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Expert Financial Analysis and Reporting

Antares: Thoughts on the Resignation of the CEO (ATRS, $2.76, Buy)

The resignation of Paul Wotton as CEO of Antares came as a surprise to me and I think most other investors. He has left to become chief executive officer of a development stage biotechnology company and has also resigned from the Board of Directors. There must have been some foreknowledge of and planning for his leaving as the Company immediately named a new CEO instead of setting up an interim CEO and going through a search process.

The new CEO is Eamonn Hobbs who has been on the Antares board since 2009. He also has over 30 years of experience in pharmaceuticals and medical devices and was most recently CEO of Delcath. I have met Mr. Hobbs but I don’t know him. He seems to have excellent credentials with his five years of board experience and long experience in running a Company and working in the industry. Hopefully, this will result in a seamless transition of leadership. By chance, I will be attending a presentation by Antares later today and will hopefully learn more about this situation.

I obviously don’t know the details of Paul Wotton’s leaving. I liked him as both a CEO and as a person and he has done a very good job of building Antares. Looking at the role of the CEO, his primary job is forming strategy and building a strong management team to execute it; Mr. Wotton did a good job of both. I think that the strategy that will drive Antares for the next five years is in place so that Mr. Hobbs will not immediately have to make any dramatic decisions and perhaps his major role will be to keep the ship on course. Likewise in the execution of the business plan, the people executing the plan, particularly as it applies to Otrexup, are in place and the Wotton departure shouldn’t affect the launch.

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  1. One of our colleagues on this website sent me the following message. It gives good insight into Mr. Wotton’s departure.I appreciate the input.


    As an “add on” to the initial message, If interested, I spoke with Jack Howarth (VP of Investor Relations at Antares) earlier today (long conversation). Short version – Per Jack this was a “friendly” parting, and unexpected. “The dance” between PW and his new employer started a couple of months ago. They contacted (recruited) PW. PW became interested due to the other company being a “developmental” pharma (what attracted him to Antares 5 years ago). PW would rather spend his time building a developmental pharma than managing a commercial pharma – what Antares has now become. No red flags, PW was not forced out, no warning signs as the result of this change. PW simply chose to leave and do what he would rather do, and leave the commercializing of Antares to those who want to do that sort of thing. Antares has a strong succession plan in place, so naming Paul’s successor with an internal hire was a fast and simple process. PW’s successor has a similar vision for Antares, and all existing programs are still and “go”. The transition to the new CEO is expected to have virtually no disruption to the execution of their business plan. So there you have it.

    Jack has known PW for 20 years. They are personal friends. I have no reason to doubt what Jack said (maybe I’m being naïve, but I have no reason to doubt what Jack said).

  2. My experience with Delcath is Hobbs is not a good CEO at all. Delcath has a filter system that allows high concentrations of chemotherapy to the liver that is then filtered out before it can harm the rest of the body. He made wild statements at Delcath such as the reason that Melphalan worked so well in the liver was that the liver cells were somewhat immune to it. When asked why in primary liver cancer the liver cancer cells weren’t equally immune there was no answer until the PR firm backed off that whole approach and gave another reason for choice of the drug. He also lied, in my opinion, on the side effects of the first generation filter system. They got shot down at the FDA and new information was revealed for the first time on the terrible side effects. They should never have gone forward with the gen 1 filter and waited until the gen 2 filter was ready. As far as I can tell he was canned from Delcath. I would never invest in any company he is running.

  3. As I commented in my last blog, I have a colleague that I have known for 30 year and is extremely knowledgeable in the device area. He has known Hobbs for many years and holds him in very high regard. I put great weight on his opinion.


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