Former Protein Sciences CEO says she was forced out as head of Meriden-based company

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MERIDEN — The former CEO of Protein Sciences said Wednesday she had not agreed to the terms of her separation from Sanofi Pasteur and has consulted an attorney.

Manon Cox, a 20-year Protein Sciences management leader, disagreed with Sanofi Pasteur’s statement Tuesday that her “separation was done in compliance with her existing work contract.” Sanofi Pasteur management notified Cox and Protein Sciences founder and global business development director Daniel Adams that both were no longer employed at Sanofi. 

”Dan is also going to leave,” Cox said. 

Adams confirmed he was also terminated, and will consult with shareholders about the next step. 

Sanofi Pasteur acquired Protein Sciences on Research Parkway for $650 million in cash and another $100 million when certain benchmarks for the company’s vaccine Flublok were achieved. The deal closed last fall, and Cox was named transition team leader to oversee the 100 Protein Sciences employees. Adams said the company cannot reach the final step without Cox at the helm.

“She has driven every aspect of Flublok getting approved,” Adams said about Cox. “I’m not hearing nice stuff from shareholders. They (Sanofi) are leading us to believe they are not interested in making that milestone. We’re going to have to keep their feet to the fire.”

Adams has experienced acquisitions before and expected his own employment to end, but didn’tforsee Cox being let go so quickly.  He drafted her contract that was approved by shareholders.

“What they are doing is inconsistent,” he said. 

Her last day is Jan. 22, according to a termination letter she received from Sanofi.

Adams bought the company in 1996 when it was named Microgenysis. He rebranded it to Protein Sciences and hired new biologists to continue its cell technology developing vaccine. He was also chairman of the company’s board of directors. 

Cox has been with Protein Sciences since 1998 and was named president and CEO since 2010. She serves on the scientific advisory boards of Pall BioPharmaceuticals and iCubed, the Board of Directors of United Way Meriden & Wallingford and the Netherlands-America Foundation. She holds a master’s degree in business administration.

Cox and Adams sought and received National Institute of Health funding for final testing and manufacturing of Flublock, the company’s signature vaccine. It was also working with global partners on SARS and Zika vaccines. 

The sale to Sanofi was viewed as a way to combine Protein Sciences bio-technology with Sanofi’s financial resources. 

“It was the best we could do,” Cox said.  

Neither Cox nor Adams can say with any certainty whether Sanofi will keep the Research Parkway operation. 

“Since they own the company, they can do what they want,” Adams said.


Twitter: @Cconnbiz


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