BenevolentAI has appointed a new CFO and chief revenue officer in the wake of a decision to lay off 180 staff.

In May CFO Nicholas Keher resigned to pursue other business interests while the London-based biopharma technology firm announced a strategic reorganisation aimed at making cost savings of £45 million.

By saving £13m via the streamlining of facilities and other operating expenses, and £32m from a reduced drug programme and staff costs, it aims to extend its cash runway to at least July 2025.

Now the flagship UK AI company, listed on the Euronext market in Amsterdam since April 2022, has appointed Catherine Isted as CFO and Christina Busmalis as CRO.

Isted was most recently CEO of AIM-listed ReNeuron, a UK-based leader in stem cell-derived exosome technologies, having previously been CFO. Prior to this, she was at Oxford Biomedica plc, and has had a successful career in leading healthcare banking teams, 12 years of this at partner level.

Busmalis has held key executive roles at industry-leading companies such as Google, IBM Watson Health, IBM and PwC. 

She has spent the majority of her career advising and supporting the life science industry, collaborating with companies such as Novartis, Roche, Bayer and GSK as well as other leading Pharmaceutical and Biotech companies.

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“We have entered an exciting time for the company and Catherine’s experience will be instrumental as we execute our strategic plans and drive growth,” said CEO Joanna Shields. 

“Christina’s deep knowledge and understanding of the opportunities and dynamics within both the technology and life science industries make her well-positioned to steer our commercial strategy and drive revenue growth as we continue to expand our presence in the market.”

Drug pipelines being developed for treatment of Ulcerative Colitis, Glioblastoma Multiforme, Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis, Parkinson’s Disease and Fibrosis will continue in the wake of the cuts.

Isted said: “The need to improve the speed and success of the biopharma industry R&D process is indisputable. I am delighted to join the team and contribute to unlocking value and growth for BenevolentAI in this exciting area of science.”

Busmalis added: “Joining BenevolentAI is an excellent opportunity to contribute to the forefront of AI-enabled drug discovery. I am thrilled to join the team, and I look forward to the opportunity of unlocking new possibilities and contributing to driving the Company’s growth strategy.”

Jackie Hunter recently retired as a non-executive director. Hunter had served on the board since March 2016.

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