Altavant nabs Boehringer, Gilead alum as new CMO

The biotech is working on several respiratory candidates, and will tap Lazarus's experience in the area (Pixabay)

While no longer a member of Vivek Ramaswamy’s Roivant umbrella group, his former Vant company is still able to bring in the big names. 

Altavant, which saw its stake recently sold off alongside a host of other ‘Vants’ by Ramaswamy to a subsidiary of Japanese pharma Sumitomo Dainippon Pharma, is working on a series of clinical assets for respiratory diseases.

The Vant name has long drawn big names from biopharma (though they have not always stuck around for long), but despite having a new parent, Altavant still has the pulling power to nab Howard Lazarus, M.D., as it CMO.

Lazarus, who joins in the newly-created position from the biotech, coming from Boehringer Ingelheim Pharmaceuticals where he was a member of the leadership team focusing on interstitial lung diseases such as idiopathic pulmonary fibrosis (IPF).

He has also served in medical affairs leadership roles at Gilead and was involved in the company's approved and pipeline programs for pulmonary arterial hypertension (PAH) and IPF.

Lazarus will now help run the biotech’s pipeline, which includes rodatristat ethyl and ALTA-2530. The former is a tryptophan hydroxylase (TPH) inhibitor, in midstage testing for pulmonary arterial hypertension (PAH), a disorder with increasing biopharma focus.

The latter, ALTA-2530, is an interleukin-1 receptor antagonist under development for bronchiolitis obliterans syndrome (BOS), a life-threatening complication of lung transplantation and a disease where there are currently no approved therapies.

“We are thrilled to welcome Howard to the Altavant team as we advance our lead candidate, rodatristat ethyl, in its ongoing phase 2 trial in pulmonary arterial hypertension, and expand our pipeline with the addition of ALTA-2530, which we plan to develop for bronchiolitis obliterans syndrome,” said William T. Symonds, Pharm.D., CEO at Altavant.

“Howard's passion for developing medicines for patients with rare and advanced lung diseases, his experience in both drug development and as a pulmonologist-intensivist caring for patients with complicated disorders such as pulmonary arterial hypertension, idiopathic pulmonary fibrosis, and bronchiolitis obliterans syndrome provide him with valuable insights that will benefit our current and future clinical trial programs.”

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“Altavant's clear commitment to rare respiratory drug development and their patient-centric clinical approach represent a compelling opportunity to make a meaningful impact on the lives of patients with unrelenting lung diseases,” added Lazarus. “I'm looking forward to working with the team to advance our two primary candidates and to evaluate new potential product opportunities as they arise.”