Jan 7, 2021

OKYO Pharma Limited (“OKYO” or the “Company”) today announces that Gabriele Cerrone has been appointed as a non-executive chairman of the company and Dr Gary S. Jacob has been appointed as Chief Executive Officer and director of the company, both with immediate effect.

Gabriele Cerrone (age: 48)

Mr Cerrone has a successful track record and extensive experience in the financing and restructuring of micro-cap biotechnology companies. He has founded ten biotechnology companies in oncology, infectious diseases and molecular diagnostics, and has taken seven of these companies to the NASDAQ Market and two to the Main Market and AIM Market in London. Mr Cerrone is Executive Chairman of dual listed Tiziana Life Sciences plc. Mr Cerrone co-founded Cardiff Oncology, Inc. (NASDAQ: CRDF), an oncology company and served as its Co-Chairman; he was a co-founder and served as Chairman of both Synergy Pharmaceuticals, Inc. (NASDAQ: SGYP) and Callisto Pharmaceuticals, Inc. (OTCMKTS: CLSP), and was a Director of and led the restructuring of Siga Technologies, Inc. (NASDAQ: SIGA). Mr Cerrone also co-founded FermaVir Pharmaceuticals, Inc. and served as Chairman of the Board until its merger in September 2007 with Inhibitex, Inc. Mr Cerrone served as a director of Inhibitex, Inc. until its US$2.5bn sale to Bristol Myers Squibb Co in 2012.​

Mr Cerrone is the Chairman and Founder of Tiziana Life Sciences plc (NASDAQ:TLSA, AIM: TILS) an oncology focused therapeutics company; Chairman and Co-Founder of Rasna Therapeutics Limited (OTCMKTS: RASP), a company focused on the development of therapeutics for leukaemias; Co-Founder of Hepion Pharmaceuticals, Inc. (Nasdaq: HEPA); Executive Chairman and Co-Founder of Gensignia Life Sciences, Inc., a molecular diagnostics company focused on oncology using microRNA technology; and Executive Chairman and founder of Accustem Sciences plc; and founder of BioVitas Capital Ltd.

Mr Cerrone will also chair the Nomination Committee of the Board.

With immediate effect Willy Simon will assume the role of senior non-executive and will continue to chair the Remuneration Committee of the Board.

Dr Gary S. Jacob, Ph.D. (age: 73)

Dr. Jacob has over 35 years of extensive experience in the pharmaceutical and biotechnology industries across multiple disciplines, including research and development, operations, business development, capital financing activities and senior management expertise. He has developed broad and influential contacts throughout the biopharmaceutical, financial, banking and investor communities. Dr. Jacob is the Co-Founder and former CEO and Chairman of Synergy Pharmaceuticals. During his time at Synergy, he served as Chairman, Chief Executive Officer and Executive Chairman, and is the co-inventor of Synergy’s FDA-approved drug Trulance® which is currently marketed in the U.S. by Bausch Health, Inc. to treat functional GI disorders. Dr. Jacob is also the former CEO and Managing Director of Immuron Inc., an Australian biotechnology company dual-listed on the Australian ASX exchange and on NASDAQ. Dr. Jacob currently is Chairman of the Board of Hepion Pharmaceuticals, Inc., a public NASDAQ listed company with a drug in clinical development to treat nonalcoholic steatohepatitis (NASH), and is also on the Board of Directors of Cardiff Oncology, Inc., a NASDAQ listed public oncology company. He served as Chief Executive Officer and Director of Callisto Pharmaceuticals, Inc. from May 2003 until January 2013.

Prior to his involvement with Callisto and Synergy, Dr. Jacob was at Monsanto/G.D. Searle, where he was Director of Glycobiology and a Monsanto Science Fellow, specializing in the field of Glycobiology and drug discovery. Dr. Jacob holds over 30 patents and is the co-inventor of two pharmaceutical drugs which are FDA approved. Dr. Jacob earned a B.S. cum laude in Chemistry from the University of Missouri – St. Louis and holds a Ph.D. in Biochemistry from the University of Wisconsin-Madison.

The Remuneration Committee have agreed to grant Dr Jacob 40,000,000 options under the Company’s share option plan. The options vest over a 4 year period in equal tranches and have an exercise price of 5p per share.

This information set out below is provided in accordance with Article 19(3) of EU Regulation 596/2014.

1.Details of PDMR / person closely associated
a)NameDr Gary S. Jacob
2.Reason for the notification
a)Position / statusChief Executive Officer
b)Initial notification /amendmentInitial notification
3.Details of the issuer
a)NameOKYO Pharma Limited
4.Details of the transaction(s): section to be repeated for (i) each type of instrument; (ii) each type of transaction; (iii) each date; and (iv) each place where transactions have been conducted
a)Description of the financial instrumentOrdinary Shares of no par value
b)Identification code of the Financial InstrumentISIN for OKYO Pharma Limited: GG00BD3FV870
c)Nature of the transactionGrant of options
d)Price(s) and volume(s)
f)Date of the transaction7 January 2021
g)Place of the transactionXLON

This announcement contains inside information for the purposes of Article 7 of EU Regulation 596/2014.

Willy Simon, Chairman of OKYO, said “We are delighted that Gabriele and Gary have joined the Board of OKYO. Their expertise will be of great value to us at a very important time for the group.”

Pursuant to Listing Rule 9.6.13, in connection with Dr Jacob’s appointment, Dr Jacob was Executive Chairman of Synergy Pharmaceuticals Inc. until October 2018. In December 2018 Synergy Pharmaceuticals Inc. (then listed on NASDAQ), filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy in the USA. The company currently remains in the administration process. There are no other disclosures to make pursuant to Listing Rule 9.6.13, in respect of Dr Jacob’s appointment.

There are no other disclosures to make pursuant to Listing Rule 9.6.13 in respect of the appointment of Mr Cerrone.

About OKYO

OKYO Pharma Limited (LSE: OKYO) is a life sciences and biotechnology company admitted to listing on the standard segment of the Official List of the UK Financial Conduct Authority and to trading on the Main Market for listed securities of the London Stock Exchange plc. OKYO is focusing on the discovery and development of novel molecules to treat inflammatory dry eye diseases and chronic pain.


OKYO Pharma LimitedWilly Simon+44 (0)20 7495 2379
Optiva Securities LimitedRobert Emmet+44 (0)20 3981 4173

For further information, please visit the Company’s website at