YONKERS, N.Y., June 15, 2020 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) -- ContraFect Corporation (Nasdaq:CFRX), a 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 the appointment of Lishan Aklog, M.D. to the Company’s board of directors (Board). Dr. Aklog is Co-Founder, Chairman and Chief Executive Officer of PAVmed Inc. (Nasdaq: PAVM). He specialized in cardiothoracic surgery to begin his medical career.
“Dr. Aklog has a long history of successful leadership and innovation in the healthcare industry, in addition to his expertise in cardiovascular disease and complications,” said Roger J. Pomerantz, M.D., President, Chief Executive Officer, and Chairman of ContraFect. “As a late-stage company enrolling patients in our pivotal Phase 3 trial, we are delighted to expand our Board with a new member who brings a wealth of medical knowledge and a diversity of experiences to the table.”
“I am excited to join the ContraFect Board at such an exciting time, following very impressive Phase 2 superiority data on exebacase in patients with MRSA bacteremia, the initiation of the Phase 3 DISRUPT trial, and the receipt of Breakthrough Therapy designation from the FDA,” said Dr. Aklog. “During my career as a cardiac surgeon I operated on many patients with MRSA endocarditis. Exebacase has great potential to improve the care of these and other challenging patients compared to current suboptimal anti-infective options. I look forward to working with the company and the Board to bring this therapy to clinicians and patients as rapidly as possible.”
Dr. Aklog has also served as Executive Chairman of Lucid Diagnostics Inc. since its inception in 2018, as a co-founding Partner of both Pavilion Holdings Group LLC (“PHG”), a medical device holding company, since its inception in 2007, and Pavilion Medical Innovations LLC, a venture-backed medical device incubator, since its inception in 2009. Dr. Aklog previously served as Chairman and Chief Technology Officer of Vortex Medical Inc., a PHG portfolio company, from its inception in 2008 until its acquisition in October 2012 by Angiodynamics. Dr. Aklog has served as a consultant and on the advisory boards of many major medical device companies as well as innovative startups.
Dr. Aklog is an inventor on 25 issued patents and over 45 patent applications, including the core patents of Vortex Medical’s AngioVac® system and the patents for a majority of PAVmed Inc.’s products. Prior to entering the medical device industry full-time in 2012, Dr. Aklog was, from 2006 to 2012, Associate Professor of Surgery, Chief of Cardiovascular Surgery and Chair of The Cardiovascular Center at St. Joseph’s Hospital and Medical Center’s Heart and Lung Institute in Phoenix, Arizona. From 2002 to 2006, Dr. Aklog was Assistant Professor of Cardiothoracic Surgery, Associate Chief of Cardiac Surgery and Director of Minimally Invasive Cardiac Surgery at Mount Sinai Medical Center in New York. From 1999 to 2002, Dr. Aklog was Assistant Professor of Surgery at Harvard Medical School, Director of the Cardiac Surgery Research Laboratory, and an attending cardiac surgeon at Brigham and Women’s Hospital in Boston.
Dr. Aklog received his clinical training in general and cardiothoracic surgery, and served as Chief Resident, at Brigham and Women’s Hospital and Boston Children’s Hospital of the Harvard Medical School, during which he spent two years as the Medtronic Research Fellow at Harvard Medical School’s Cardiac Surgery Research Laboratory. He was then awarded the American Association of Thoracic Surgery Traveling Fellowship pursuant to which he received advanced training in heart valve surgery under renowned cardiac surgeons Sir Magdi Yacoub at Harefield Hospital in London and Professor Alain Carpentier at L’Hopital Broussais in Paris.
The Phase 3 DISRUPT study of exebacase is a randomized, double-blind, placebo-controlled clinical study conducted in the U.S. to assess the efficacy and safety of exebacase in approximately 350 patients with complicated Staph aureus bacteremia, including right-sided endocarditis. Patients enrolled in the Phase 3 study will be randomized 2:1 to receive either exebacase or placebo, with all patients receiving SOC antibiotics. The primary efficacy endpoint will be clinical response at Day 14 in patients with MRSA bacteremia, including right-sided endocarditis. Secondary endpoints will include clinical response at Day 14 in the All Staph aureus patients (MRSA and methicillin-sensitive Staph aureus (MSSA)), 30-day all-cause mortality in MRSA patients, and clinical response at Day 30 and Day 60 in both MRSA and All Staph aureus patients. Health resource utilization, including length of hospital stay, length of time in ICU and 30-day hospital readmission rates, will also be evaluated. The Company plans to conduct an interim futility analysis following the enrollment of approximately 60% of the study population. The principal investigator is Dr. Vance Fowler, Professor of Medicine in the Division of Infectious Diseases at Duke University.
ContraFect is a 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. 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 Pseudomonas aeruginosa (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 (bacteremia), including right-sided endocarditis, when used in addition to standard-of-care 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 ContraFect’s ability to discover and develop DLAs as new medical modalities for the treatment of life-threatening, antibiotic-resistant infections, statements made by Dr. Pomerantz and Dr. Aklog, including Dr. Aklog’s background and experience, statements regarding the Phase 2 and 3 trials, including plans to conduct an interim futility analysis, ContraFect’s ability to address life threatening infections using its DLA platform, 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 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 those 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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