London, UK, November 27, 2019 – ReViral Ltd., a clinical-stage biopharmaceutical company focused on discovering, developing, and commercializing antiviral therapeutics that target respiratory syncytial virus (RSV), today announced the appointment of Lawrence Blatt and Richard N. Kender to its Board of Directors.
Dr. Blatt, currently serving as Chief Executive Officer of Aligos Therapeutics, Inc., is a serial biotech entrepreneur with over 29 years of drug research and development experience. Before Aligos, he co-founded Alios BioPharma, Inc., and served as its Chief Executive Officer, President and Director from inception to acquisition by Johnson & Johnson in 2014, where he remained as the Global Head of Infectious Diseases and Vaccines until his move to Aligos in 2018. His appointment to the ReViral Board became effective November 22.
“I look forward to helping ReViral achieve its goal to build a world-class company, focused on the very best antiviral therapies” Dr. Blatt commented. “The team has a highly impressive track record in the antiviral space and I am honored to join them in their next stage of development.”
Mr. Kender is a recognized business leader with a wealth of experience in the pharmaceutical industry, including 35 years spent at Merck & Co., Inc. While at Merck, he held various corporate roles across Accounting and Finance, Corporate Licensing and Worldwide Business Development, where he managed Merck’s Mergers and Acquisitions and Licensing transactions. Over his career, Mr. Kender has been involved in over 100 transactions. Mr. Kender will also become the chair of the ReViral Audit Committee in early 2020. His appointment to the ReViral Board became effective November 22.
“I am delighted to join ReViral’s Board at such an important moment in the company’s evolution, as the company initiates its Phase 2 trial of sisunatovir in hospitalized infants,” said Mr. Kender. “I am excited to help guide a company that has such a tremendous opportunity to improve the lives of some of the most vulnerable populations around the world.”
Ken Powell, Chairman of the Board of Directors, ReViral, said: “Lawrence and Richard’s incredible industry and commercial experience will be hugely valuable to our Board and company in the years ahead. We look forward to their contributions as they help shape the company for continued success.”
Dr. Blatt and Mr. Kender replace Dr. Raymond Schinazi, who stepped down in July 2019 after serving as a member of the ReViral Board for over 5 years.
“I would like to take this opportunity to thank Raymond for his guidance and insight over many years. With his unparalleled track record in successful antiviral drug development, he has made an extraordinary contribution throughout the growth and transition of ReViral.” Dr. Powell said.
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Notes to Editors
About Richard N. Kender
Richard N. Kender is an executive with over 35 years of experience in the pharmaceutical industry, most recently as Senior Vice President of Business Development and Corporate Licensing at Merck & Co., Inc. He retired from Merck in 2013. Mr. Kender joined Merck in 1978 and spent his career in various corporate roles including Accounting and Finance, Corporate Licensing and Worldwide Business Development, where he managed Merck’s Mergers and Acquisitions, Licensing transactions. He also managed the Financial Evaluation and Analysis and Global Competitive Intelligence departments. At Merck, Mr. Kender was involved in over 100 transactions of various size and types.
Since his retirement from Merck he has served on several corporate Boards. Mr. Kender currently serves on the Board of Directors of Bicycle Therapeutics plc, Poxel S.A. and Seres Therapeutics Inc. He has previously served on the Board of Directors of Abide Therapeutics Inc., and INC Research Holdings Inc. While at Merck he served as a Board Director at FoxHollow Technologies Inc., EV3 Inc. and on the Board of Trustees of BioNJ.
Mr. Kender earned his B.S. degree in accounting from Villanova University and his M.B.A. from Fairleigh Dickinson University.
About Lawrence Blatt
Lawrence Blatt, MBA., Ph.D., co-founded Aligos Therapeutics, Inc., and currently serves as the Chief Executive Officer and a member of the Board of Directors since March 2018. Dr. Blatt has more than 29 years of drug research and development experience with a specific focus on biology of the immune system, infectious diseases, antiviral therapies, and relevant therapeutic interventions. Prior to Aligos, he was the Global Head of Infectious Diseases and Vaccines at Johnson & Johnson.
A serial biotech entrepreneur, Dr. Blatt co-founded Alios BioPharma, Inc., and served as its Chief Executive Officer, President and Director from inception to acquisition by Johnson & Johnson in 2014, overseeing the development of therapies for viral diseases, including respiratory syncytial virus (RSV) and hepatitis C. Prior to Alios, he was Chief Scientific Officer of InterMune, Inc. (acquired by Roche in 2014). Dr. Blatt also held successive positions as Vice President of Research of SiRNA/Ribozyme Therapeutics, Vice President of Product Development at National Genetics Institute, and Product Development Team Leader, Interferons at Amgen.
Dr. Blatt received a Doctorate in public health administration from the University of La Verne and completed his MBA from California State University, Northridge and Bachelor of Science degree in Microbiology from Indiana University. He is also a co-founder and chairman of the Board of Directors for Alveo Technologies, Inc.
Dr. Blatt was the recipient of the Ernst & Young Entrepreneur of the Year Award (2012) in the life science category and has co-authored over 100 peer reviewed scientific publications. He is also listed as a co-inventor on several issued and pending patent applications relating to treatment of viral diseases.
ReViral is a clinical-stage biopharmaceutical company focused on discovering, developing, and commercializing anti-viral therapeutics that target respiratory syncytial virus (RSV). Founded in 2011, ReViral has an experienced R&D leadership team with a successful track record in antiviral drug discovery and development. The company has developed a novel antiviral programme targeting RSV fusion with highly potent, orally bioavailable inhibitors, strong drug-like characteristics and good pharmacokinetic properties offering versatility in the route of administration. The lead candidate, sisunatovir, completed a Phase 2a study in adult volunteers, showing high potency and was well tolerated. The company also has an RSV replication programme at an earlier stage of development and plans to expand its pipeline. In July 2018, ReViral completed a $55 million Series B funding round from a group of leading venture capital investors jointly led by New Leaf Venture Partners and Novo Ventures, part of Novo Holdings A/S, with additional new investment from Perceptive Advisors. Existing investors Andera Partners, OrbiMed Advisors and Brace Pharma Capital also participated in the fundraising.
Sisunatovir is an orally administered fusion inhibitor designed to treat RSV. Sisunatovir is designed to block RSV replication by inhibiting RSV F-mediated fusion of RSV with the host cell. Preclinical tests showed sisunatovir to have an excellent toxicity profile with an attractive therapeutic index. In Phase 1 clinical studies, sisunatovir showed excellent exposure with no serious adverse events being reported. In 2018, we reported results from a Phase 2a challenge study in healthy adult volunteers, in which sisunatovir produced statistically significant reductions in viral load and clinical symptoms. ReViral has recently initiated an international multicentre Phase 2 clinical study of sisunatovir in hospitalized infants.
About Respiratory Syncytial Virus (RSV)
RSV is a pathogen that usually causes mild, cold-like symptoms but can lead to severe and life-threatening lower respiratory tract infections, or LRTIs, in high-risk populations, such as infants, toddlers, and young children, immunocompromised patients, and the elderly. RSV constitutes a substantial disease burden. The National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases estimates that, globally, RSV affects approximately 64 million people and causes approximately 160,000 deaths
each year. Globally, there are an estimated 33 million cases of RSV LRTI each year in children younger than five years of age, with about three million of them being hospitalized and approximately 60,000 dying each year from complications associated with the infection.