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Achillion Appoints Dr. Steven Zelenkofske as Chief Medical Officer and Further Strengthens Clinical Development Team
NEW HAVEN, Conn., Aug. 21, 2018 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) -- Achillion Pharmaceuticals, Inc. (NASDAQ: ACHN) today announced the appointment of Steven Zelenkofske, D.O. to the position of Executive Vice President and Chief Medical Officer, effective immediately. Dr. Zelenkofske will assume responsibility for the clinical development of Achillion’s oral factor D small molecule portfolio of compounds to treat complement-mediated diseases.
In addition, Achillion also announced today the expansion of its clinical development group with the recent appointments of Laura Barrow, Pharm.D. to the position of Vice President, Clinical Operations and Head of Project Management, and Marc Uknis, M.D. to the position of Vice President of Clinical Development, Head of Nephrology Therapeutics.
“Steve has an exceptional clinical development track record, highlighted by the regulatory acceptance of multiple fast track development plans and regulatory approvals under his management. His strategic and operational leadership will greatly benefit Achillion as we accelerate our global phase 2 clinical programs and prepare for registrational trials and commercialization,” commented Joseph Truitt, President and Chief Executive Officer of Achillion. “Furthermore, the addition of Drs. Barrow and Uknis will provide operational expertise in the development of complement inhibitors for rare diseases.”
“It is a very exciting time for me to be joining Achillion as Chief Medical Officer,” stated Dr. Zelenkofske. “Achillion is uniquely positioned to potentially make a real difference in the lives of patients with devastating rare diseases and few therapeutic options. I look forward to leading the clinical development team and advancing Achillion’s complement factor D portfolio into planned phase 3 development.”
Steven Zelenkofske, D.O.
Dr. Zelenkofske brings more than 20 years of industry development experience, most recently as Chief Medical Officer of UniQure, a clinical stage gene therapy company, and previously as Chief Medical Officer of Regado Biosciences. He has also held leadership positions at Astra-Zeneca, Sanofi-Aventis, Boston Scientific and Novartis.
Dr. Zelenkofske completed his residency training at Philadelphia College of Osteopathic Medicine, followed by fellowships in cardiology and electrophysiology at Graduate Hospital, Philadelphia, and St. Luke’s Hospital, New York, respectively. He is a graduate of Emory University, where he also earned a Master of Science degree in immunopharmacology. He earned his Doctor of Osteopathy from Philadelphia College of Osteopathic Medicine. He is a fellow of the American College of Cardiology, the American College of Chest Physicians, and the American College of Osteopathic Internists.
Laura Barrow, Pharm.D.
Dr. Barrow has been in industry over 30 years developing several drugs from the clinic to market. She has the breadth and depth of knowledge and experiences in drug development, clinical operations, project management, and compliance in both large pharma and smaller biotech companies including Roche, Bristol-Myers Squibb, Pfizer and Synergy. Most recently, she worked at Synergy Pharmaceuticals where she progressed a lead program from early phase 2 to a marketed compound. She received her Bachelor of Science and Doctor of Pharmacy degrees from St. John’s University, completed the first Rutger’s College of Pharmacy Industrial fellowship in Clinical Pharmacology, and has a certificate in Organizational Effectiveness from Villanova University.
Marc Uknis, M.D.
Dr. Uknis was trained in Transplant Surgery at the University of Minnesota and performed hundreds of kidney, liver, pancreas and small intestine transplants as head of programs at Harvard and then University of Massachusetts Medical School where he still holds an adjunct professorship in Molecular Genetics and Microbiology.
Dr. Uknis joined the industry full time more than ten years ago and has held positions of increasing responsibility with ViroPharma, ViroPharma/Shire and CSL Behring. At each of those companies, he led clinical development programs for complement inhibition in rare diseases, gaining alignment with Regulatory Authorities for multiple accelerated approval developmental programs. Dr. Uknis also holds a Master’s Degree in Business Administration from George Washington University and is a fellow of the American College of Surgeons.
About Achillion Pharmaceuticals
Achillion Pharmaceuticals, Inc. (NASDAQ:ACHN) is a clinical-stage biopharmaceutical company focused on advancing its oral factor D inhibitors into late-stage development and commercialization. Each of the drug candidates in the Company’s oral factor D portfolio was discovered in its laboratories and is wholly owned. Achillion is focusing its drug development activities on alternative pathway-mediated, rare diseases where there are no approved therapies or where existing therapies are inadequate for patients. To advance its investigational drugs into phase 3 and commercialization, the Company plans to work closely with key stakeholders including patients, payors, regulators and healthcare professionals. More information is available at http://www.achillion.com.
Cautionary Note Regarding Forward-Looking Statements
This press release includes forward-looking statements within the meaning of the Private Securities Litigation Reform Act of 1995 that are subject to risks, uncertainties and other important factors that could cause actual results to differ materially from those indicated by such forward-looking statements. Achillion may use words such as “expect,” “anticipate,” “project,” “target,” “intend,” “plan,” “aim,” “believe,” “seek,” “estimate,” “can,” “could” “focus,” “will,” “look forward,” “goal,” “may,” “potential,” and similar expressions to identify such forward-looking statements. These forward-looking statements also include statements about: the potential benefits of factor D inhibition as a treatment for complement-mediated diseases; the potential benefits of, and indications for, Achillion’s compounds that inhibit factor D, including ACH-4471, ACH-5228 and ACH-5548; Achillion’s belief that its portfolio of compounds could expand factor D portfolio opportunities or provide strategic optionality; Achillion’s expectations regarding the advancement of, and timeline for reporting results from, clinical trials of its product candidates as well as its ability to advance additional compounds; and other statements concerning Achillion’s strategic goals, efforts, plans, and prospects. Among the important factors that could cause actual results to differ materially from those indicated by such forward-looking statements are risks relating to, among other things, Achillion’s ability to: demonstrate in any current and future clinical trials the requisite safety, efficacy and combinability of its drug candidates; advance the preclinical and clinical development of its complement factor D inhibitors under the timelines it projects in current and future preclinical studies and clinical trials; obtain and maintain patent protection for its drug candidates and the freedom to operate under third party intellectual property; obtain and maintain necessary regulatory approvals, and the granting of orphan designation does not alter the standard regulatory requirements and process for obtaining such approval; establish commercial manufacturing arrangements; identify, enter into and maintain collaboration and other commercial agreements with third-parties; compete successfully in the markets in which it seeks to develop and commercialize its product candidates and future products; manage expenses; manage litigation; raise the substantial additional capital needed to achieve its business objectives; and successfully execute on its business strategies. These and other risks are described in the reports filed by Achillion with the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission, including its Quarterly Report on Form 10-Q for the fiscal quarter ended June 30, 2018, and any other SEC filings that Achillion makes from time to time.
In addition, any forward-looking statement in this press release represents Achillion's views only as of the date of this press release and should not be relied upon as representing its views as of any subsequent date. Achillion disclaims any duty to update any forward-looking statement, except as required by applicable law.
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