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Achaogen Appoints Blake Wise Chief Executive Officer
- Dr. Kenneth Hillan to become President, R&D -
- Succession designed to lead Achaogen through next phase of growth as a commercial-stage company -
- Transition effective January 1, 2018 -
SOUTH SAN FRANCISCO, Calif., Dec. 11, 2017 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) -- Achaogen, Inc. (NASDAQ:AKAO), a late-stage biopharmaceutical company discovering and developing innovative antibacterials addressing multi-drug resistant (MDR) gram-negative infections, today announced that Blake Wise, currently Achaogen's President and Chief Operating Officer, will succeed Kenneth Hillan, M.B. Ch.B., as Chief Executive Officer effective January 1, 2018. At the same time, Dr. Hillan will take on the newly created role of President, R&D (and President of Achaogen). Dr. Hillan will remain on, and Mr. Wise will join, the Company's Board of Directors.
"Achaogen is preparing for approval of its first drug, plazomicin, and Blake's experience scaling and leading commercial organizations is perfectly suited to maximizing this stage of growth, and value, of the Company. At the same time, we are extremely fortunate to have Kenneth in a role that fully leverages his passion and success at the intersection of preclinical research and clinical drug development," said Bryan Roberts, Chairman of Achaogen's Board of Directors and a partner at the venture capital firm Venrock. "I cannot think of two more collaborative and complementary individuals to continue to shepherd great science, products and people towards making meaningful differences to patients."
"It will be an honor to lead Achaogen forward as its new CEO. The fundamentals of the company are strong - as is our future - and I look forward to continuing to build an enduring organization that adds value to patients, employees and stockholders," said Wise. "Kenneth has successfully established scientific rigor and incredibly talented teams across Achaogen, and I am similarly committed to following the science while making a valuable impact on patient health. I am beyond appreciative of Kenneth's leadership and contributions to Achaogen, and I am excited to continue our work together to achieve our mission to create a leading antibacterial company addressing the significant threat posed by antimicrobial resistance."
Mr. Wise joined Achaogen as Chief Operating Officer in 2015 and, in February 2017, he was also appointed President. Prior to Achaogen, Mr. Wise spent 13 years at Genentech, where he served in multiple leadership positions of increasing responsibility, including establishing and leading Genentech's Cross BioOncology franchise.
"As we set our sights toward the potential launch of plazomicin, I am confident that this transition is absolutely the right move for Achaogen and for me, and I look forward to continuing to work with the extraordinarily talented team at Achaogen in my new role," said Dr. Hillan. "Working at Achaogen is incredibly rewarding, and since R&D is my passion, I now intend to focus on advancing and deepening our pipeline, with the goal of helping Blake to build Achaogen as a leader in the biotechnology industry."
Achaogen is a late-stage biopharmaceutical company passionately committed to the discovery, development, and commercialization of innovative antibacterial treatments for MDR gram-negative infections. Achaogen is developing plazomicin, its lead product candidate, for the treatment of serious bacterial infections due to MDR Enterobacteriaceae, including carbapenem-resistant Enterobacteriaceae. The Food and Drug Administration has granted plazomicin Breakthrough Therapy designation for the treatment of bloodstream infections caused by certain Enterobacteriaceae in patients who have limited or no alternative treatment options. The Company's second product candidate is C-Scape, an orally-administered beta-lactam/beta-lactamase inhibitor combination. Achaogen's plazomicin program has been funded, and its C-Scape program is funded, in part with federal funds from the Biomedical Advanced Research and Development Authority (BARDA). Achaogen has other programs in early and late preclinical stages of development focused on other MDR gram-negative infections and additional disease areas. All product candidates, including plazomicin, are investigational only and have not been approved for commercialization. For more information, please visit www.achaogen.com.
This press release contains forward-looking statements. All statements other than statements of historical facts contained herein are forward-looking statements reflecting the current beliefs and expectations of management made pursuant to the safe harbor provisions of the Private Securities Litigation Reform Act of 1995, including, but not limited to, Achaogen's expectations regarding (i) the appointment of Mr. Wise as Chief Executive Officer, (ii) the transition of Dr. Hillan to President, R&D, (iii) potential regulatory approval of plazomicin, (iv) Achaogen's commercial objectives and (v) Achaogen's pipeline of product candidates. Such forward-looking statements involve known and unknown risks, uncertainties and other important factors that may cause Achaogen's actual results, performance or achievements to be materially different from any future results, performance or achievements expressed or implied by the forward-looking statements. Such risks and uncertainties include, among others, the uncertainties inherent in the preclinical and clinical development process; the risks and uncertainties of the regulatory approval process; the risks and uncertainties of commercialization and gaining market acceptance; the risk when bacteria will evolve resistance to plazomicin; Achaogen's reliance on third-party contract manufacturing organizations to manufacture and supply its product candidates and certain raw materials used in the production thereof; risk of third party claims alleging infringement of patents and proprietary rights or seeking to invalidate Achaogen's patents or proprietary rights; and the risk that Achaogen's proprietary rights may be insufficient to protect its technologies and product candidates. For a further description of the risks and uncertainties that could cause actual results to differ from those expressed in these forward-looking statements, as well as risks relating to Achaogen's business in general, see Achaogen's current and future reports filed with the Securities and Exchange Commission, including its Annual Report on Form 10-K filed on March 14, 2017 and its Quarterly Report on Form 10-Q filed on November 8, 2017. Achaogen does not plan to publicly update or revise any forward-looking statements contained in this press release, whether as a result of any new information, future events, changed circumstances or otherwise.
Source: Achaogen, Inc.
Vice President, Investor Relations and Corporate Communications