In a busy year to date and among five active proprietary programs and 19 partner programs, the UK-based company Oxford Biomedica announced in July this year a new three-year agreement with AstraZeneca for future manufacturing of its Covid-19 vaccine, expanding on the two companies’ deal in 2020.
Prior to joining Oxford Biomedica, Emily Holden was promoted three times over four years at Perspectum, a medical imaging company, departing as the IR and corporate communications manager at the Oxford University venture.
What appealed to you about this role?
I started my career in the life sciences space and have been fascinated by the science and technology that allows patients to receive life-changing therapies and better outcomes ever since.
When looking for a new challenge, it was important to me that the company was innovative, fast-paced, at the cutting edge of science and developing solutions that would have a real impact on people’s lives – Oxford Biomedica ticked all four boxes.
Has the job lived up to your expectations so far?
Without sounding too clichéd, it most definitely has. I joined in January this year, the same week the company announced its 80 percent acquisition of a new adeno-associated virus manufacturing and innovation business in Boston. It was an incredibly exciting and busy time for me and everyone at Oxford Biomedica. I came into the role wanting to gain as much exposure as possible to all the various IR workstreams, and the role has delivered on that front. I have received a huge amount of support from the management team and I’m grateful for its focus on personal development as much as on individual contribution to the company.
What was it like to start a job in the wake of a global pandemic? How much of the position has been remote versus in person so far?
When I joined Oxford Biomedica, life was slowly but surely beginning to return to some form of normal. Like a lot of other companies, we adopted a hybrid approach to working, so I was fortunate enough to be able to meet and work with my colleagues in person. In the early days I found it helpful to be in the office, especially in the run-up to results. More recently, however, I have been dividing my time between the office and working from home.
What does your typical day look like?
IR is extremely dynamic and heavily determined by the financial calendar, so wherever we are in the season influences how my days evolve. In IR, no two days are the same and priorities can change very quickly. Aside from the IR activities that occur more frequently, such as responding to investor inquiries, scheduling investor meetings, preparing and updating investor communication materials, organizing site visits, co-ordinating attendance at conferences, and so on, some aspects remain seasonal, such as working on the annual report, the AGM, financial results and roadshows.
What’s been the biggest highlight in the job so far?
There are two. The first has been working with such an inspiring and supportive team around me; the second was being tasked with helping to project-manage the drafting of the annual report a few weeks into my new role – there's surely no better way to learn about a company’s operations!
Has it been a challenge to stimulate investor interest given the downturn in the global biotech market?
Interest from investors in Oxford Biomedica remains strong despite worsening global economic conditions and the recent downturn in biotech stocks. Our work producing Covid-19 vaccines for AstraZeneca throughout the pandemic raised our public profile and, having demonstrated our world-leading expertise in cell and gene therapy, investors continue to follow the story closely.
This article originally appeared in the Fall 2022 issue of IR Magazine.