Health Care

Nyrada Inc (ASX:NYR) – James Bonnar



The CEO Mindset - James Bonnar is the Chief Executive Officer of Nyrada Inc (ASX:NYR)

James Bonnar is the Chief Executive Officer of Nyrada Inc (ASX:NYR), a preclinical stage, drug development company. The Company specialises in the development of novel small molecule drugs pertaining to the underlying pathological processes involved in cardiovascular, neurodegenerative and chronic inflammatory diseases.

What is your journey in becoming a CEO?
Working at the laboratory bench, and moving into quality assurance, regulatory affairs and management has given me a diverse skillset in the pharmaceutical industry and made the transition to CEO feel like a logical progression. An analytical chemist by training, I have over 25 years of experience in the industry. In the last 13 years I have mainly been involved in neurology clinical research, working in a broad variety of director and C-level roles, taking drugs from the laboratory and through preclinical and then human testing. Along the way, I also spent several years working in China where I established and managed a successful healthcare product manufacturing operation.  Being a people person, I am now relishing the opportunity to front Nyrada to the investment community.

Tell us a bit about your business and how you are commercialising?
Nyrada Inc (ASX:NYR) is an innovative pharmaceutical company with a focus on discovery and early stage development of novel treatments in areas of unmet clinical need and significant commercial potential. Our business model is to commercialise early, after safety and initial efficacy proof-of-concept has been established in the target patient population. Nyrada has two lead programs: a small molecule cholesterol-lowering drug (PCSK9 inhibitor) to reduce low-density lipoprotein cholesterol levels, and a drug to treat brain injury including traumatic brain injury and stroke. Shareholder value will be realised through licencing or the sale of drug assets and our cholesterol-lowering drug is expected to enter the clinic in late 2021.

How are you managing with the current COVID-19 pandemic on both business and personal front?
COVID-19 has had minimal impact on Nyrada operations. We operate largely as a virtual company, a model successfully adopted by a growing number of discovery and early phase pharmaceutical companies, and so the transition to working from home was seamless. Operations at our contract laboratory in China were affected for a short time only, causing minimal disruption. By the time lockdown occurred in India, where our drug synthesis vendor is located, we were able to implement a contingency plan, utilising a second facility in China. Transport and logistics are now back at full capacity meaning there are no delays anticipated in the movement of materials. One negative was that several investor events were cancelled or postponed meaning we had to adapt. In response we held an investor webinar instead which was very well attended, and I can see this engaging format becoming more popular in future.

What’s the most exciting thing about running your business?
Getting to interact everyday with so many bright and talented individuals. Also, travelling together as a team on a journey of discovery to help address serious and life-threatening diseases is very exciting and a key motivator. Previously, I worked on a brain injury study and saw first-hand the devastating affect it has on patients and their loved ones. Also, I lost a close friend to brain injury following a motorcycle accident a couple of years ago and it was extremely sad and frustrating knowing that the treatment options were so limited.

How do you measure success?
On a personal level, success is about meeting the standards I set for myself and living up to my values which are honesty, integrity and the search for truth, a fundamental tenet in science. In terms of Nyrada, success is underpinned by creating and clearly communicating to stakeholders our vision, adopting the right business model, conducting high quality research, and successfully executing on the optimal strategy. Long-term success will be judged by myself and our shareholders on developing safe and effective drugs that maximise return on investment. Success along the way is measured by delivering key milestones on time and within budget.

What do you think is the most important quality of being a CEO of a listed company?
I believe self-awareness and maintaining high ethical standards are two key attributes. The former because it drives learning and improvement, and the latter because it builds trust, which is vital in establishing and building relationships, and in fostering the right corporate culture. If you have these attributes, are smart, have a good work ethic and are passionate about what you do then you will be successful as a CEO.

What is your favourite book?
Two books I read recently that were hard to put down:
Shoe Dog by Phil Knight the creator of Nike, for entrepreneurial inspiration and because it highlights the value that passion, persistence, and a great team can bring to a business.

Bad Blood by John Carreyrou, the extremely interesting yet sorry tale of Theranos, for how not to operate a technology company, where there was vision and of entrepreneurial spirit in spades, but poor science coupled with bad ethics and leadership.

What message do you want to send to our readership in Asia?
Recent events have made us think more about the importance of our health and the fragility of life and this has raised the profile of technology companies developing new medicines to treat life-threatening diseases. Nyrada has two very exciting programs, both of which have huge commercial promise. Our cholesterol-lowering drug has the potential to improve and extend lives and our brain injury drug will offer hope to stroke and traumatic brain injury patients who currently have limited treatment options.

How can people connect with you?

Want to be on the list next time this company raises capital? Open an account with Fresh Equities and start exploring capital raises –

From Left: James Bonnar (CEO), Benny Evison Ph.D (Chief Scientific Officer), Alex Suchowerska (Neuroscience Researcher) and Jasneet Parmar (Research Scientist)

Click to comment