Provectus Fires Peter Culpepper as Interim CEO and COO
By Alex Keown, BioSpace.com Breaking News Staff
On Tuesday, the Tennessee-based company terminated interim-CEO Peter R. Culpepper, who also served as the company’s chief operating officer. In a statement, the company said his termination was related to improper expense reimbursements made to Culpepper from the company. In its announcement of its termination of Culpepper, Provectus did not elaborate on the improper reimbursements, but said a special committee of the company’s board of directors had conducted a special investigation into the expenses.
Following the announcement, shares of Provectus plunged nearly 14 percent. The stock will open this morning at 2 cents per share. Earlier this month the company received a notice of deficiency from the New York Stock Exchange indicating it was not in compliance with certain listing standards and also due to the “abnormally low” trading price of its common stock.
Provectus specializes in the development of therapies for use in oncology and dermatology. The company’s investigational cancer drug PV-10 is designed for injection into solid tumors. Provectus completed Phase II trials of PV-10 as a therapy for metastatic melanoma. Provectus has received orphan drug designations from the FDA for its melanoma and hepatocellular carcinoma indications. Provectus’ investigational topical dermatology drug PH-10 is in clinical development for treating atopic dermatitis and psoriasis.
Culpepper has worked with Provectus since 2004, according to his LinkedIn profile. He first joined the company as chief financial officer, but was tapped to serve as COO in 2008.
Provectus said it was actively seeking a permanent chief executive. The company is not tapping someone to serve as an interim CEO, but said Provectus president Timothy C. Scott will “perform the functions” of the CEO in his capacity as company president.
Improper use of expenses was also something that plagued Provectus’ previous CEO, H. Craig Dees. In March, the company announced an internal investigation found some irregularities, including the altering of receipts in relation to some travel documents. The internal review, conducted by the audit committee of Provectus’ board of directors, said Dees, who resigned from the company in February, did not produce receipts for most of the travel expense advances he received. Additionally, the committee said some receipts produced by Dees appear to have been altered.
Although the CEO spot will remain vacant, Provectus said other leadership roles will remain stable–for now. Eric Wachter will continue as the company’s chief technology officer and John Glass will continue as the company’s interim chief financial officer.