MARINA DEL REY, Calif., Oct. 26, 2020 /PRNewswire/ -- Armata Pharmaceuticals, Inc. (NYSE American: ARMP) ("Armata" or the "Company"), a biotechnology company focused on precisely targeted bacteriophage therapeutics for antibiotic-resistant and difficult-to-treat bacterial infections, today announced the appointment of Mina Pastagia, MD, MS as Vice President of Clinical Development.
"As we prepare to enter two therapeutic candidates into the clinic, led by our lead program AP-PA02 as a potential treatment for Pseudomonas aeruginosa infections this year, followed by AP-SA02 for the potential treatment of Staphylococcus aureus bacteremia infections in 2021, we are pleased that Mina has elected to joined our company to oversee the clinical development of these promising therapeutics as well as our earlier stage pipeline," stated Todd R. Patrick, Chief Executive Officer of Armata. "Her significant expertise in the development of anti-infective therapies, and in the development of phage-based therapeutics in particular, will be crucial as we execute on our development plans. The addition of Mina rounds out what I believe to be a world class leadership team that best positions us to attain long-term success."
"I have spent the majority of my career on the development of new anti-infectives to treat increasingly drug-resistant bacterial infections, a challenge that has become a significant global health priority, and I am excited to join the Armata team to help achieve this goal," commented Dr. Pastagia. "I am impressed with the company's proprietary technology which allows for the rapid screening of phage against a range of bacterial isolates, and for the development of therapeutic candidates comprised of multiple complimentary phage that can together offer increased potency. I look forward to working on the efficient development of the company's pipeline."
Prior to joining Armata, Dr. Pastagia served as Senior Medical Director, Infectious Diseases and Vaccines at Janssen Biopharma, Inc. since 2017. While there, she led the design and execution of clinical trials for antiviral, antibacterial, and immunology assets. She served as clinical leader for RSV, hepatitis B, and pathogen-specific bacteriophage therapy for certain indications. Prior to Janssen, she served as Translational Medicine Leader in Infectious Diseases, Immunology and Inflammation at Hoffmann-La Roche. During that time, Dr. Pastagia served as antibiotic therapeutic head and leader of disease area strategy, as well as team lead for the development of baloxavir for influenza. Her prior experience also includes serving as Associate Director of Clinical Development at ContraFect Corporation. While at ContraFect, Dr. Pastagia was responsible for the development of biologic anti-infectives, including a bacteriophage lysin targeting S. aureus bacteremia.
Dr. Pastagia has 15 years of clinical, academic, and research experience in medicine and in the subspecialty of infectious diseases. She previously served as an Adjunct Clinical Professor at Weill Cornell Medical College. She also served as an Instructor of Clinical Investigation at The Rockefeller University, where she obtained her master's degree in Translational Medicine, with her thesis entitled, "Use of a Novel Bacteriophage-Derived Lysin to Treat MRSA in Psoriasis." Her research interests include bacteriology and virology, with a focus on the pathogenesis and treatment of multidrug resistant organisms. She is well versed in the design and execution of Phase I–III clinical trials for both antibacterial and antiviral agents. Dr. Pastagia completed her internship and residency in internal medicine at Boston University and her fellowship in infectious diseases at Mount Sinai Medical Center.
The Company has granted Dr. Pastagia certain equity awards outside of the Company's 2016 Equity Incentive Plan, effective on the first business day after her start date. The grant was approved by the Compensation Committee and was made as an inducement material to Dr. Pastagia's commencement of employment as Vice President of Clinical Development. The grant was made in reliance on the employment inducement exception to shareholder approval provided under the NYSE American Company Guide, Section 711(a), which requires a public announcement of inducement awards. The equity awards consist of (i) a one-time grant of 33,000 shares of the Company's common stock, which shall be fully vested on the date of grant, and (ii) a one-time grant of time-based restricted stock units covering 70,000 shares of the Company's common stock, which shall vest as to 40,000 units on the date that is 6 months after the date of grant, and 30,000 units on the third anniversary of the date of grant, subject in each case to her continued employment. The restricted share units are subject to accelerated vesting upon an involuntary termination of employment within one month prior to, or within 12 months after, a change in control.
About Armata Pharmaceuticals, Inc.
Armata is a clinical-stage biotechnology company focused on the development of precisely targeted bacteriophage therapeutics for the treatment of antibiotic-resistant and difficult-to-treat bacterial infections using its proprietary bacteriophage-based technology. Armata is developing and advancing a broad pipeline of natural and synthetic phage candidates, including clinical candidates for Pseudomonas aeruginosa, Staphylococcus aureus, and other pathogens. In addition, in collaboration with Merck, known as MSD outside of the United States and Canada, Armata is developing proprietary synthetic phage candidates to target an undisclosed infectious disease agent. Armata is committed to advancing phage with drug development expertise that spans bench to clinic including in-house phage specific GMP manufacturing.
Forward Looking Statements
This communication contains "forward-looking" statements, including, without limitation, statements related to Armata's ability to meet expected milestones, expand its pipeline, and pursue additional potential partnerships, the expected use of proceeds from the recent $15 million grant, Armata's ability to be a leader in the development of phage-based therapeutics, statements related to the timing and results of clinical trials, including the anticipated initiation of clinical trials of AP-PA02 and AP-SA02, expected impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on the Company's operations, Armata's ability to develop new products based on bacteriophages and synthetic phages, the timing and ability of Armata to obtain non-dilutive funding on acceptable terms, if at all, Armata's expectations for performance of Armata's therapeutic candidates based on Armata's recent nonclinical work, and Armata's ability to continue to screen pathogens against Armata's proprietary phage library to identify additional high-quality bacteriophage product candidates and expand the pipeline. Any statements contained in this communication that are not statements of historical fact may be deemed to be forward-looking statements. These forward-looking statements are based upon Armata's current expectations. Forward-looking statements involve risks and uncertainties. Armata's actual results and the timing of events could differ materially from those anticipated in such forward-looking statements as a result of these risks and uncertainties, which include, without limitation, risks related to the ability of Armata's lead clinical candidates, AP-PA02 and AP-SA02, to be more effective than previous candidates; Armata's ability to expedite development of AP-PA02; Armata's ability to advance its preclinical and clinical programs and the uncertain and time-consuming regulatory approval process; Armata's ability to develop products based on bacteriophages and synthetic phages to kill bacterial pathogens; Armata's expected market opportunity for its products; Armata's ability to sufficiently fund its operations as expected, including obtaining additional funding as needed; and any delays or adverse events within, or outside of, Armata's control, caused by the recent outbreak of COVID-19. Additional risks and uncertainties relating to Armata and its business can be found under the caption "Risk Factors" and elsewhere in Armata's filings and reports with the SEC, including in Armata's Annual Report on Form 10-K, filed with the SEC on March 19, 2020, and in its subsequent filings with the SEC. Armata expressly disclaims any obligation or undertaking to release publicly any updates or revisions to any forward-looking statements contained herein to reflect any change in Armata's expectations with regard thereto or any change in events, conditions or circumstances on which any such statements are based.