Assembly CEO Derek Small leaves his post

  • Push-out Score determined
  • After about six years in the position
  • Praise and thanks for Small
  • John McHutchison taking over
  • Small will remain as senior advisor at Assembly
  • Small said 101 words

(exechange) — South San Francisco, California, August 7, 2019 — Derek Small, chief executive of Assembly, leaves his position. As announced by Assembly Biosciences Inc. in a news release on Wednesday, August 7, 2019, Derek A. Small has left his post as Chief Executive Officer at the clinical-stage biotechnology company after about six years in the role, effective August 6, 2019.

Among the 3,000 largest publicly held companies incorporated in the U.S. based on market capitalization, the average tenure of the CEOs who departed over the past 12 months was 7.4 years, according to data compiled by exechange.

Derek Small’s duties as CEO will be taken over by John G. McHutchison, most recently Chief Scientific Officer and Head of Research and Development of Gilead Sciences.

The fact that Derek Small’s successor is brought in from outside suggests that the board may seek to stimulate change with fresh ideas and new initiatives.

“An ideal time to pass the torch”

Derek Small’s departure from the CEO post is explained as follows. Derek Small said: “it is an ideal time to pass the torch to a visionary leader who has an extensive track record of moving important therapies through to approval and out into the hands of physicians and patients.”

Small will remain as senior advisor at Assembly

“Mr. Small will return as managing director of his venture creation firm, Luson Bioventures, and will continue to serve on Assembly’s Board as a Director and senior advisor,” Assembly said.


Assembly said: “Dr. McHutchison, who will also join Assembly’s Board of Directors, succeeds Derek Small, who co-founded Assembly Biosciences in 2014.”

Share price decline

The announcement follows a decline in Assembly Biosciences, Inc.’s share price of 67% since October 2018.

Chaired by William Ringo

Assembly Biosciences, Inc. is chaired by William Ringo.

Ringo became a director in July 2014, upon the closing of the Assembly Pharmaceuticals acquisition, and was named non-executive Chairman in 2015.

In the position of CEO since 2014

Derek Small became CEO of the Company in January 2014.

Small has served as the Company’s President and Chief Executive Officer since February 2015.

Upon the closing of the Merger, Small joined the Company as a director and the Company’s President and Chief Operating Officer.

Small co-founded Assembly Pharmaceuticals, Inc. and served as its Executive Chairman from its inception in 2012 and Chief Executive Officer beginning in January 2014.

From March 2008 to January 2014, Small served as a founding director, President, and Chief Executive Officer of Naurex, Inc., a privately-held biotechnology company developing novel therapies for central nervous system (CNS) disorders whose clinical assets were acquired by Allergan Pharmaceuticals International Limited in 2014.

At Naurex, Small spearheaded the development of a rapidly acting novel antidepressant drug, Rapastinel, which has since been granted “breakthrough” designation from the FDA. Naurex’s preclinical programs formed the basis for a spinout CNS company, Aptinyx, Inc.

From January 2009 to April 2012, Small also served as a founding director, President, and Chief Executive Officer of Coferon, Inc., a privately-held biotechnology company, which is developing a novel self-assembling chemistry platform.

Assembly Pharmaceuticals, Naurex/Aptinyx and Coferon are portfolio enterprises of Luson Bioventures, LLC, a biotechnology and biopharmaceutical venture creation firm that Small founded in 2007 and continues to head.

Small received his B.S. in Business from Franklin College and studied global business at the Harlaxton College affiliate program in England.

Push-out Score determined

The Push-out Score™ determined by exechange gauges the pressure surrounding the management change on a scale of 0 to 10.

exechange reached out to Assembly and offered the company the opportunity to comment on the score.

Read the full story in the exechange report 32.2019 ($).