Dynavax Technologies Corporation (DVAX) Expands Commercial and Clinical Leadership
BERKELEY, CA--(Marketwire - January 12, 2010) - Dynavax Technologies Corporation (NASDAQ: DVAX) announced today the addition of two new senior executives to direct key commercial and clinical activities prior to the launch of HEPLISAVTM, an investigational adult hepatitis B vaccine.
Brant Biehn, after more than 20 years with Merck, joins as Chief Commercial Development Officer. Mr. Biehn will be responsible for the development and execution of Dynavax's commercial strategy, including market development, sales, and distribution channel partnerships.
William Heyward, M.D., M.P.H., a distinguished epidemiologist and specialist in the design and conduct of licensure-directed clinical trials, joins as Vice President, Clinical Research. Dr. Heyward will manage the Company's two registration trials for HEPLISAV, for which approximately 70 centers in North America and Europe will enroll 2600 subjects.
Mr. Biehn held increasingly senior sales and marketing positions during his tenure at Merck. Since 2005, he has had responsibility for many adult vaccine products, including Merck's Hepatitis A, Hepatitis B and pneumococcal vaccines. Most recently, he served as International Market Lead for ZOSTAVAX®, a vaccine launched in the US in 2005 for the prevention of herpes zoster, or shingles as well as Merck's other adult vaccines. Prior to 2009, in his role as a global brand leader, he designed and managed marketing and sales programs, including distribution channels; targeted marketing to customer groups, payers, healthcare professionals, and consumers; and led country-specific marketing for ex-US markets. Over the past two years he worked with countries worldwide to supply pneumococcal polysaccharide vaccine to help prevent secondary bacterial infections that may result from pandemic flu infection. This program extended to both large public health programs as well as private health groups, with an emphasis on prevention of pandemic flu impacts. Earlier in his career Mr. Biehn created and led national sales organizations and directed multiple marketing efforts aimed at commercialization planning for new vaccine and human health products. Mr. Biehn earned a Bachelor of Science in Computer Science from the Memorial University of Newfoundland.
William Heyward, M.D., M.P.H.
Dr. Heyward brings to Dynavax an expertise in hepatitis B that reflects a distinguished public health service career as well experience in the management of large clinical trials for new vaccine and antiviral products. Most recently, he was Vice President, Clinical Development at Osel, Inc., a bacterial therapeutics company and prior to that, a Founding Member and President of Quattro Clinical Research, a clinical research organization providing clinical research services to biotechnology and pharmaceutical companies developing therapeutics and anti-viral products. From 2000 to 2004, Dr. Heyward was Vice President of International Clinical Research at VaxGen, Inc. where he provided oversight for two major Phase 3 clinical trials evaluating an HIV vaccine in 7500 subjects at over 60 U.S. and international sites. Over a period of 20 years, Dr. Heyward was a Commissioned Officer in the U.S. Public Health Service with the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), where he was involved in epidemiologic and vaccine studies on a number of different infectious diseases including hepatitis B, Haemophilus influenzae type b, pneumococcal disease, botulism, and HIV/AIDS. Most notably, he led a research team in Alaska that demonstrated the role of universal immunization in the eradication of hepatitis B infection in endemic population groups. Dr. Heyward holds a M.D. from the Medical College of Georgia, a M.P.H. in Epidemiology from Johns Hopkins University School of Hygiene and Public Health, and a B.A. in Chemistry from Emory University.
To induce qualified individuals to join Dynavax, the Company's Board of Directors has adopted a 2010 Employment Inducement Award Plan (the "Inducement Plan"). This Inducement Plan provides for the issuance of up to 1,500,000 shares of Dynavax Common Stock to new employees of Dynavax. Stockholder approval of the Inducement Plan is not required under Nasdaq Marketplace Rule 5635(c)(4).
Under this Inducement Plan, nine employees, including Mr. Biehn and Dr. Heyward, were granted options to purchase a total of 648,000 shares of Dynavax Common Stock on January 11, 2010. The exercise price for the option shares granted was $1.59, which was the closing price of Dynavax Common Stock on the Nasdaq Capital Market on the date of grant.
Dynavax Technologies Corporation, a clinical-stage biopharmaceutical company, discovers and develops novel products to prevent and treat infectious diseases. The Company's lead product candidate is HEPLISAV, an investigational adult hepatitis B vaccine designed to provide more rapid and increased protection with fewer doses than current licensed vaccines. For more information, visit www.dynavax.com.