Achillion Appoints Dr. David Apelian as Chief Medical Officer and Expands Clinical Operations Team

Wed May 15, 2013 6:00am EDT

* Reuters is not responsible for the content in this press release.

NEW HAVEN, Conn., May 15, 2013 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) -- Achillion Pharmaceuticals, Inc. (Nasdaq:ACHN) today announced the appointment of David Apelian, M.D., Ph.D., MBA, to the position of Executive Vice President and Chief Medical Officer, effective May 28, 2013. Dr. Apelian wll assume responsibility for the clinical development of Achillion's portfolio of compounds to treat HCV.

In addition, Achillion also announced today the expansion of its clinical operations group with the recent addition of Kevin Kucharski, formerly head of clinical operations at Pharmasset, who will serve as Senior Vice President of Clinical Operations.

"We are delighted that David is bringing his wealth of hepatitis and drug development expertise to Achillion. His operational and regulatory experience, highlighted by the regulatory approval of antivirals such as interferon alpha-2b/ribavirin and entecavir, will greatly benefit Achillion as we accelerate our development plans and seek to initiate registrational studies with sovaprevir and ACH-3102 during the latter part of next year," commented Michael D. Kishbauch, President and Chief Executive Officer of Achillion.

Dr. Apelian commented, "It is a very exciting time for me to be joining Achillion as Chief Medical Officer, and I look forward to further accelerating the development of the all-oral, interferon-free regimens containing sovaprevir and ACH-3102 for the treatment of chronic HCV."

Mr. Kishbauch also stated, "As Achillion continues its maturation into a late-stage biopharmaceutical company, the addition of both Kevin and David will expand our bandwidth, providing critical expertise and the support necessary for our HCV clinical development programs and our planned Phase 3 development."

David Apelian, M.D., Ph.D., MBA

Dr. Apelian brings to Achillion more than 13 years of industry experience from Bristol-Myers Squibb, Schering Plough and GlobeImmune where he focused on hepatology and infectious disease clinical development. Dr. Apelian was Clinical Director in the Infectious Diseases Group at Bristol-Myers Squibb (BMS), serving as medical co-lead for the clinical development and NDA submission of entecavir for chronic hepatitis B viral infection (HBV). Prior to BMS, Dr. Apelian served as Clinical Director in the Department of Hepatology/Gastroenterology at Schering Plough, coordinating a supplemental NDA filing for interferon alpha-2b and ribavirin for the treatment of pediatric patients with chronic hepatitis C viral infection (HCV). Most recently, Dr. Apelian served as Senior Vice President of Research and Development and Chief Medical Officer at GlobeImmune, where he was responsible for clinical development, regulatory affairs, clinical immunology, development of companion diagnostics, as well as target discovery and preclinical research.

Dr. Apelian completed his residency training in Pediatrics at New York Hospital, Cornell Medical Center. He received his M.D. from the University of Medicine and Dentistry of New Jersey, and his Ph.D. in Biochemistry and B.A. from Rutgers University. He also holds an M.B.A. from Quinnipiac University

Kevin Kucharski

Mr. Kucharski comes to Achillion with more than two decades of clinical operations expertise, with a focus on conducting U.S. and global clinical trials, ranging from Phase 1 through Phase 4. Prior to joining Achillion, Mr. Kucharski was Vice President of Clinical Operations at Pharmasset since 2007, and then at Gilead Sciences following their acquisition of Pharmasset. While at Pharmasset, Mr. Kucharski provided effective oversight and execution of various global clinical development projects including PSI-7977 and PSI-938. Prior to Pharmasset, Mr. Kucharski was Senior Director of Clinical Operations at Altana Pharma US, a Nycomed Company, where he established the Clinical Operations group. Prior to that, Mr. Kucharski held positions of increasing responsibility in Clinical Operations at Schering-Plough Research Institute. Mr. Kucharski was awarded his B.S. in Biology Research from the University of Scranton.

About HCV

The hepatitis C virus is the most common cause of viral hepatitis, which is an inflammation of the liver. It is currently estimated that more than 170 million people are infected with HCV worldwide including more than 5 million people in the United States, more than twice as widespread as HIV. Three-fourths of the HCV patient population is undiagnosed; it is a silent epidemic and a major global health threat. Chronic hepatitis, if left untreated, can lead to permanent liver damage that can result in the development of liver cancer, liver failure or death. Few therapeutic options currently exist for the treatment of HCV infection. The current standard of care is limited by its specificity for certain types of HCV, significant side-effect profile, and injectable route of administration.

About Achillion Pharmaceuticals

Achillion is an innovative pharmaceutical company dedicated to bringing important new treatments to patients with infectious disease. Achillion's proven discovery and development teams have advanced multiple product candidates with novel mechanisms of action. Achillion is focused on solutions for the most challenging problems in infectious disease, including HCV and resistant bacterial infections. For more information on Achillion Pharmaceuticals, please visit www.achillion.com or call 1-203-624-7000.

Forward-Looking Statements

This press release includes forward-looking statements within the meaning of the Private Securities Litigation Reform Act of 1995 that are subject to risks, uncertainties and other important factors that could cause actual results to differ materially from those indicated by such forward-looking statements, including statements with respect to: the potency, safety, tolerability, effectiveness and other characteristics of sovaprevir and ACH-3102; Achillion's expectations regarding timing for the commencement, completion and reporting of results of its -007 clinical trial of sovaprevir and ACH-3102 in combination with ribavirin, as well as with respect to the advancement into later stages of its clinical studies; and the expected contributions of Dr. Apelian and Mr. Kucharski and the planned expansion of the clinical operations group. Among the factors that could cause actual results to differ materially from those indicated by such forward-looking statements are risks relating to, among other things Achillion's ability to: replicate in later clinical trials positive results found in earlier stage clinical trials of sovaprevir, ACH-3102 and its other product candidates; advance the development of its drug candidates under the timelines it anticipates in current and future clinical trials; obtain necessary regulatory approvals; obtain patent protection for its drug candidates and the freedom to operate under third party intellectual property; establish commercial manufacturing arrangements; identify, enter into and maintain collaboration agreements with appropriate third-parties; compete successfully with other companies that are seeking to develop improved therapies for the treatment of HCV; manage expenses; successfully execute on its business plans and strategies; and raise the substantial additional capital needed to achieve its business objectives. These and other risks are described in the reports filed by Achillion with the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission, including its Annual Report on Form 10-K for the fiscal year ended December 31, 2012 and its subsequent SEC filings.

In addition, any forward-looking statement in this press release represents Achillion's views only as of the date of this press release and should not be relied upon as representing its views as of any subsequent date. Achillion disclaims any obligation to update any forward-looking statement, except as required by applicable law.

CONTACT: Company Contact:
         Glenn Schulman
         Achillion Pharmaceuticals, Inc.
         Tel. (203) 624-7000
         gschulman@achillion.com
         
         Investors:
         Mary Kay Fenton
         Achillion Pharmaceuticals, Inc.
         Tel. (203) 624-7000
         mfenton@achillion.com
         
         Media:
         Sally Barton
         Ogilvy PR
         Tel. (212)880-5240
         sally.barton@ogilvy.com
         
         Investors:
         Seth Lewis
         The Trout Group, LLC
         Tel. (646) 378-2952
         slewis@troutgroup.com