As biotech market remains chilly, Longeveron CEO steps down after 18-month run
The Longeveron CEO who helped take the biotech public is now set to resign.
Geoff Green, Longeveron’s chief executive since November 2020, will step down effective June 1 to pursue new opportunities, the company announced Monday afternoon. In his place, current CMO Chris Min will serve as interim CEO while Longeveron conducts a search for a permanent chief.
Green will remain a consultant for an undetermined time to help ensure a smooth transition, the company added. Shares $LGVN were down about 5% in post-market trading. He joins a cadre of biotech executives leaving their posts in the wake of a bear market that continues to batter the sector.
Longeveron has centered its pitch on developing cell therapies to help treat aging patients unable to walk for long distances. Green hopped aboard in 2016, first as senior VP of clinical operations and then transitioning to president in January 2019 before taking on the CEO role, per his LinkedIn page.
Shortly after the start of his CEO tenure in February 2021, Longeveron went public in a $26.6 million IPO. Though it came as a relatively modest pricing compared to what the rest of the sector was raising at the time, Longeveron’s public debut came as part of a wave of biotechs shooting for Nasdaq at a record pace.
But just like many other biotechs in recent months, Longeveron found that not everything is greener on the public side. The company’s experimental drug lomecel-B, a cell therapy for aging frailty, failed a key six-minute walk test endpoint of a Phase IIb trial back in August 2021, showing no significant improvement compared to placebo.
Execs pointed to an apparent positive “dose-response curve” and post-hoc analysis at nine months, but it didn’t assuage investor concerns. The company’s stock fell 25% at the time, and Longeveron soon became the focus of an anonymous short squeeze in November last year, seeing shares shoot up from about $3 to more than $40 apiece.
Longeveron has since become a focus of short sellers and retail investors, akin to the GameStop and AMC craze from early 2021, though on a smaller scale. Though the squeeze appears past its peak, the biotech’s stock remained well above its price before it began: As of Monday close, Longeveron stock was up 172% from mid-November.
Moving forward, Min’s temporary role will likely see him continue to shepherd lomecel-B forward in its three clinical studies. In addition to the August 2021 flop, Longeveron is also studying the program as a vaccine adjuvant for aging frailty and in metabolic syndrome for the condition. Min joined the biotech last month.