Atea Pharmaceuticals, which focuses on developing antiviral treatments for patients suffering from severe diseases, recently announced its appointment of Dr. Janet Hammond as Chief Development Officer. The Boston-based company has been busy this year, as they joined the scramble to find solutions for the COVID-19 crisis.
A Series D funding round in March gave them $215 million to put towards a phase 2 trial for AT-527, an oral purine nucleotide prodrug to combat moderate cases of COVID-19. The drug inhibits the RNA polymerase enzyme, which is partially responsible for viral replication. AT-527 joins the ranks of several other therapies in various stages of development for Hepatitis C, RSV, and Dengue fever. However, the other drugs have taken a back seat to help facilitate the development of a Coronavirus treatment.
The sudden increase of action brought on by the spring pandemic prompted Atea to create a brand new leadership position – Chief Development Officer. Dr. Hammond will oversee clinical development of these drugs and more, as she lends her big pharma expertise to the privately owned company.
“I am excited to be joining Atea as together we work to advance a pipeline of versatile antivirals to fight deadly diseases. In particular, we are driven to focus on providing a new treatment for COVID-19 where there is an immediate and unmet medical need,” said Dr. Hammond.
Dr. Hammond recently served as Vice President and Therapeutic Area Head for General Medicine and Infectious Disease Development at AbbVie. She has also held leadership positions at La Roche, Valeant Pharmaceuticals, Bristol-Myers Squibb, and GlaxoSmithKline, where her career took off. She obtained both her Ph.D. and M.D. from the University of Cape Town, South Africa, and holds a Sc.M. from Johns Hopkins University School of Hygiene and Public Health.
Jean-Pierre Sommadossi, Ph.D., founder, chairman, and CEO of Atea expressed his enthusiasm with the company’s decision: “We are delighted to welcome Janet to the Atea leadership team and are confident that her considerable expertise in virology and antiviral therapeutics will enhance our development programs.” He went on to cite her proven track record working with infectious and respiratory illnesses, which he hopes will be invaluable to Atea’s and the world’s fight against COVID-19.