LONDON, April 15, 2014 /PRNewswire/ --
reViral, an antiviral drug discovery and development company, focused on diseases caused by the respiratory syncytial virus (RSV), today announced the appointment of Professor Raymond Schinazi to its Board as a Non-Executive Director, effective from 9 April 2014.
Professor Schinazi has had a long and prestigious career in the industry having founded several successful biotechnology companies including Pharmasset, where he chaired the Board and directed the scientific research that lead to the discovery of Solvadi, a curative drug for hepatitis C virus infections, as well as previously commercialising inventions that have revenues of over $2 billion per year.
Ken Powell, Chairman and Founder of reViral, commented on the appointment: "We are very pleased to have attracted someone of Ray's experience and prestige to reViral. A world leader in nucleoside chemistry and biology, Ray's discoveries have made a tangible impact on the quality of life and welfare of society. His remarkable accomplishments and wealth of experience will be integral to reViral as the company grows to become a leader in the antiviral space."
Professor Schinazi, newly appointed Non-Executive Director of reViral said: "reViral is at the forefront of RSV treatments, developing novel first-in-class compounds that have the potential to revitalise and transform the market. I look forward to working with the proven management team and am excited by the Company's highly promising programme and pipeline, as it expands into areas of high unmet need."
Khatereh Ahmadi, Chief Executive Officer and Founder of reViral added: "The lack of treatment options for RSV and limited competition offers a significant market for innovative therapies like ours. Professor Schinazi's track record will be invaluable to reViral as we look to bring our novel treatments for RSV to the market place, selecting a preclinical candidate this year and entering IND enabling studies in 2015."
reViral has developed a novel series of antiviral inhibitors targeting RSV fusion - including its lead compound (RV521) - which is highly potent and orally bioavailable with strong drug like characteristics. RSV is the most important respiratory pathogen with 64 million infections and as many as 200,000 deaths worldwide annually in children under 5 years alone. There are currently no RSV vaccines available and there is an urgent need for improved drugs for this indication.
Professor Schinazi holds a Bachelor of Science, a Ph.D. and received an Honorary Doctor of Science degree for his research accomplishments in the field of HIV and biotechnology from the University of Bath, England, and completed postdoctoral training in Pharmacology at Yale University and in Virology/Immunology from Emory University.
NOTES TO EDITORS
About Professor Schinazi
Professor Schinazi is the Frances Winship Walters Professor of Pediatrics and Director of the Laboratory of Biochemical Pharmacology at Emory University. He serves as Senior Research Career Scientist at the Atlanta Department of Veterans Affairs and Director of the Scientific Working Group on Viral Eradication for the NIH-sponsored Emory University Center for AIDS Research (CFAR). Dr. Schinazi received his BSc (1972) and PhD (1976) in chemistry from the University of Bath, England. He has authored over 500 peer-reviewed papers and 7 books and holds 92 issued U.S. patents and over 120 non-U.S. national stage patents and patent applications, which have resulted in 12 New Drug Applications (NDA). A world leader in nucleoside chemistry, Dr. Schinazi is best known for his pioneering work on HIV and HCV drugs d4T (stavudine), 3TC (lamivudine), FTC (emtricitabine/Emtriva), LdT (telbivudine), and most recently sofosbuvir (Sovaldi), which are now approved by the FDA. He is also the founder of five biotechnology companies including Pharmasset, Inc. (VRUS; acquired by Gilead in 2012 for 11.4 B). More than 94% of HIV-infected individuals in the US on combination therapy take at least one of the drugs he invented, and it is estimated that his work has saved more than 3 million lives worldwide. His contributions related to HCV are expected to have a profound positive impact on the approximately 170 million people worldwide suffering from chronic infection. Dr. Schinazi served on the Presidential Commission on AIDS and is the recipient of numerous awards including the 2006 Distinguished Scientist Award from the Hepatitis B Foundation, the Friends of the National Library of Medicine 2013 Distinguished Medical Science Award, and the SCRIP "100 Leaders" Award in 2014. He was also chosen in 2011 as one of Emory University's "175 History Makers." He currently serves as a Governing Trustee for the Foundation for AIDS Research (amfAR). He was inducted into the Technology Hall of Fame of Georgia in March 2012, received the Intellectual Property Legends Award in October 2012, and was inducted into the National Academy of Inventors as a Charter Fellow in January 2013. Dr. Schinazi is internationally recognized as one of the most influential persons in the life science sector.
ReViral is an antiviral drug discovery and development company, focused on novel antiviral treatments for diseases caused by the 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 program targeting RSV fusion with highly potent, orally bioavailable inhibitors with strong drug like characteristics and good pharmacokinetic properties offering versatility in route of administration. In 2012 reViral won a significant Seeding Drug Discovery Initiative Award from the Wellcome Trust to develop its RSV fusion inhibitors to completion of IND filing. The company also has an RSV replication program at an earlier stage of development and plans to expand its pipeline in other antivirals for diseases with a high unmet need.
About Human Respiratory Syncytial Virus (RSV)
Human Respiratory Syncytial Virus (RSV) is the most important respiratory pathogen, responsible for one-fifth of all lower respiratory tract infections worldwide. Historically it has been considered to be solely an infection of children, however, with the ever-increasing awareness of diseases of the elderly and immunocompromised patient populations this perception is changing.
RSV infection is responsible for more infant hospitalizations than other viral infections such as influenza. Susceptible populations are premature infants, children, transplant patients, the elderly and people of all ages with heart failure and lung disease. In addition, severe infection in infancy is linked to the later development of asthma. In the elderly in the US it was shown that RSV infection caused 177,500 hospital admissions and 14,000 deaths over a period of 4 years. Hospitalization costs alone were estimated at more than $1 billion.