Calgary, Alberta – April 7, 2020 – Willow Biosciences Inc. ("Willow" or the "Company") (TSX: WLLW; OTCQB: CANSF) announces changes to its management team with the promotion of Dr. Chris Savile to Chief Operations Officer and the departure of Dr. Peter Facchini, Chief Scientific Officer, and Dr. Jill Hagel, Vice President, Applied Science, effective immediately.
"Chris' extensive scientific knowledge and proven business acumen will be a valuable addition to our executive leadership team," said Trevor Peters, President and Chief Executive Officer. "Chris has played an integral part in the success Willow has achieved to date. He is the driving force behind our scientific achievements, including developing our state-of-the-art, high throughput strain engineering laboratory in Mountain View, California, and negotiating key partnerships that will advance our business towards commercialization, including the recent strategic partnership with Albany Molecular Research, Inc."
Dr. Chris Savile has been with Willow since April 2019 in the role of Vice President, Commercial Operations. Prior to joining Willow, Dr. Savile worked in senior leadership roles at Intrexon Corporation, a biotechnology company, and Codexis, Inc., a protein engineering company. He is a highly experienced chemist, high throughput assay scientist and protein engineer with a strong technical background. Dr. Savile has been the research and development leader on several programs that led to commercial manufacturing processes. He received his PhD in 2006 from McGill University.
The Company wishes to thank Dr. Facchini and Dr. Hagel for their contributions in developing Willow's proprietary cannabinoid-producing yeast strain and allowing the Company to begin scale-up ahead of initial expectations. As the Company moves into the scale-up phase of its operations, it has reallocated resources to more efficiently manage this process, resulting in a reduction in its Calgary-based headcount. These changes are expected to drive annualized cost savings of $3 million and are not expected to impact Willow's ability to meet its expedited timeline to reach commercialization in the first half of 2021.
Willow is a Canadian biotechnology company based in Calgary, Alberta, that produces high purity, plant-derived compounds that provide building blocks for the global pharmaceutical, health and wellness, and consumer packaged goods industries. Willow's current focus is in the production of cannabinoids for the treatment for pain, anxiety, obesity, brain disorders, among other significant indications. Willow's science team has a proven track record of developing manufacturing technologies for high purity compounds in pain and cancer treatments. Willow's manufacturing process creates a consistent, scalable and sustainable product that allows for the discovery and development of new life changing drugs.
For further information, please visit Willow's website at www.willowbio.com or contact:
President and Chief Executive Officer
T: (403) 669-4848
CFA Vice President, Corporate Development
T: (403) 618-1117
3655 36th Street NW
Calgary, AB T2L 1Y8
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 effects of management and operational changes on the timing of development scale-up and commercialization and Willow's operations, generally; and cost savings stemming from reallocation of resources. 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 partnerships, the successful implementation of Willow's commercialization strategy and the market for Willow's products. 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 to differ materially from those in the forward-looking statements including, but not limited to, risks associated with: the cannabinoid 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; actions and initiatives of federal and provincial governments and changes to government policies and the execution and impact of these actions, initiatives and policies; import/export and research restrictions for cannabinoid-based operations; the size of the medical-use and adult-use cannabinoid market; competition from other industry participants; adverse U.S., Canadian and global economic conditions; adverse global events and public-health crises, including the current COVID-19 outbreak; 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. Except as required by applicable laws, the Company does not undertake any obligation to publicly update or revise any forward-looking statements.
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