Cancer-fighting tech firm Oncimmune Holdings plc has appointed a new chair.

Alistair Macdonald joins the Nottingham company to succeed Meinhard Schmidt, who has retired from the board.

Oncimmune, which won a Queen’s Award for Enterprise this year, is a leading developer of applied immunodiagnostics for the early detection of disease, drug discovery and development.

It is rapidly expanding in the United States with its NodifyCDT lung nodule test for lung cancer through US distributor Biodesix. However, its wider pharma business – specifically ImmunoINSIGHTS, its autoantibody profiling service to the life science industry – has experienced a slowdown due to the adverse effects of the global economic and geopolitical conditions on the BioTech sector.

Macdonald has a 25-year career in life sciences behind him, culminating in the role as CEO of Nasdaq-listed CRO Syneos Health Inc, from which he retired in April. 

Prior to that he was CEO of INC Research, which merged with inVentiv Health – a deal involving 24,000 employees – to become Syneos in 2017. He grew revenue at these companies from $20 million to over $5 billion. 

Until recently he also served as chair of ACRO, the Association of Clinical Research Organisations, having been on its board for approximately seven years.

“Oncimmune has successfully delivered on its strategy to transform the business from one wholly focused on a single asset diagnostic to an emerging pharma services business; the foundation stone is now laid for growth,” said Macdonald.

“I am excited to bring my knowledge of growing pharma services businesses to help Oncimmune’s experienced senior management team to develop the Company into a leading, global provider of services to the pharmaceutical sector.”

The company sees the new chair as “invaluable” to its acquisition strategy.

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Schmidt added: “I joined Oncimmune in 2015 to help guide the company through its IPO and to support [CEO] Adam [Hill] and the wider senior management team to deliver on the company’s three-year strategy and capitalise on Oncimmune’s world-leading autoantibody technology. 

“Having successfully completed that strategy, through which the focus of the business has fundamentally changed, I am delighted to be handing over the reins to Alistair with his wealth of experience in growing pharma services businesses.”