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Posted: February 1, 2008
Minerva Biotechnologies Fires CEO, Files Lawsuit
(Nanowerk News) Nanotechnology-focused biotech firm Minerva Biotechnologies Corp. has fired its CEO and brought suit against him in Massachusetts Superior Court, according to company officials.
Jim Czirr, a former mining executive and a co-founder and director of Newton-based biotech Pro-Pharmaceuticals Inc., was terminated as CEO of Minerva by the board of directors on Jan. 15, according to founder and chief scientific officer Cynthia Bamdad. Czirr was hired in October 2005.
No details of the suit against Czirr were released, but Bamdad did say that the suit was filed earlier that week. "A special committee of the board of directors recommended the action," Bamdad said.
Minerva officials said the company has begun looking for a new chief executive. The company started using biotech industry veteran Glenn Rice as a consultant about three months ago, and he is likely to be named acting CEO at an upcoming board meeting, according to Bamdad. Rice is also a strong candidate for the permanent position, Bamdad said.
Minerva Biotechnologies was founded in 1999 by Bamdad, based on her work in using nanoparticles in fields such as drug discovery, proteomics, opto-electronics and nanoscale biosensors. The privately held company has raised about $12 million from private and angel investors, and through government grants and military contracts.
The company shifted its strategy in 2001 to use its nanoparticle technology in-house to develop and identify potential drug candidates. Bamdad said that the company now has a number of small-molecule and biologics drug candidates in animal studies as anti-cancer compounds.