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Why Ziopharm Oncology Stock Is Soaring Today

By Keith Speights - Feb 5, 2021 at 11:00AM

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An ugly board of directors skirmish came to an end.

What happened

Shares of Ziopharm Oncology (ZIOP 4.84%) were soaring 11.8% as of 11:45 a.m. EST on Friday. The nice gain came after the company announced the election of Robert Postma to its board of directors. The addition expanded Ziopharm's board from eight members to nine.

So what

The election of new board members doesn't usually provide a catalyst for a biotech stock. What's different in this case?

Conference table and chairs

Image source: Getty Images.

Postma is the founder of WaterMill Asset Management. In December, WaterMill added two of its preferred candidates to the biotech's board. It also managed to oust Scott Tarriff, who had been the board chairman since 2018, and pressure two other board members to resign. 

At that time, Postma received enough votes from shareholders to also join Ziopharm's board. But the size of the board was capped at eight members. Today's announcement of the expansion of the number of members and Postma's election reflects yet another victory by WaterMill to influence the direction of the biotech.

Ziopharm CEO Laurence Cooper struck a diplomatic tone: "We will benefit from having additional shareholder guidance on the Board. Bob is a respected voice, and his counsel will help in directing the Company's strategies."

Now what

Today's news marks the end of an ugly battle between Ziopharm's previous board members and WaterMill. It remains to be seen in which direction the activist investment firm will try to take Ziopharm.

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Stocks Mentioned

ZIOPHARM Oncology, Inc. Stock Quote
ZIOPHARM Oncology, Inc.
$1.30 (4.84%) $0.06

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