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Atriva Therapeutics Announces Changes to Advisory Board

  • 6 min read
  • Serial German biotech entrepreneur Dr. Ulrich Dauer appointed as new Chairman
  • Michael Grissinger to replace Emilie Hofstetter, adding pharmaceutical deal-making and US market expertise
  • Atriva Therapeutics is currently investigating its lead candidate ATR-002 in a Phase II trial against COVID-19

Tübingen and Frankfurt (Germany), January 20, 2021 – Atriva Therapeutics GmbH, a biopharmaceutical company pioneering the development of host-targeting antiviral therapies, today announced changes to its Advisory Board. The Company appointed Dr. Ulrich Dauer as new Chairman of the Advisory Board succeeding co-founder Prof. Dr. Stephan Ludwig who will continue to serve on the Advisory Board of Atriva Therapeutics. Effective end of 2020, Emilie Hofstetter resigned from the Board. Michael Grissinger took over her position by Jan 1st, 2021.

“We would like to warmly thank Prof. Stephan Ludwig and Emilie Hofstetter for their strong commitment over the last years since the foundation of the Company and their advice in advancing Atriva’s scientific and corporate achievements to clinical trials. Prof. Ludwig will continue to offer his scientific insight and expertise as virologist in the Advisory Board, which are highly valuable for our future development,” said Dr. Rainer Lichtenberger, CEO of Atriva Therapeutics, continuing: “With Dr. Ulrich Dauer and Michael Grissinger we were able to attract two accomplished sector specialists to our Advisory Board. Both have several decades of experience in the biotech and pharmaceutical industry. Their proven expertise in effectively managing biotech and pharmaceutical companies, leading transactions and forming strong collaborations will be invaluable as Atriva advances in clinical development, diversifying its later-stage clinical pipeline.”

Dr. Ulrich Dauer is a biotechnology entrepreneur and serial executive with long term experience and has been serving as Chief Executive Officer of Vivoryon Therapeutics N.V. since May 2018. Before that, he was CEO of Ventaleon GmbH and OMEICOS Therapeutics GmbH, founding CEO of 4SC AG, and Chief Strategy Officer at Activaero GmbH. His expertise focuses on successfully leading critical advances of biotech companies, including IPOs, financial and business transactions, partnerships and assembling clinical pipelines. Dr. Dauer received his PhD in natural sciences from Julius-Maximilians Universitaet Wuerzburg, Germany.

“I am excited to support Atriva, “said Dr. Ulrich Dauer, Chair of Atriva’s Advisory Board. “I have a special interest in the field of respiratory infections, particularly influenza, and am impressed by this new and innovative approach to antiviral treatment that Atriva is developing. If proven successful also in the later clinical phases, Atriva’s approach of stopping virus propagation by inhibiting necessary host cell factors could become the first true broad-band antiviral.”

Michael Grissinger is a senior executive with a proven track-record in key leadership roles in the pharmaceutical industry with a focus on pharmaceutical deal-making, strategy, and business development. Currently, he is serving on the Boards of Directors of several private and publicly traded biotech and pharmaceutical companies and advising a private equity firm. Before, he was at Johnson & Johnson for over 20 years, where he held several corporate vice-presidential roles focusing on global business development and licensing. His earlier career included positions at Ciba-Geigy, SmithKline Beckman, and Upjohn. He holds a Bachelor of Science (B.S.) in Chemistry from Juniata College, Huntingdon, Pennsylvania, USA, and a Master of Business Administration (M.B.A.) from Temple University – Fox School of Business in Philadelphia, USA.

“Atriva Therapeutics is at a critical development stage, advancing its clinical candidate into Phase II against COVID-19, the pandemic that is still keeping the world breathless,” said Michael Grissinger. “Looking ahead, securing pandemic preparedness will be crucial for humankind, and Atriva Therapeutics could play a central role in it. I am therefore more than happy to support the growth and future company development with my experience and to become part of this exciting story.”

Atriva’s Advisory Board consists of five members and two observers. In addition to Dr. Ulrich Dauer, Michael Grissinger and Prof. Stephan Ludwig there are two members who will continue to represent Atriva’s largest investors on the Board: Frans van Dalen and Paul Lelieveld represent the investor Meneldor. The two observers Frank Hensel, PhD, represent the Hightech-Gründer-Fonds Management GmbH and Rudolf Erlemann, PhD, sits for InSymbiosis.

Atriva Therapeutics has recently started a clinical Phase II trial investigating their lead candidate ATR-002 against moderate to severe COVID-19 in hospitalized patients. RESPIRE is a randomized, double-blind, Placebo-controlled study, which will be conducted at national and international study centers including Berlin-based Charité. ATR-002 is a small molecule developed against respiratory infection of RNA viruses.

About ATR-002’s mode of action with dual benefit

The Atriva lead product ATR-002 is developed specifically to treat diseases such as influenza and COVID-19, caused by RNA viruses. ATR-002 is a clinical stage MEK inhibitor drug candidate targeting the intracellular Raf/MEK/ERK signaling pathway. This pathway is central for replication of many RNA viruses, such as the influenza virus, hantavirus or respiratory syncytial virus (RSV) and also SARS-CoV-2, the virus that causes COVID-19. In influenza virus infected cells, the interaction of ATR-002 with MEK (MAPK/ERK kinase) prevents export of the viral genome protein complexes (ribonucleoprotein, RNP) from the nucleus to the cytoplasm, thus blocking the formation of functional new viral particles. This ultimately reduces the viral load in the body.[i]

In addition, ATR-002 has the potential to modulate the pro-inflammatory cytokine response of the body, avoiding overshooting cytokine response that can be caused by such viral infections. MEK inhibition can reduce the gene expression of some of the cytokines involved, like TNF-α, IL-1ß, IP-10, IL-8, MCP-1 and MIP-1a, and thus mitigate the overactive inflammatory response in the lungs of patients who are severely ill with influenza or COVID-19.[ii]

About Atriva Therapeutics GmbH

Atriva Therapeutics, founded in 2015, is a biopharmaceutical company pioneering the development of host-targeting antiviral therapies set up by a team of leading scientists in viral research and seasoned industry experts. The Company aims to develop a therapy platform to treat severe respiratory diseases induced by RNA viruses with a high unmet medical need, such as influenza and COVID-19. The Atriva lead product ATR-002 is a first-in-class host-targeting agent which inhibits viral replication in influenza and favorably modulates the body’s immune response. ATR-002 is under clinical development and has successfully completed a Phase I trial to demonstrate safety and tolerability in healthy subjects. The Company has obtained regulatory approval for a Phase II study to evaluate efficacy in hospitalized COVID-19 patients; a Phase II study in influenza is planned to start later in 2021. The Company owns eleven patent families with broad international coverage related to the use of MEK inhibitors and other kinase inhibitors for antiviral therapies. The patent life runs through 2041. Atriva Therapeutics is located in Tübingen and Frankfurt, Germany.

Atriva is a founding member of the BEAT-COV initiative. www.beat-cov.de

For further information, please visit www.atriva-therapeutics.com and follow us on LinkedIn and Twitter.

Atriva Therapeutics GmbH

Christian Pangratz
+49 69 999916210

[i]Pleschka S et al. Nat Cell Biol 2001 Feb 3:301-5Planz O Antiviral Res 2013 Jun 98(3):457-68Haasbach E et al. Antiviral Res 2017 Jun 142:178-4Laure M et al. Antiviral Res 2020 Jun 178:104806.
[ii]Pinto R et al. Antiviral Res 2011 Oct 92(1):45-56Planz O Antiviral Res 2013 Jun 98(3):457-68Schräder T et al. Antiviral Res 2018 Sep 157:80-92.