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Appointment of Chief Executive Officer

LONDON, September 20, 2011 /PRNewswire/ --

Silence Therapeutics plc (AIM: SLN) ("Silence", the "Group" or the "Company"), a leading global RNA interference (RNAi) therapeutics company, today announces the appointment of Thomas Christély as Chief Executive Officer with immediate effect. He will be based at Silence's facility in Berlin.

Thomas Christély (aged 51) brings more than 20 years experience in corporate and business development and finance. He was instrumental in the merger of Silence Therapeutics AG (formerly Atugen AG) with Silence Therapeutics plc (formerly SR Pharma plc) and admission to the Alternative Investment Market of the London Stock Exchange.   His track record includes concluding major collaborations with AstraZeneca, Pfizer, Dainippon Sumitomo, multiple financing transactions as well as M&A, divestments and strategic restructurings. He joined Atugen AG in 2001 as Chief Financial Officer and became Chief Operating Officer in 2002 before being appointed its Chief Executive Officer in 2006. Prior to joining Silence, Thomas was Senior VP and CFO at OXO Chemie AG, a Swiss pharmaceutical company, and founded its subsidiary OXO Chemie Inc. in San Francisco, where he stayed from 1997 until 2000.  Mr. Christély was managing partner of the investment firm Löschen & Partner, Hamburg/Moscow, from 1992 to 1995 and worked in mergers & acquisitions at Enskilda Corporate Finance, London, from 1989 to 1992. After his studies in Hamburg and Geneva, he received degrees in Business Administration (equivalent to MBA) and Law from the University of Hamburg and was admitted as attorney-at-law. Thomas Christély is currently Non-executive Chairman of the Supervisory Board of Müller-Spreer AG, Hamburg, and CEO of Silence Therapeutics AG.  

Jerry Randall, Chairman of Silence Therapeutics, said: "After a thorough selection process of internal and external candidates, we are delighted to announce the appointment of Thomas as CEO. This successfully completes the reorganisation announced earlier this year in order to streamline Silence's operations. Now that Silence has become a wholly European company it is appropriate to have a Chief Executive based in Europe. Thomas has more than 10 years of experience at Silence as CFO, COO and since 2006 as CEO of Silence Therapeutics AG and was instrumental in Silence's major partnerships with pharmaceutical companies. His experience with the team and the science will ensure continuity as we move forward.We are confident that Thomas has the vision, expertise and experience necessary to move the Company toward the achievement of its corporate and clinical objectives."

Commenting on his appointment, Thomas Christély said:"I am delighted to have been appointed CEO of Silence at this very exciting time for the Company.During my time so far at Silence, the Company has made significant clinical progress and now has an enviable portfolio of clinical and pre-clinical assets.  With my long term relationships already established with our partners over many years, I look forward to achieving further commercial success from this outstanding pipeline."

Thomas Christély holds 500,000 shares (0.09% of issued share capital) in Silence.  No further disclosures are required under AIM Rule 17.

Notes for editors                    

About Silence Therapeutics plc (

Silence Therapeutics plc (AIM: SLN) is a leading biotechnology company dedicated to the discovery, development and delivery of targeted, systemic RNA interference (RNAi) therapeutics for the treatment of serious diseases. Silence offers one of the most comprehensive short interfering RNA (siRNA) therapeutic platforms available today based on a strong intellectual property portfolio and large clinical safety database. Silence's clinical siRNA product pipeline is one of the broadest in the industry. The Company possesses multiple proprietary siRNA delivery technology platforms including AtuPLEX™ and DACC. AtuPLEX enables the broad functional delivery of siRNA molecules to targeted diseased tissues and cells, while increasing their bioavailability and intracellular uptake. The DACC delivery system allows functional delivery of siRNA molecules selectively to the lung endothelium with a long duration of target mRNA and protein knock-down. Additionally, the Company has a platform of novel siRNA molecules based around its AtuRNAi chemical modification technology, which provides a number of advantages over conventional siRNA molecules. Silence's unique RNAi assets also include structural features for RNAi molecules and specific design rules for increased potency and reduced off-target effects of siRNA sequences.

The Company's lead internal drug candidate is Atu027, a liposomal formulation in clinical development for systemic cancer indications and one of the most clinically advanced RNAi therapeutic candidates in the area of oncology. Atu027 incorporates two of the Company's technologies, AtuRNAi and AtuPLEX™. Silence is currently conducting an open-label, single-centre, dose-escalation Phase I study with Atu027 in patients with advanced solid tumors involving single, as well as repeated, intravenous administration. Encouraging interim data were presented at the American Society of Clinical Oncology Annual Meeting in June 2011. The study is expected to be completed in the second half of 2011.

The Company's RNAi therapeutic platform has received key validation through multiple partnerships with pharmaceutical companies including AstraZeneca, Dainippon Sumitomo, Pfizer/Quark, and Novartis/Quark. Silence is actively pursuing the establishment of additional partnerships. Silence Therapeutics has operations in both Berlin and London.

For further information, please contact:

Silence Therapeutics
Thomas Christély - CEO
Max Herrmann - CFO
+44 20 7491 6520

Vida Communication (US)
Tim Brons (media)/Stephanie Diaz (investors)
+1 (415) 675-7400

Singer Capital Markets
Shaun Dobson/Claes Spång
+44 20 32057500

M:Communications (Europe)
Peter Laing / Emma Thompson
+44 20 7920 2345 / +44 20 7920 2342

SOURCE Silence Therapeutics Plc
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