ContraFect Appoints Gary Woodnutt, Ph.D. as Senior Vice President of Translational Sciences and Preclinical Development
YONKERS, N.Y., June 17, 2021 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) -- ContraFect Corporation (Nasdaq:CFRX), a late clinical-stage biotechnology company focused on the discovery and development of direct lytic agents (DLAs), including lysins and amurin peptides, as new medical modalities for the treatment of life-threatening, antibiotic-resistant infections, today announced that Gary Woodnutt, Ph.D. has been appointed as Senior Vice President of Translational Sciences and Preclinical Development. Dr. Woodnutt will oversee the scientific strategy for the Company’s early stage assets and the performance of the extensive translational programs required to proceed into clinical trials. He will have a pivotal role in the regulatory strategy for the preclinical aspects of Investigational New Drug (IND) applications as well as the potential BLA for exebacase. Dr. Woodnutt has over 30 years of experience leading the discovery and development of innovative therapies ranging from antibiotics to novel protein-based therapeutics.
“I’m thrilled that Gary is joining the ContraFect team. As a recognized leader in translational science, he brings great experience and depth of knowledge, along with the enthusiasm and a thoughtful approach to advancing our novel DLA programs towards the clinic,” said Cara Cassino, M.D., Chief Medical Officer and Executive Vice President of Research. “Gary is a tremendous addition to our highly productive team and will play an integral role as we advance our novel DLA therapeutic modalities to improve clinical outcomes and reduce mortality for serious bacterial infections and to combat antimicrobial resistance.”
“I am excited to join the team at ContraFect. The need for novel therapies and mechanisms of actions to address antimicrobial resistance has never been greater. Traditional antibiotics alone are no longer sufficient and a new approach for treating patients is of paramount importance. ContraFect is positioned to disrupt the current model of antimicrobial development with its emphasis on therapeutic regimens that have the potential to deliver superior clinical response rates, decrease mortality, and lower overall treatment costs.” said Dr. Woodnutt, Vice President of Translational Sciences and Preclinical Development.
Prior to joining ContraFect, Dr. Woodnutt served as Chief Scientific Officer of Tanabe Research Laboratories U.S.A. concentrating on the discovery and development of novel oncology therapies. Dr. Woodnutt also served as Chief Scientific Officer of Lpath where he led all discovery and development activities concerning the exploitation of monoclonal antibodies to bioactive lipids. Prior to this, Dr. Woodnutt served as the Vice President, Open Innovation at Pfizer after the acquisition of CovX Pharmaceuticals where he served as Vice President of Biology Research. He began his career in the pharmaceutical industry with Beecham Pharmaceuticals, now GlaxoSmithKline plc, where worked in anti-infectives for more than 20 years, rising to the position of Vice President and Head of Biology in the Antimicrobial and Host Defense Group before joining Diversa Corporation as the Senior Vice President of Pharmaceutical Research and Development.
Dr. Woodnutt received his B.Sc. in Biochemistry and Physiology at the University of Leeds, UK and his Ph.D. in Biochemistry and Physiology from the University of Reading, UK. Dr. Woodnutt has over 40 peer-reviewed journal publications.
ContraFect is a biotechnology company focused on the discovery and development of DLAs, including lysins and amurin peptides, as new medical modalities for the treatment of life-threatening, antibiotic-resistant infections. An estimated 700,000 deaths worldwide each year are attributed to antimicrobial-resistant infections. We intend to address life threatening infections using our therapeutic product candidates from our platform of DLAs, which include lysins and amurin peptides. Lysins are a new class of DLAs which are recombinantly produced antimicrobial proteins with a novel mechanism of action associated with the rapid killing of target bacteria, eradication of biofilms and synergy with conventional antibiotics. Amurin peptides are a novel class of DLAs which exhibit broad-spectrum activity against a wide range of antibiotic-resistant Gram-negative pathogens, including P. aeruginosa, Acinetobacter baumannii, and Enterobacter species. We believe that the properties of our lysins and amurin peptides will make them suitable for targeting antibiotic-resistant organisms, such as MRSA and P. aeruginosa, which can cause serious infections such as bacteremia, pneumonia and osteomyelitis. We have completed a Phase 2 clinical trial for the treatment of Staph aureus bacteremia, including endocarditis, with our lead lysin candidate, exebacase, which is the first lysin to enter clinical studies in the U.S. Exebacase, currently being studied in a pivotal Phase 3 clinical study, was granted Breakthrough Therapy designation by the FDA for the treatment of MRSA bloodstream infections, including right-sided endocarditis, when used in addition to SOC anti-staphylococcal antibiotics in adult patients.
This press release contains, and our officers and representatives may make from time to time, “forward-looking statements” within the meaning of the U.S. federal securities laws. Forward-looking statements can be identified by words such as “projects,” “may,” “will,” “could,” “would,” “should,” “believes,” “expects,” “anticipates,” “estimates,” “intends,” “plans,” “potential,” “promise” or similar references to future periods. Examples of forward-looking statements in this release include, without limitation, statements regarding: Dr. Woodnutt, including but not limited to, his intended role and past experience, statements made by Dr. Cassino and Dr. Woodnutt, ContraFect’s ability to discover and develop DLAs as new medical modalities for the treatment of life-threatening, antibiotic-resistant infections, whether ContraFect will address life-threatening infections using its DLA platform, whether exebacase has the potential to be a first-in-class treatment for Staph aureus bacteremia, the features and properties of CF-370, including those obtained from in vivo and in vitro studies, the therapeutic utility of CF-370, whether lysins are a new class of DLAs which are recombinantly produced, antimicrobial proteins with a novel mechanism of action associated with the rapid killing of target bacteria, eradication of biofilms and synergy with conventional antibiotics, whether amurins are a novel class of DLAs which exhibit broad-spectrum activity against a wide range of antibiotic-resistant Gram-negative pathogens, and whether the properties of ContraFect’s lysins and amurins will make them suitable for targeting antibiotic-resistant organisms, such as MRSA and P. aeruginosa. Forward-looking statements are statements that are not historical facts, nor assurances of future performance. Instead, they are based on ContraFect’s current beliefs, expectations and assumptions regarding the future of its business, future plans, strategies, projections, anticipated events and trends, the economy and other future conditions. Because forward-looking statements relate to the future, they are subject to inherent risks, uncertainties and changes in circumstances that are difficult to predict and many of which are beyond ContraFect’s control, including the occurrence of any adverse events related to the discovery, development and commercialization of ContraFect’s product candidates such as unfavorable clinical trial results, insufficient supplies of drug products, the lack of regulatory approval, or the unsuccessful attainment or maintenance of patent protection and other important risks detailed under the caption “Risk Factors” in ContraFect's filings with the Securities and Exchange Commission. Actual results may differ from those set forth in the forward-looking statements. Important factors that could cause actual results to differ include, among others, our ability to develop treatments for drug-resistant infectious diseases. Any forward-looking statement made by ContraFect in this press release is based only on information currently available and speaks only as of the date on which it is made. Except as required by applicable law, ContraFect expressly disclaims any obligations to publicly update any forward-looking statements, whether written or oral, that may be made from time to time, whether as a result of new information, future developments or otherwise.
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Released June 17, 2021