WaterMill Asset Management Refutes Ziopharm Oncology’s Desperate, Low-Road Smear Campaign
WaterMill Asset Management Corp. (together with its affiliates, “WaterMill” or “we”), which collectively with the other participants in its consent solicitation beneficially owns approximately 3.3% of the outstanding shares of Ziopharm Oncology, Inc. (NASDAQ: ZIOP) (“Ziopharm” or the “Company”), today responded to the low-road campaign that the incumbent Board of Directors (the “Board”) has apparently initiated in order to smear Holger Weis and misrepresent his more than six-year tenure at DemeRx Incorporated (“DemeRx”). WaterMill believes this seemingly underhanded stunt only reinforces the need for meaningful and urgent boardroom change. It is important to highlight that the incumbent Board’s desperate attack on Mr. Weis comes on the heels of Institutional Shareholder Services Inc. (“ISS”), a leading independent proxy voting advisory firm, recommending that Ziopharm shareholders vote for boardroom change on WaterMill’s WHITE consent card. ISS supports the addition of two WaterMill nominees (Jaime Vieser and Holger Weis) and the removal of two incumbents (Chairman Scott Tarriff and Director Elan Ezickson).
We want to highlight for shareholders that Mr. Weis has unimpeachable integrity and recently received several endorsements from highly-respected biotechnology and life science investors and leaders, including former DemeRx board members. Select endorsements are below.
Henry Mellon, former Chairman of DemeRx, provided the following statement today:
“I was chairman of the DemeRx board of directors for a significant portion of Holger’s tenure. He demonstrated integrity, professionalism and the highest degree of ethics at every turn – all in the interest of helping DemeRx succeed. Holger is a by-the-book corporate leader that shuns waste and prioritizes efficiency. In my view, there is no merit to any of the unsubstantiated claims referenced by Ziopharm on November 27.”
Skip Clemmons, Managing Director of Stephens Inc. and former DemeRx director, recently stated:
“I was on the board and Holger, while beginning our relationship as COO/CFO, also took on increasing responsibilities for operations and clinical trials leading to his eventual leadership of the company. In addition, Holger had the novel idea to combine opioids with a small amount of our compound to reduce the abuse liability of opioids, potentially slowing or preventing the onset of tolerance which leads to dependence. A major pharmaceutical company was eager to study this with our company. I found Holger to be fair, thoughtful, and professional in all things related to governance, compensation, and financial reporting. Further, his creative vision for additional applications created new clinical opportunities for us. Holger is a great leader, a generous colleague, a good man, and a solid contributor at the board level as well as management. I am proud to call him a friend and would be happy to work with him again.”