Arbutus CEO William Collier to Retire

WARMINSTER, Pa., Nov. 07, 2023 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) — Arbutus Biopharma Corporation (Nasdaq: ABUS), a clinical-stage biopharmaceutical company leveraging its extensive virology expertise to develop a cure for people with chronic hepatitis B virus (cHBV) infection, today announced that William Collier will retire from his position as the Company’s President and Chief Executive Officer, and as a member of the Board of Directors, at the end of 2023.

Michael J. McElhaugh, Co-founder and Chief Operating Officer of Arbutus, will serve as Interim President and Chief Executive Officer, effective January 1, 2024. Mr. McElhaugh will also join the Board at that time. Mr. Collier and Mr. McElhaugh will work together closely to ensure a smooth transition.

“On behalf of the Board of Directors, I want to thank Bill for his leadership and many contributions to Arbutus,” commented Frank Torti, MD, Chairman of the Board of Directors of Arbutus. “During Bill’s time as CEO, we have achieved many important milestones, including advancing our lead HBV asset, imdusiran, one of the most advanced RNAi therapeutics in development, into multiple Phase 2a combination clinical trials. It has been a privilege to work with Bill, and we wish him the best in his retirement. We are pleased that Mike will lead Arbutus as interim CEO. Mike has extensive knowledge of Arbutus and our programs, and we are confident that he will continue to advance the Company’s pipeline and value for our shareholders.”

Mr. Collier, stated, “Leading Arbutus and working with such a passionate, dedicated leadership team to develop a functional cure for patients with chronic hepatitis B virus has been one of the most rewarding experiences of my professional career. I extend my deepest gratitude to our entire team, without whom our shared success would not have been possible. I am confident that Mike McElhaugh’s leadership and industry knowledge are ideally suited to continue to advance Arbutus.”

“As a co-founder of Arbutus, I am honored to have the opportunity to serve as interim CEO to lead Arbutus,” said Mr. McElhaugh. “It is a privilege to continue to serve our employees and the HBV community. I look forward to positioning Arbutus for continued success and creating value for our shareholders.”

About Michael J. McElhaugh

Since co-founding Arbutus, Mr. McElhaugh has served in multiple leadership roles including Chief Operating Officer, Chief Business Officer and Senior Vice President of Business Development and Commercial Strategy since July 2014. Mr. McElhaugh has more than 20 years of scientific, strategic, transactional and commercial experience spanning various operating roles within the pharmaceutical and biotech industries. Mr. McElhaugh joined Arbutus when it merged with OnCore Biopharma where he was a co-founder and served as its Chief Operating Officer. Prior to OnCore, Mr. McElhaugh was the Director, Hepatitis C Worldwide Commercialization at Bristol-Myers Squibb. Prior to Bristol-Myers Squibb, Mr. McElhaugh was the Director, Business Development and Market Analytics at Pharmasset, Inc. and remained in that role following the acquisition by Gilead Sciences Inc. Mr. McElhaugh also previously held various positions at Viropharma, Inc. and at Merck and Co., Inc. Mr. McElhaugh received a B.S. degree from St. Joseph’s University, an M.S. degree from Thomas Jefferson University and an M.B.A. degree from the Johnson Graduate School of Management at Cornell University.

About Arbutus

Arbutus Biopharma Corporation (Nasdaq: ABUS) is a clinical-stage biopharmaceutical company leveraging its extensive virology expertise to identify and develop novel therapeutics with distinct mechanisms of action, which can be combined to provide a functional cure for patients with chronic hepatitis B virus (cHBV). We believe the key to success in developing a functional cure involves suppressing HBV DNA, reducing surface antigen, and boosting HBV-specific immune responses. Our pipeline of internally developed, proprietary compounds includes an RNAi therapeutic, imdusiran (AB-729) and an oral PD-L1 inhibitor, AB-101. Imdusiran has generated meaningful clinical data demonstrating an impact on both surface antigen reduction and reawakening of the HBV-specific immune response. Imdusiran is currently in two Phase 2a combination clinical trials. AB-101 is currently being evaluated in a Phase 1a/1b clinical trial. Additionally, we have identified compounds in our internal PD-L1 portfolio that could also be used in oncology indications.  For more information, visit