ALAMEDA, Calif., March 27 /PRNewswire-FirstCall/ -- Avigen, Inc. today announced that Dawn McGuire M.D. will be resigning as Chief Medical Officer effective April 12, 2006 for personal health reasons. Drew Jones M.D. has been appointed Senior Director of Clinical Affairs and Michael Hensley M.D. will serve as head of Avigen Regulatory Affairs. Dr. McGuire will work with Dr. Jones and Dr. Hensley to ensure a smooth transition.
Dr. Ken Chahine, Ph.D., J.D., Avigen's President and Chief Executive Officer, said, "We really appreciate Dawn's significant contributions to Avigen's development progress and extend our best wishes to her. Dawn successfully led the clinical planning efforts for AV650 and AV411, and we look forward to moving these programs into the clinic later this year."
Dr. McGuire commented, "I regret not being able to continue leading Avigen's very promising clinical development programs but am pleased that they will be in the very capable hands of Dr. Jones and Dr. Hensley."
Drew Jones M.D., M.P.H., most recently served as Vice President of Clinical Development and Regulatory Affairs for Galileo Pharmaceuticals, Inc. where he was responsible for leading all clinical development and regulatory strategy. Prior to that Dr. Jones served as Director of Clinical Development for Alza Corporation (a Johnson and Johnson Company) where he was responsible for the clinical management of all aspects of drug development.
Michael J. Hensley M.D. has held senior clinical and regulatory positions at Chiron Corporation, Connaught Laboratories, Schering Plough, Pharmacyclics and Quintiles. Prior to joining the pharmaceutical industry, Dr. Hensley was a practicing pediatrician and Medical Officer for the Food and Drug Administration.
Dr. Chahine further commented, "Avigen is very fortunate to have the talent and experience of Drew and Mike leading our clinical and regulatory teams. Their proven experience in successfully developing CNS compounds further strengthens Avigen's development capabilities."
Avigen is a biopharmaceutical company focused on unique small molecule therapeutics and biologics to treat serious neurological disorders, including neuropathic pain and neuromuscular spasm and spasticity. Avigen's strategy is to complete the requirements of clinical develop for each of the candidates in its product pipeline, and continue to look for opportunities to expand its pipeline through a combination of internal research, acquisitions, and in-licensing, with the goal of becoming a fully integrated commercial biopharmaceutical company committed to its small molecule and biologics neurology products. The company currently has in development AV650 for neuromuscular spasm and spasticity and two candidates for neuropathic pain, AV411 and AV333. Additionally, the company has in development a compound for the treatment of multiple bleeding disorders, including hemophilia A and B, AV513. For more information about Avigen, consult the company's website at http://www.avigen.com/ .
This press release contains forward-looking statements, including Avigen's belief that it will be able to expand its pipeline through internal research, acquisitions, and/or in-licensing, and its belief that it will be able to develop, commercialize or obtain value from its current drug candidates for any indication. These statements are subject to risks and uncertainties that could cause actual results to differ materially from those projected in these forward-looking statements. These risks and uncertainties include, among others, the fact that development of small molecule therapeutics and other therapeutic discovery and development is a time- and resource-intensive process, which may result in the expenditure of a significant amount of time and resources with no marketable product resulting from the effort. Other risks and uncertainties relating to Avigen are detailed in reports filed by Avigen with the Securities and Exchange Commission, including Avigen's Annual Report on Form 10-K for the period ended December 31, 2005, under the caption "Risk Factors" in Item 1 of Part 1A of that report, which was filed with the SEC on March 16, 2006.