Business & Finance
Antiviral Compounds Developer ReViral Names Sapir as Chief Executive Officer
13 June 2019 - - UK-based clinical-stage company ReViral Ltd has appointed Alex C. Sapir as chief executive officer, the company said.
Sapir was also elected to the board of directors. Sapir succeeds Dr. Eddy Littler, who will serve as chief operating officer.
From 2016 through 2018, Sapir was the president and CEO at Dova Pharmaceuticals (NASDAQ: DOVA).
During Sapir's tenure, the company raised USD 160m through a successful Initial Public offering and subsequent follow-on offering.
With those proceeds, Dova Pharmaceuticals grew from a small, private, pre-commercial company to a 150-person, fully-integrated, publicly-traded biotech company with an approved and marketed product and a rich pipeline of ongoing clinical programs.
From January 2006 to May 2016, Sapir served as executive vice president for United Therapeutics Corp., a biotechnology company focused on pulmonary arterial hypertension and pediatric oncology.
During his 10-year tenure at United Therapeutics, Sapir was responsible for all commercial-related activity, seeing the company grow from a one-product company generating USD 80m in revenues to a five-product company generating USD 1.6bn annually.
Sapir began his pharmaceutical career at GlaxoSmithKline, where he served in a variety of strategic and commercial roles in both the United States and Europe.
He received his B.A. in Economics from Franklin and Marshall College and his MBA from Harvard Business School. He, along with Seth Hetherington, ReViral's recently appointed Chief Medical officer, will be based in North Carolina's Research Triangle Park in the United States.
ReViral is a clinical-stage company focused on developing novel, anti-viral compounds that target respiratory syncytial virus.
Founded in 2011, ReViral has an experienced R and 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 IIa study in adult volunteers showing high potency and excellent safety.
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 USD55 m series B funding round from a group of 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 and Brace Pharma Capital also participated in the fundraising.
Sisunatovir is an orally available small molecule antiviral fusion inhibitor being evaluated for the treatment of RSV. Sisunatovir blocks RSV replication by inhibiting RSV F-mediated fusion of RSV to the host cell.
In 2018, sisunatovir generated positive results in a Phase IIa RSV challenge study in healthy adult volunteers, producing statistically significant reductions in viral load and clinical symptoms. In Phase I, clinical studies sisunatovir showed excellent exposure with no serious adverse events.
Pre-clinical toxicity tests in adult and juvenile species showed sisunatovir to have an excellent safety profile with an attractive margin over therapeutic doses.
RSV is a pathogen that infects the human respiratory tract, potentially leading to bronchiolitis and pneumonia. While most (but not all) otherwise healthy people recover from the virus, there is an increased risk of severe disease and death in premature infants, individuals with certain pulmonary conditions, the elderly and those who are immune suppressed.
Globally, RSV is responsible for more than 30 m infections every year and as many as 200,000 infant deaths. An estimated 2-3% of all infants under two years of age are hospitalised with RSV.