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Dr Melanie Lee CBE steps down as CEO of LifeArc

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Dr. Melanie Lee has notified the Board of her decision to step down as Chief Executive Officer, effective 30 September 2023, after leading the organisation for almost five years.

During these five years, Melanie has guided LifeArc through a critical period of growth and change and has firmly established LifeArc’s reputation as a leading medical research charity. Building on our financial strength, we have built a clear vision and strategy, strong internal capabilities, excellent partnerships and collaborations, and the right people and skills to ensure our future success.

Melanie has led LifeArc through many significant achievements, including our contribution to the ground-breaking drug, Lecanamab, which has now been approved by the FDA for the treatment of Alzheimers – and Keytruda which has helped millions of people with breast cancer. In 2023, Keytruda became the world’s biggest selling drug. Other recent significant portfolio successes include RQ Bio, Ducentis and DJS. Melanie has also been instrumental in building partnerships across the ecosystem.  These strong collaborations are too numerous to mention by name, but span the charity sector, industry, government and academia.

A leadership succession plan has been initiated, with the appointment of Chief Financial Officer, Stéphane Maikovsky, as Interim CEO. Stéphane, who joined LifeArc in 2022 from the Francis Crick Institute, will ensure the continued smooth delivery of LifeArc’s strategy to invest up to £1.3 billion by 2030 to help deliver new diagnostics, drugs, devices, and digital solutions that transform the ways diseases are treated. A process to appoint a new CEO has been initiated by the Board.

Melanie said: “After five years, it is time to hand over the leadership of LifeArc. I am enormously proud of everything we have achieved to position LifeArc as a leading medical and research charity dedicated to transforming the way diseases are identified and treated. Driving substantial changes to maximise the potential of our royalty streams, we have nurtured and enhanced the skills and expertise within LifeArc to identify translational opportunities, invest in exciting science, and build strong collaborations and partnerships to turn early science into life-changing therapies and treatments. It’s been a privilege to lead and work with the extraordinary people at LifeArc, and to share their dedication to improving the lives of patients.”

Dr. Ian Gilham, Chair of the Board, added: “On behalf of the Board of Trustees and the Executive team, I want to thank Melanie for her focus and commitment, and the leadership she has provided to the whole of LifeArc.  Since joining in 2018, she has played a key role in developing our vision, strategy and reputation as a leading medical research organisation, investing more than £350 million into research in translational medicine during her tenure. We wish her every success and future happiness.

“We are grateful to Stéphane for accepting the role of Interim CEO. Joining us last year from the Francis Crick Institute, where he played an important role in building its strategic and operational excellence, we’ve already benefited greatly from Stéphane’s extensive financial, commercial, industry and academic experience, and look forward to his calm and expert leadership through the next phase of LifeArc’s growth.”

Stéphane Maikovsky joined LifeArc as Chief Financial Officer and Trustee in June 2022 to lead the Finance, Investment, Ventures, Information Technology and Operational Effectiveness teams.  Stéphane was previously CFO at the Francis Crick Institute, where his responsibilities included financial strategy, financial planning and operations, strategic and commercial partnerships, sourcing, grants management, risk management and the oversight of facilities and infrastructure. He is an Emeritus Director of the Francis Crick Institute and an independent member of the audit and risk committee of the Alan Turing Institute. Stéphane has held a number of senior financial, commercial and strategic roles in international biotechnology and business, including 16 years at Amgen. Stéphane is a Fellow of the Chartered Institute of Management Accountants (FCMA, CGMA), has an LLM in Medical Law and Ethics from the University of Edinburgh, and a BSc in Business Administration from Northeastern University.

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