a period oftwo years after she steps down as chief executive officer. In exchange forthe termination of the royalty agreement, Ms. Shogen will receive a cashbonus, an additional cash bonus upon receiving marketing approval by the FDAof ONCONASE for the treatment of malignant mesothelioma, a significant stockoption grant that vests upon such FDA approval of ONCONASE, cash payments forthe first two years following approval of ONCONASE, and cash payments fromAlfacell in the event aggregate annual net sales of ONCONASE exceed $100million.
"Tina's contributions to Alfacell and the science behind ONCONASE havebeen immeasurable," said David Sidransky, M.D., Alfacell's chairman. "Herdedication and commitment are unmatched and I know that I speak for everyoneat Alfacell in offering congratulations as she moves on to a well-earnedretirement."
In addition to the retirement of Ms. Shogen, the company announced thatLawrence A. Kenyon has been named president. Mr. Kenyon joined Alfacell inJanuary 2007 as executive vice president, chief financial officer andcorporate secretary. He was promoted to chief operating officer and electedto the board of directors in November 2007. The change in responsibilities isconsistent with the efforts of the board of directors to develop a successionplan that allows for a smooth leadership transition upon the potentialmarketing approval of ONCONASE.
"It is a comfort for me to entrust the further development and potentialcommercialization of our exciting pipeline to Mr. Kenyon," said Ms. Shogen."It has been a privilege to be part of Alfacell where I have experienced therare opportunity to make an important scientific contribution and achieve therealization of my life's work."
"Our focus has begun to shift towards the necessary steps to grow Alfacelland maximize value for our shareholders," added Mr. Kenyon. "The terminationof the royalty agreement will allow us to enhance our ability to increaseinvestment in our promising technology platform. We are excited about thefuture of Alfacell, and I would like to congratulate Tina and commend her forthe sound scientific foundation she has built for us."
ONCONASE is a first-in-class therapeutic product candidate based onAlfacell's proprietary ribonuclease (RNase) technology. A natural proteinisolated from the leopard frog, ONCONASE has been shown in the laboratory andclinic to target cancer cells while sparing normal cells. ONCONASE triggersapoptosis, the natural death of cells, via multiple molecular mechanisms ofaction.
About Alfacell Corporation
Alfacell Corporation is the first company to advance a biopharmaceuticalproduct candidate that works in a manner similar to RNA interference (RNAi)through late-stage clinical trials. The product candidate, ONCONASE, is anRNase that overcomes the challenges of targeting RNA for therapeutic purposeswhile enabling the development of a new class of targeted therapies for cancerand other life-threatening diseases. In addition to a Phase IIIb study inmalignant mesothelioma, Alfacell is conducting a Phase I/II trial o