Austin-based Savara Pharmaceuticals continues to develop both its FDA-approved Vancomycin antibiotic for the treatment of MRSA infections, as well as its investigational AeroVanc dry-powder form of vancomycin for treatment of persistent MRSA lung infection in Cystic Fibrosis patients. In an effort to help bolster the company’s efforts to promote and launch clinical trials and further market its offerings, the company announced today the appointment of two new member to its Board of Directors — Dr. Joseph S. McCracken, DVM and Yuri Pikover. Both men bring impressive work experience in biotech-related marketing and business development.
Rob Neville, CEO of Savara Pharmaceuticals, noted that the new appointments will have a positive impact on meeting the company’s current business objects, stating, “We are delighted to welcome Joseph and Yuri to our Board of Directors at an exciting time for the company. The two bring a breadth of business development and public company experience to our team that will help achieve our long term growth objectives.”
As the recent Global Head of Business Development & Licensing at Roche Pharmaceuticals, where he served as the global in-licensing and out-licensing activities for the company, Dr. McCracken boasts proven technical, business development and market development roles with biotechnology and pharmaceutical companies, with more than 25 years of experience in building success for some of the world’s top biotech companies. Prior to joining Roche, Dr. McCracken held the position of Vice President of Business Development at Genentech for more than a decade.
Mr. Pikover’s business experience and expertise offers a complementary set of skills to that of Dr. McCracken’s, as he currently serves as a Managing Director of 37 Technology Ventures — an innovative boutique venture fund for promising startup companies — and is a member of numerous other company boards of directors. Prior to these roles, he founded and served as an executive for a wide range of successful companies, including Xylan, Access360, 5square and Folsom Lake Nissan, and served on the boards of several dozen companies, as well as holding technical and management positions with Micom Systems and Fibermux Corporation.
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Both McCracken and Pikover are bound to focus intently on bolstering efforts to recruit and optimize Savara’s current Phase 2 clinical trial, which the company announced in April, which seeks to evaluate “the safety and efficacy of AeroVanc for the treatment of persistent methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus (MRSA) lung infection in cystic fibrosis (CF) patients. AeroVanc is the first inhaled antibiotic being developed to address the growing population of MRSA lung-infected CF patients,” according to the company’s press release. BioNews Texas has covered the funding, preparation, and launch of the AeroVanc clinical trial since its beginning.
While clinical trials are an invaluable resource for critically ill patients, particularly with deadly diseases such as cystic fibrosis, few patients are aware of clinical trials such as the one that Savara is currently enrolling for. Among other critically important business development initiatives, the company’s new board members will undoubtedly seek to bolster the effort to complete full enrollment for their AeroVanc clinical trial.