YONKERS, NY--(Marketwired - September 16, 2016) - ContraFect Corporation (NASDAQ: CFRX) (NASDAQ: CFRXW), a biotechnology company focused on the discovery and development of protein and antibody therapeutics for life-threatening, drug-resistant infectious diseases, today announced the following organizational changes effective October 1, 2016.
Cara Cassino, M. D. has been promoted to Chief Medical Officer and Executive Vice President of Research and Development. She will provide leadership to all research and development functions. Dr. Cassino has served as Chief Medical Officer and Senior Vice President of Development at ContraFect since joining the company in September, 2015. She has been instrumental in driving Phase 1 to completion for the company's lead lysin drug candidate CF-301 and in preparing for the planned start of Phase 2.
Michael Messinger is promoted to Senior Vice President, Finance. In addition to his oversight of the finance and accounting functions at ContraFect, he will now also oversee investor and press relations activities. Mr. Messinger has served as Vice President, Finance at ContraFect since joining in November, 2012.
Michael Wittekind, PhD, Chief Scientific Officer and Senior Vice President, Research will be leaving ContraFect to pursue opportunities closer to his primary residence in the Seattle area. To assist with a smooth leadership transition, Dr. Wittekind will continue to serve as a consultant to ContraFect.
"Dr. Cassino's and Mr. Messinger's new roles strengthen our organizational effectiveness and position us for continued success as we strive to deliver new therapeutics for the treatment of serious infections," said Steven C. Gilman, PhD, Chairman and Chief Executive Officer of ContraFect. "On behalf of the Board of Directors and the entire ContraFect organization, I would like to thank Dr. Wittekind for his many contributions at ContraFect during his tenure, including the building of our lysin platform and supporting the translation of our first lysin product candidate into the clinic."
CF-301 is a recombinant bacteriophage-derived lysin with potent bactericidal activity against Staphylococcus aureus ("Staph aureus"), a major cause of blood stream infections, or bacteremia. CF-301 has the potential to be a first-in-class treatment for Staph aureus bacteremia. It has a novel, rapid, and specific mechanism of bactericidal action against Staph aureus and does not impact the body's natural bacterial flora. By targeting a conserved region of the cell wall that is vital to bacteria, resistance is less likely to develop to CF-301. Combinations of CF-301 with standard of care antibiotics significantly increased bacterial killing and survival in animal models of disease when compared to treatment with antibiotics or CF-301 alone. In addition, in vitro and in vivo experiments have shown that CF-301 is highly active against biofilm infections. CF-301 was licensed from The Rockefeller University and is being developed at ContraFect.
ContraFect is a biotechnology company focused on discovering and developing therapeutic protein and antibody products for life-threatening, drug-resistant infectious diseases, particularly those treated in hospital settings. 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 lysin and monoclonal antibody platforms to target conserved regions of either bacteria or viruses (regions that are not prone to mutation). ContraFect's initial product candidates include new agents to treat antibiotic-resistant infections such as MRSA (Methicillin-resistant Staph aureus) and influenza.
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 our ability to discover and develop protein and antibody therapeutics for life-threatening, drug-resistant infectious diseases, whether Dr. Cassino's and Dr. Messinger's new roles will strengthen the Company's organizational effectiveness and position the Company for continued success, whether CF-301 has the potential to be a first in class treatment for Staph aureus bacteremia and our ability to address life-threatening infections using our therapeutic product candidates . 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 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.