Dr. Michael Gross, an activist shareholder of immunotherapy specialist IMV (NSDQ:IMV), has launched an offensive intended to cause a leadership shakeup at the company.
Gross released a press release on June 1 announcing his plans to oust the company’s board chair Andy Sheldon and the chair of the board’s compensation committee, Julia Gregory.
The director must receive a majority of shareholder votes to retain his role.
IMV will hold an annual general meeting on June 18.
On June 4, Gross released a new press release stating that he had the support of approximately 25% of the outstanding common shares of IMV.
Dr. Michael Gross is an orthopaedic oncologist who became interested in IMV in the course of his practice. “I became interested in IMV’s technology as I lost 50% to 80% of my patients to metastatic disease even after chemotherapy for musculoskeletal cancers,” Gross said. “IMV’s technology arose out of a Laboratory at Dalhousie University. Their Depo technology was found to induce a prolonged survival rate in a mouse model of cancer.”
The research demonstrated that T cells stimulated by an appropriate antigen produced a prolonged effect on tumors. “With the increasing identification of unique tumour markers, there was a huge opportunity to see if chemotherapy-resistant cancers could be treated this way,” Gross said.
Gross said that the company’s most recent share price is leading “many shareholders” to conclude that “the company is not advancing the research quickly enough and that the financing routes taken by management are resulting in significant dilution of the existing share base,” Gross said.
An IMV spokesperson said the company’s management is aware of the concerned shareholder but had no further comment. The company has made recent changes to its board, installing Dr. Michael Kalos and Kyle Kuvalanka. Kalos is an expert in T-cell therapy and immunotherapy, while Kuvalanka is a biopharmaceutical industry veteran.
The latest press release also noted the shareholder’s frustration with the company’s COVID-19 vaccine program, which it first announced on March 18, 2020. The company is currently undertaking a Phase 1/2 trial for the vaccine. In March, IMV announced it was conducting parallel preclinical research related to new SARS-CoV-2 variants.
Gross also believes that IMV’s executives are overcompensated in light of the company’s stock performance.
The company’s CEO Frederic Ors earned $756,300 in total compensation last year, while the company’s CFO, Pierre Labbé, earned $492,300.
“IMV’s disconnect between pay and performance must be corrected immediately,” he said in a statement.
In its most recent earnings call, IMV’s CEO said the company continues to progress with its cancer T cell therapy program, including its Maveropepimut-S and dual-targeted T cell therapy DPX-SurMAGE therapies.
Filed Under: clinical trials, Drug Discovery, Immunology, Oncology