Dr Lea will be responsible for leading the group's next phase of growth as it builds revenues and drives the global uptake of its innovative portfolio of stem cell services, including: CellPlan, the world's first stem cell healthcare insurance plan; WideCells, which is focused on stem cell storage services, and Wideacademy, the group's education and training division.
Dr Lea has extensive sales and management experience and success in delivering tangible financial, operational and efficiency-driven improvements within the healthcare sector, WideCells said.
He already has an in-depth understanding of the group, having led WideCells Limited, the group's stem cell storage and research division, and has also helped in a number of senior management positions.
Lopes may be stepping down but will remain with the group as an advisor. Similarly, non-executive director Dr Marilyn Orcharton is stepping down from the board but will assume an advisory role to support the building of the group's dental-related stem cell services, which will include the launch of a new stem cell storage service, TeethCells.
João Andrade, the chief executive officer of WideCells, thanks Lopes and Orcharton for their contribution to the company.
"Having worked with Jeremy, we understand his ability to develop commercial models and the operations around them. His understanding of our business, commercial acumen, global sales experience and knowledge of the healthcare sector make him well qualified to assume the role of group COO as we look to deliver significant revenue, profit and market share growth,” Andrade said.
“We have now completed our first sales for BabyCells (stem cell storage) and CellPlan (stem cell insurance) in the UK, which enabled us to complete full sales cycles for both products, placing us in a better position to grow our sales in the domestic and international markets. In the near term, this will include driving sales of our recently launched stem cell storage services, operated from our Institute of Stem Cell Technology in Manchester, where Jeremy will be based. We also continue to target additional sales agreements for our CellPlan insurance product, with a prospective opportunity identified in Portugal where this division is based,” Andrade said.
Change to shareholdings following the recent share placing
The company said that asset management firm Miton Group has increased its stake in the company to 11.06% following the purchase of 8.33mln shares as a result of participating in the recent share placing by WideCells.
Smaller Company Capital, which took 5mln shares in the fund-raising, has increased its holding in the company to 4.95%.