The turbulent weeks at the Berlin-based drug developer Mologen never end: in mid-March, the company announced that Ignacio Faus would be stepping down as Chairman and member of the Management Board at the end of the month. Faus only joined Mologen in the summer of 2018.
Since CFO Walter Miller announced a few weeks ago that he did not want to extend his contract, which expired at the end of March, the chief executive in April should only be occupied by Medical Director Matthias Baumann. The supervisory board of Mologen AG (ISIN DE000A2LQ900 / WKN A2LQ90) announced that it would decide on Faus’ successor at short notice. Mologen is silent about the reasons for the departure. In a press statement, Faus said he was “grateful for the good time” and praised the company’s success: “I am sure that against the background of the current challenges, in particular the disputes among some shareholders, Mologen will make good progress despite everything.”
The beginning of the year did not go according to plan at Mologen. An extraordinary general meeting called for February 2019 by a minority request in November 2018 was called off two days before the date. Around 50 shareholders still came and complained that they had not been informed about the cancellation.
At the extraordinary general meeting, a motion was to be put to the vote that could have led to the dismissal of the chairman of the supervisory board, Oliver Krautscheid. The background to this was allegations that the major shareholder Global Derivative Trading GmbH (GDT) could have been given preferential treatment in the issue of convertible bonds and with regard to the special right of termination after the capital cut in 2018. The cancellation of the extraordinary general meeting was justified by Mologen with the offer made by GDT at short notice to expand the supervisory board from three to four people. The critical shareholder Deutsche Balaton AG is offered to propose a representative for the new post. Too bad that this offer was not coordinated with Deutsche Balaton. This described the shift as “unnecessary and legally worthy of review”.
Michael Kunert from the protective association of investors found clear words for the most recent events: “This is very bad theater at the expense of the free float shareholders, since everyone involved had more than three months to find a reasonable solution.”
The situation at Mologen has been muddled for years. After the departure of the then CEO Matthias Schroff (and the chief financial officer Jörg Petraß) in 2015, Paion manager Mariola Söhngen was supposed to regain the trust of the shareholders. But Söhngen was only partially successful. The partnering of the lead candidate lefitolimod, a DNA-based TLR9 agonist, has been sluggish. After many announcements and withdrawals, the bottom line is that there is currently a license agreement for lefitolimod limited to Asian countries with the US company Oncologie Inc.
The results of the phase III approval study IMPALA – with lefitolimod as monotherapy against metastatic colorectal cancer – which will be decisive for the further fate of Mologen will be available in summer 2019 at the earliest. In mid-March, the company announced that it intends to issue two million shares in order to provide Mologen with the necessary financial means for the next few months. With the approval of the Supervisory Board, the subscription price was set at EUR 2.10. The capital increase should bring in around EUR 4 million. Shareholders can exercise their subscription rights up to and including April 1, 2019. The company’s share price has been in flux over the past few weeks. After EUR 1.54 at the end of December and EUR 4.69 at the end of February, it is currently EUR 2.69.