The Company’s shares trade on the Alternative Investment Market (AIM) of the London Stock Exchange.

The Board is committed to high standards of corporate governance and adheres to the Quoted Companies Alliance (QCA) Corporate Governance Code for small and mid-size quoted companies (the “QCA Code”).

The Board has voluntarily applied the QCA Code since 2014, with elements of the UK Corporate Governance Code prior to that. Since 28 September 2018, AIM companies were required to comply or explain against a recognised corporate governance code. The QCA Code was revised in April 2018 (“QCA Code 2018”) and sets out 10 broad principles of corporate governance, states what are considered to be appropriate corporate governance arrangements for growing companies and requires companies to provide an explanation about how they are meeting the principles through certain prescribed disclosures.

The Board has considered how each principle is applied and provides below an explanation of the approach taken in relation to each and how they support the Company’s medium to long-term success.

In accordance with Section 172 of the Companies Act 2006, the Board recognises the importance of our stakeholders to our business. The Board has thought carefully about how to formalise its consideration of the impact of its decisions on key stakeholders and has updated the report below on how it applies the S172 duties under the Companies Act 2006, in particular as it relates to QCA Principles 2 and 3.

Further information on the Group’s governance practices, the business model and strategy can be found in the Group’s Annual Report and Accounts which are available on this website or from the Company on request.

This governance statement was last reviewed and updated on 24 June 2020.

Chairman’s Statement

As Chairman of the ANGLE plc (“ANGLE”) Board, it is my responsibility to ensure that the Board is performing its role effectively and has the capacity, ability, structure and support to enable it to continue to do so.

We believe that a sound and well understood governance structure is essential to maintain the integrity of the Group in all its actions, to enhance performance and to impact positively on our shareholders, staff, customers, suppliers and other stakeholders.

ANGLE applies the QCA Code 2018 as the benchmark for measuring our adherence to good governance principles. These principles provide us with a clear framework for assessing our performance as a Board and as a Company, and the report below shows how we apply the Code’s ten guiding principles in practice and also incorporate Section 172 of the Companies Act 2006.

Strategy and business model (QCA Principle 1)

The Group’s strategy and business model is explained within the Strategic Report section of the Annual Report and Accounts 31 December 2019 on pages 02 to 33 and is summarised below.

ANGLE is a world-leading liquid biopsy company commercialising a platform technology that can capture cells circulating in blood, such as cancer cells, even when they are as rare in number as one cell in one billion blood cells, and harvest the cells for analysis.

ANGLE’s cell separation technology is called Parsortix and is the subject of granted patents in multiple jurisdictions. The system is based on a microfluidic device that captures cells based on a combination of their size and compressibility.

The analysis of the cells that can be harvested from patient blood with ANGLE’s Parsortix system has the potential to deliver profound improvements in clinical and health economic outcomes in the treatment and diagnosis of various forms of cancer.

ANGLE has made strong progress in its four-pronged strategy for achieving widespread adoption of its Parsortix system in the emerging multi-billion dollar liquid biopsy market:

  • Completion of rigorous large-scale clinical studies run by leading cancer centres, demonstrating the effectiveness of different applications of the system in cancer patient care
  • Securing regulatory approval of the system with the emphasis on FDA clearance as the de facto global gold standard. ANGLE is seeking to be the first company ever to gain FDA clearance for a system which harvests circulating tumour cells from blood for subsequent analysis
  • Establishing a body of published evidence from leading cancer centres showing the effectiveness of the system through peer-reviewed publications, scientific data and clinical research evidence, highlighting a wide range of potential applications
  • Establishing partnerships with large healthcare companies for market deployment and development of multiple other clinical applications incorporating the Parsortix system.

ANGLE intends to establish an independent accredited clinical laboratory that will have the capability of offering validated clinical tests. This clinical laboratory will be used as an accelerator and demonstrator in support of the Company’s established plan for product sales of Parsortix instruments and cassettes.

ANGLE’s ultimate objective is the widespread adoption of the Parsortix system in the diagnosis, treatment and monitoring of cancer patients.

ANGLE is seeking to become the first ever company to receive FDA Class II clearance for a product for harvesting intact circulating tumour cells from patient blood for subsequent analysis. US regulatory clearance by the FDA is considered the global standard for approval of medical diagnostic systems and ANGLE believes that such clearance would provide ANGLE’s Parsortix system with a further competitive differentiation, which would accelerate all forms of commercial adoption of the system in both research and clinical settings.

Large-scale deployment of the Parsortix system across numerous cancer types and application areas requires ANGLE to partner with large, global healthcare companies to take advantage of their distribution and sales channels and economic resources.

Meeting shareholder needs (QCA Principle 2)

The Company seeks to maintain and enhance good relations with its shareholders and analysts. The Group’s Interim and Annual Reports are supplemented by regular published updates to investors on commercial progress. All investors have access to up-to-date information on the Group via its website, www.angleplc.com, which has an investor relations section providing contact details for investor relations queries, details on the Company’s share price, share price graphs and share trading activity. The Company also distributes Group announcements electronically. Shareholders and other interested parties wishing to receive announcements via email are invited to sign up to the “Email Alert” facility in the Investor Relations, Regulatory News section on the Company’s website.

The Directors seek to build on a mutual understanding of objectives between the Company and its shareholders, especially considering the specialist and medium-term nature of the business. Institutional shareholders, private client brokers and analysts are in contact with the Directors through a regular programme of briefing presentations and meetings to discuss issues and give feedback, primarily following the announcement of the interim and preliminary results, but also throughout the year as required. The Board also uses and receives formal feedback through the Company’s joint stockbrokers, financial public relations advisor and other advisors. Investor forums and presentation seminars and shows provide other channels of communication to shareholders, analysts and potential investors. Individual shareholders are welcome to and regularly make contact with the Company via email or telephone.

All shareholders are encouraged to make use of the Company’s Annual General Meeting (AGM) to vote on resolutions (see Principle 10) and to raise any questions regarding the strategy, management, operations and corporate governance of the Group. The Chairmen of the Audit, Remuneration and Nomination Committees are available to answer any questions from shareholders at the AGM.

finnCap and WG Partners act as joint brokers to the Company, to further improve the quality and quantity of investor relations activities.

Along with the usual presentations and webinars the Company held a number of non-deal roadshows in the period and a deal roadshow resulting in a successful fundraise in July 2019 which was oversubscribed and marked a successful introduction to the US market with the addition of two significant US investors.

In the reporting period to 31 December 2019 we changed our IR website tools providers to improve the shareholder experience with easier to use investor tools, and have seen an increase of 9% in subscribers to our email alert facility.

The addition of a Corporate Responsibility Report to the Annual Report and Accounts 31 December 2019 on pages 32 and 33 is in response to shareholder requests to better understand how the Group deals with environmental, social and governance (ESG) issues.

Manage our responsibilities to wider stakeholders (QCA Principle 3)

The Board recognises its prime responsibility under UK corporate law is to promote the success of the Group for the benefit of its members as a whole. We conduct business in an ethical way and take seriously our responsibilities to our employees, clinical study partners, contractors, key opinion leaders, trading partners, research and laboratory customers, suppliers and regulatory authorities.

We recognise that our employees are a core fundamental component to our success. We hold regular all-employee meetings to discuss business progress and provide updates on initiatives. These meetings also include opportunities for staff to present on ongoing projects. One of the goals of these meetings is to ensure that staff feel valued and engaged with the wider Group.

ANGLE provides training and development programmes, inclusive and interactive appraisal systems, merit-based promotions, flexible and family-friendly employee policies and a range of employee and family benefits. Woven throughout all initiatives and programmes is a philosophy which promotes an open culture for discussion and honest feedback. Employees are encouraged to be creative and offer ideas across the Group. Group-wide competitions have been held to encourage creativity and camaraderie. An example of this in the period was a competition for the naming and branding of our product lines.

The Company places importance on the development of internal candidates for management roles and utilises a combination of competency and development plans to progress this. During the period we introduced a Management Charter which formalises the ANGLE culture and clarifies our expectations to and from staff, and puts in place a structure to ensure we achieve it. This has delivered a number of new initiatives across the Group during the period including a refined structured promotions process, a coaching programme to support managers and the development of a New Manager training course to be delivered in 2020. Local teams have engaged staff in a number of team building events.

ANGLE operate a high standard of quality management to ensure we comply with the appropriate regulations in the various territories in which we operate. The Group uses external specialists where needed in relation to areas such as the quality systems and health and safety.

The complex nature of our products and product development process means that close working relationships with a number of key suppliers are essential to ensure we receive the highest quality products and services. An ISO 13485:2016 quality system is mandatory for key suppliers. This involves senior staff clearly communicating requirements and working closely with suppliers to develop appropriate products and services. We ensure there are clear processes for change control to avoid issues and clear billing arrangements and we aim to pay suppliers based on the terms agreed. As a result we receive high quality goods delivered on time and to specification. It puts us in a position to negotiate discounts, for example, bulk discounts on cassettes with the first large-scale frame order in the period.

We work closely with key opinion leaders (KOLs) and customers who have access to patient samples, who provide feedback on their use of the system, including problems encountered, development needs such as new processes and workflows and working with different downstream analysis systems. Our success, competitive advantage and reputation are dependent on understanding these needs and providing solutions. The relationships are managed by key account managers. KOLs, customers and the Group regularly present at scientific conferences. We have a leveraged R&D model driving an increased number of peer-reviewed publications enabled by the Parsortix system in order to be at the forefront of CTC research and clinical adoption.

In the reporting period to 31 December 2019 six peer-reviewed publications were issued by KOLs and customers (taking the total to 26). Most notably these included a publication from UKE Hamburg demonstrating the utility of the Parsortix system for determining PD-L1 status of circulating tumour cells, and a publication from Barts Cancer Institute (UK) demonstrating the capability of Parsortix system to detect clinically significant prostate cancer to reduce over-diagnosis and over-treatment. We presented at five conferences in the period. ANGLE customer, University of Basel presented their breakthrough research on CTC clusters at the ACTC conference in Corfu.

We operate in a highly regulated area of business. National governments and regulators (Competent Authorities) implement highly structured product certification regimes to national, supra-national and international standards. Such certifications are necessary by law to manufacture and market research and clinical devices.

Notified Bodies are designated by Competent Authorities to perform assessments to agreed standards. ANGLE is subject to those assessments where appropriate to the products manufactured and marketed by the Company.

We employ consultants with high levels of regulatory knowledge, experience and contacts to ensure our working knowledge is comprehensive, up to date and appropriate to our needs. Guidance documents and training are identified to enable us to keep up to date with regulatory developments across different regulatory bodies and different standards domains.

Through engagement, we ensure that we understand the regulatory landscape so that we can identify and comply with all applicable product standards in all relevant territories. We engage with regulatory authorities, through telephone, email and face-to-face meetings, to ensure we obtain their views, understand the regulations and their impact on our work plans and submissions.

We have maintained ISO 13485:2016 accreditation (Europe) and CE marking (IVDD) for the intended use and are working towards securing ISO 13485:2016 accreditation (Canada) and are in the final stages of completing our submission for FDA clearance for the intended use. We have developed a regulatory roadmap to support future product strategy.

Risk management (QCA Principle 4)

The Board is responsible for identifying the major business risks faced by the Group and for determining the appropriate course of action and systems to manage and mitigate those risks.

The nature of medical diagnostics development and the early stage and scale of our operations means there are a number of risks and uncertainties. The Directors maintain a risk register and have summarised the principal risks and uncertainties that could have a material impact on the Group. The Principal Risks and Uncertainties are reported on pages 24 to 29 of the Annual Report and Accounts 31 December 2019.

The Board monitors the key areas such as clinical applications, competitive position, financial, intellectual property, manufacturing, market acceptance, operational, regulation and quality assurance, research and development, staff, key suppliers and key partners. An ongoing assessment is made of their potential impact and mitigation strategies and actions. New potentially material risks which arise between reviews, such as Brexit and the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic, are added to the risk register, discussed at Board level as they arise and followed up by the Board as appropriate.

The Audit Committee has adopted formal terms of reference (see Principle 9) and considers financial reporting, corporate governance and internal controls. Its review of financial reporting includes discussion of major accounting issues, policies and compliance with International Financial Reporting Standards (IFRS), the law (Companies Act 2006), review of key management judgements and estimates, review and update of the risk register, risk identification and assessment and risk management and mitigation activities and going concern assumptions.

Internal control systems are designed to meet the particular needs of the Group and the risks to which it is exposed. The system of internal control is designed to manage the risk of failure to achieve business objectives, rather than to eliminate it, and by its nature can only provide reasonable but not absolute assurance against material misstatement or loss.

An internal audit function is not considered necessary or practical due to the size of the Group and the close day-to-day control exercised by the Executive Directors and senior management. The Board will continue to monitor the requirement to have an internal audit function.

The key procedures that the Directors have established with a view to providing an effective system of internal control are as follows:

Management structure

The Board has overall responsibility for the Group and focuses on the overall Group strategy (see Principle 1) and the interests of shareholders (see Principles 2 and 10). There is a schedule of matters specifically reserved for decision by the Board (see Principle 9). The Board has an organisational structure with clearly defined responsibilities and lines of accountability and each Executive Director has been given responsibility for specific aspects of the Group’s affairs (see Principles 5 and 9). Internal financial risks are controlled through authorisation procedures/levels and segregation of accounting duties.

Quality and integrity of personnel

The integrity and competence of personnel are ensured through high recruitment standards and subsequent training. We assess employee competence at all levels, identify development requirements and provide training and development support, aligned with business and personal objectives. High-quality, motivated personnel are seen as an essential part of the control environment.

Budgets and reporting

Each year the Board approves the annual budget which includes an assessment of key risk areas. Performance is monitored and relevant action taken throughout the year through regular reporting to the Board of variances from the budget and preparation of updated forecasts for the year together with information on the key risk areas.

Investment and divestment appraisal

All material investment and divestment decisions require appraisal, review and approval by the Board.

Internal controls

The Board reviews the effectiveness of the Group’s systems of internal controls and has a process for the continuous identification, evaluation and management of the significant risks the Group faces. Assessment considers the external environment, the industry in which the Group operates, the internal environment and non-financial risks such as operational and legal risks. The risks identified are ranked based on significance and likelihood of occurrence. The Board reviews the controls in place to mitigate those risks and improvements are made where required. The Group conducts its operations within the ISO 13485:2016 quality management system and continues to invest in its systems and people in light of Group strategy and risk assessment to ensure the appropriate operational controls and measures are in place and working effectively. The quality system is subject to annual Notified Body audit (BSI). The Group uses external specialist resources (regulatory, design, manufacturing etc) as required. Day-to-day responsibility for the implementation of effective internal control and risk monitoring rests with senior management.

Metrics and quality objectives continue to be actively implemented and monitored as part of a continual improvement programme. A number of incremental improvements have been made in the reporting period to 31 December 2019 driven by planned internal quality system auditing and risk assessment and other larger improvements have been identified and are being progressed. Improvements have included 1) data security (password) minimum criteria requirements and training; 2) segregation of duties review and refinement; 3) electronics systems for supplier and equipment control within the quality system; 4) piloting of electronic forms, document signatures and signing authorities; 5) improvements to purchasing procedures and inbound goods inspections; and 6) implemented a new dashboard reporting system across the Group.

Maintain a well-functioning Board (QCA Principle 5)

The Board of Directors is led by the Chairman, has overall responsibility for strategy (see Principle 1) and is responsible to shareholders for the governance of ANGLE plc and for the effective operation and management of the Group. Its aim is to provide leadership and control in order to ensure the growth and development of a successful business, while representing the interests of the Company’s shareholders (see Principles 2 and 10).

Composition

The Board comprises the Chairman, two Non-executive and two Executive Directors. The QCA Code recommends there are at least two non-executive directors.

Different Directors hold the roles of Chairman and Chief Executive and there is a clear division of responsibilities between them. The Chairman is responsible for corporate governance, for overseeing the running of the Board, ensuring that no individual or group dominates the Board’s decision making and ensuring that the Non-executive Directors are properly briefed on matters. The Chief Executive has responsibility for implementing the strategy of the Board and managing the day-to-day business activities of the Group through his management of the Executive Directors and senior managers. The Finance Director also acts as the Company Secretary as the size and nature of the business activities do not justify a dedicated person or a need to outsource the activity; in this role he supports the Chairman directly on governance matters as well as dealing with legal and regulatory compliance.

The Board’s composition is geared toward the Group’s current stage of development and priorities and will be refreshed as appropriate. The skill set of the Board therefore includes experience in non-executive director/chairman/CEO roles, listed companies, investor relations, fundraising, medical diagnostics, technology development, product development and commercialisation, lab-developed tests, CE Mark and FDA cleared product approvals and reimbursement. Individual Directors possess a wide variety of skills and experience and biographical details of the Directors are set out on this website at https://angleplc.com/board-of-directors/ and on pages 34 and 35 of the Annual Report and Accounts 31 December 2019 There are currently no female or ethnic minority directors. The Board is confident both that the opportunities in the Company are not excluded or limited by any diversity issues (including gender) and that the Board nevertheless contains the necessary mix of experience, skills and other personal qualities and capabilities necessary to deliver its strategy. This area will continue to be monitored.

Independence

The Chairman and Non-executive Directors are considered by the Board to be independent of management and free of any relationship which could materially interfere with the exercise of their independent judgement. They do not have a significant shareholding or represent a major shareholder, they receive no remuneration from the Company other than directors’ fees and occasional consultancy fees, they have no day-to-day involvement in running the business and have never been employees of the Company, they have no personal financial and/or material interest in any other matters to be decided, such as contracts, and they have no conflicts of interests arising from cross-directorships or advisory roles. Each Board meeting starts with a declaration of Directors’ interest to identify potential or actual conflicts of interest. The Board considers that the Non-executive Directors are of sufficient calibre to bring the strength of independence to the Board. The Board has nominated Brian Howlett as Senior Independent Director. Issues can also be raised directly through the normal channels of the Chairman, Chief Executive and Finance Director and where necessary the Non-executive Directors can be approached directly.

The Chairman joined the Board in September 2006. The Chairman was independent at the time of his appointment and under the previous QCA code he counted as an independent director. The Board considers that the Chairman’s long standing knowledge and detailed experience of the business are extremely valuable and that the length of tenure does not affect his independence of judgement.

Committees of the Board

The Board maintains Audit, Remuneration and Nomination Committees. All Committees operate with written terms of reference (see Principle 9).

Ensure Directors have necessary, up-to-date skills (QCA Principle 6)

Individual Directors possess a wide variety of skills and experience.

Detailed biographical information on the individual Directors can be found on this website at https://angleplc.com/board-of-directors/

The key skills they bring to the Board are:

  • Garth Selvey, Chairman – extensive experience of the listed sector and leading companies.
  • Andrew Newland, Chief Executive – over 29 years of experience in setting up, leading and building technology-based businesses, over 19 years leading specialist medtech businesses, and over ten years in the liquid biopsy space.
  • Ian Griffiths, Finance Director – over 30 years of experience in finance and technology-based businesses, and over ten years in the liquid biopsy space.
  • Jan Groen, Non-executive Director – expertise in new product development, including development and successful commercialisation of CE marked and FDA cleared diagnostic products and lab-developed tests in Europe and the USA.
  • Brian Howlett, Non-executive Director – extensive commercial operations experience of the medtech sector.

The Non-executive Directors also serve on other boards in the medical diagnostics sector which gives a broad range of skills, capabilities and experience. All Directors are able to take training and/or independent professional advice in the furtherance of their duties if necessary. Directors keep their skill set up to date through attending industry events, seminars and research. The Executive Directors will typically undertake specific training during the year. All Directors also have access to the Company’s Nominated Advisor, legal advisors, financial advisors and other independent professional advisors as required. Professional advisers provide briefings and update notes on necessary legislation from time to time. 

No individual Director or Committee of the Board received any external advice in relation to their Board duties in the year.

There is an induction process for new directors including briefing by the Nominated Advisor and the Company.

Evaluate Board performance (QCA Principle 7)

The Company supports the concept of an effective Board leading and controlling the Company. The Chairman discusses and deals with any concerns with an individual director, or the board as a whole, on board performance as they arise. Additionally, the Board undertakes a periodic formal evaluation of its performance, its Directors and its Committees, the last one being in 2018. The review, led by the Chairman, involves each Board member providing feedback and comments on the others and where necessary specific actions are identified to improve certain areas.

The evaluation criteria take into account the Financial Reporting Council’s guidance on board effectiveness. The criteria against which board, committee and individual effectiveness is considered comprise the board structure (composition, constitution, diversity and succession planning – see Principle 5), the dynamics and functioning of the board (annual board meeting schedule, quality of information, interactions and communications with the executive directors and senior management team, cohesiveness and the quality of participation in board meetings), the board’s role in strategy and the financial reporting process. Evaluation procedures are evolving to ensure they are relevant to the Group’s stage of development and board dynamics. Due to the experience and size of the Board and the size of the Company, the Board does not consider it necessary to have evaluations facilitated by an external consultant but will keep this under review.

Promote a values-based corporate culture (QCA Principle 8)

The Board places emphasis on its values-based corporate culture and ethical behaviour which are crucial to the Group’s reputation in the highly regulated field in which it operates. The Group’s success depends on maintaining a supportive, innovative and can-do culture when working with suppliers and customers.

The Group manages a highly regarded quality management system which has a very strong influence on culture. The Group’s competency framework sets values-based expectations at all levels in terms of the way we communicate and behave towards each other and external stakeholders. Our competency framework links to our performance management system and, in turn, to our rewards strategy.

The Group operates a flat structure with all staff having the ability to discuss matters with Directors and senior managers. The management teams meet regularly to promote communications and teamwork. The majority of projects take a team based approach. Staff regularly work at different offices. Recruitment practices are heavily focused on recruiting people with similarly strong values. We have expanded our HR team to ensure a consistently open and ethical approach to recruitment, management and employee communication throughout our offices.

The Group has established a Management Charter which formalises and clarifies expectations that managers at all levels take responsibility for supporting and promoting an ethical values-based culture. Senior managers are coached in the development and maintenance of an open and ethical culture. This Charter forms the basis of our management development programme and is part of management objectives.

The Group has taken further steps to promote a supportive culture. These include improving healthcare benefits, training Mental Health First Aiders, subscription for employees to Thrive: Mental Wellbeing app and team building events.

The highly skilled and diverse nature of the Group influences culture which, at the most recent review, is characterised by:

  • Qualifications, with 87% of staff having higher education qualifications including Degrees, Masters and Doctorates as well as Chartered Accountants and MBAs, with the majority of staff having multiple qualifications.
  • Gender split, with 48%:52% Male:Female.
  • Different nationalities, with 31 different countries represented.
Maintain fit for purpose governance structures (QCA Principle 9)

Roles and responsibilities

Chairman: the Chairman is responsible for the leadership of the Board and ensuring the effective running and management of the Board. He is also responsible for the Board’s oversight of the Company’s affairs, which includes ensuring that the Directors receive accurate, timely and clear information, ensuring the effective contribution of the Non-executive Directors and implementing effective communication with shareholders.

Chief Executive Officer: the Chief Executive Officer is responsible for the day-to-day management and the executive leadership of the business. His other responsibilities include the progress and development of objectives for the Company, managing the Company’s risk exposure, implementing the decisions of the Board and ensuring effective communication with shareholders and regulatory bodies.

Non-executive Directors’ independence

The Board considers the Non-executive Directors to be sufficiently independent to provide appropriate oversight and scrutiny (see Principle 5).

Service contracts and letters of appointment

The two Executive Directors Andrew Newland and Ian Griffiths have service contracts with the Company dated 9 March 2004 and effective from 17 March 2004, as amended from time to time. The contracts are not set for a specific term, but include a rolling twelve-month notice period by the Company or the individual. In the event of a change in control, the Executives have the right to terminate their employment without the requirement to work their notice period.

The Chairman Garth Selvey has a letter of appointment dated and effective from 7 September 2006. The Non-executive Director Brian Howlett has a letter of appointment dated and effective from 7 January 2013. The Non-executive Director Dr. Jan Groen has a letter of appointment dated and effective from 1 November 2018. These letters are issued in place of service contracts. These appointments are not set for a specific term and are terminable at will without notice by either party.

Re-election and election of Directors

In accordance with the Company’s Articles of Association, Directors are subject to re-election every three years, and newly appointed Directors are subject to election at the first Annual General Meeting (AGM) after their appointment.

All Directors were re-elected by the shareholders at the AGM held on 30 October 2019 and accordingly no Directors are seeking re-election at this AGM.

Committees of the Board

The Board maintains Audit, Remuneration and Nomination Committees. All Committees operate with written terms of reference, the details of which can be found on the website. Their minutes are circulated for review and consideration by the full Board of Directors, supplemented by oral reports on matters of particular significance from the Committee Chairmen at Board meetings.

Audit Committee

The members of the Committee are the Non-executive Director Brian Howlett (Chairman of the Audit Committee), the Chairman Garth Selvey and the Non-executive Director Jan Groen. The Audit Committee meets at least twice a year to review the interim and annual accounts before they are submitted to the Board. The external auditors, Finance Director and Chief Executive may attend by invitation. Provision is made to meet with the auditors at least once a year without any Executive Director present.

The Committee has adopted formal terms of reference and considers financial reporting, corporate governance and internal controls. Its review of financial reporting includes discussion of major accounting issues, policies and compliance with International Financial Reporting Standards (IFRS), the law (Companies Act 2006), review of key management judgements and estimates, review and update of the risk register, risk assessment and risk management activities and going concern assumptions. It also reviews the scope and results of the external audit and the independence and objectivity of the auditors and makes recommendations to the Board on issues surrounding their remuneration, rotation of partners/staff, appointment, resignation or removal. The Audit Committee also considers and determines relevant action in respect of any control issues raised by the auditors. The Audit Committee is also responsible for monitoring the provision of non-audit services provided by the Group’s auditors and assesses the likely impact on the auditor’s independence and objectivity when considering an award of any material contract for additional services. The fees in respect of audit and non-audit services are disclosed in Note 3; the fees for non-audit services are not deemed to be significant enough to impair their independence and objectivity. A new ethical guide for auditors came into force with effect from 15 March 2020 which tightens up on the non-audit services that auditors can provide. The Audit Committee will be considering the potential impact of this on the services provided.

Remuneration Committee

The members of the Committee are the Chairman Garth Selvey (Chairman of the Remuneration Committee) and the Non-executive Directors Brian Howlett and Jan Groen. The Remuneration Committee meets as required. The Chief Executive and Finance Director may attend by invitation but are not present when matters affecting their own remuneration arrangements are considered.

The Committee has adopted formal terms of reference and the Committee reviews and sets the remuneration and terms and conditions of employment of the Executive Directors and senior management. It also agrees a policy for the salaries of all staff and is responsible for the development of the Company’s remuneration scheme. The decisions of the Committee are formally ratified by the Board.

The Company is not required by either the AIM Listing Rules or the Companies Act to produce a remuneration report but provides the information in the Annual Report and Accounts because of its commitment to maintaining high standards of corporate governance. The Company’s Remuneration Policy is the responsibility of the Remuneration Committee. The Remuneration Policy, in so far as it relates to the Directors, is subject to an advisory vote by shareholders every three years, and was last approved at the 2018 Annual General Meeting (AGM). The Directors’ Annual Remuneration Report is subject to an advisory vote by shareholders at each AGM.

The Remuneration Report on pages 49 to 51 of the Annual Report and Accounts 31 December 2019 provides details of the Remuneration Policy and the Directors’ Annual Remuneration.

Nomination Committee

The members of the Committee are the Chairman Garth Selvey (Chairman of the Nomination Committee) and the Non-executive Directors Brian Howlett and Jan Groen. The Nomination Committee meets as required. The Chief Executive and Finance Director may attend by invitation.

The Committee has adopted formal terms of reference and is responsible for reviewing the structure, size and composition of the Board, planning for succession and for identifying and recommending to the Board suitable candidates for both executive and non-executive Board appointments.

Information

Management supply the Board and/or Committees with appropriate and timely information, including a business update and management accounts so that trading performance can be regularly reviewed.

Matters reserved for the Board

The Board has a schedule of matters specifically reserved to it for decision, including the review and approval of:

  • Group policy and long-term plans and strategy for the profitable development of the business;
  • interim and annual Financial Statements;
  • major investments and divestments;
  • other significant financing matters such as fundraising, material contracts including clinical studies and product development, acquisitions and capital item purchases;
  • cash flow forecasts, annual budgets and amendments; and
  • senior executive remuneration and appointments.

Share dealing code

The Company has adopted and operates a share dealing code governing the share dealings of the Directors and applicable employees to ensure compliance with the AIM Rules.

Commitment

Directors are required to allocate sufficient time to the Company to discharge their responsibilities effectively. The Chairman is required to commit approximately 3-5 days per month. Non-executive Directors are required to commit approximately 2-4 days per month. Executive Directors work full-time.

Directors’ attendance

The Board has at least eight main Board meetings per year with additional special meetings as required, the special meetings typically being telephone meetings to cover specific items. Certain directors may be appointed as a committee of the Board of Directors. Directors’ attendance at Board and Committee meetings during the eight month period ended 31 December 2019 is set out below:

 

Garth Selvey

Brian Howlett

Jan Groen

Andrew Newland

Ian Griffiths

Board

6 / 6

6 / 6

6 / 6

6 / 6

6 / 6

Committee of the Board*

1/1

N/A

N/A

2 / 2

3 / 3

Audit

1 / 1

1 / 1

1 / 1

N/A

N/A

Remuneration

3 / 3

3 / 3

3 / 3

N/A

N/A

Nomination

0 / 0

0 / 0

0 / 0

N/A

N/A

Scoring represents individual Directors’ attendance for those meetings when they were members of the Board or Committee.

* the Board appointed Garth Selvey or Andrew Newland together with Ian Griffiths as a Committee of the Board of Directors in relation to the fundraise during the period.

In addition, the Board has other non-board meetings to discuss strategy and key business areas with the senior management team.

Communicate governance and performance with shareholders (QCA Principle 10)

The Board communicates regularly with shareholders providing updates on Group performance to shareholders via interim and annual financial reports, trading updates, investor presentations and a regular news flow of significant developments for the Group (see Principle 2). The website includes historical financial reports and governance related material.

The Annual General Meeting (AGM) presents an opportunity for shareholders to vote on the various resolutions proposed. All resolutions were passed at the 2019 AGM.