Pardes poaches former Dermira CEO Wiggans amid rocky ride at stock market

Pardes Biosciences has a new face at the helm as the COVID-19 antiviral maker tries to rebound from a rough few weeks in which its stock has nearly halved.

The company's shares have sank from $12 in mid-February to $6.28 apiece as of Thursday. 

Now steering the ship is Thomas Wiggans, the Dermira co-founder and CEO who sold the chronic skin condition biotech to Eli Lilly for $1.1 billion in January 2020. Wiggans replaces Pardes founder Uri Lopatin, M.D., less than three months after the biotech raised $274 million in its public debut thanks to a merger with a special purpose acquisition company in a deal backed by Gilead.

Lopatin will remain on the board and help in R&D work as chief scientific and strategic advisor, the Carlsbad, California biotech said Wednesday. 

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"The COVID pandemic has had a profound impact on our planet, inflicting terrible human and economic consequences. Yet vaccines and therapies have been developed in record time, helping us avoid a pandemic that could have been much worse. We must continue to accelerate these efforts," Wiggans said in a statement. 

Pardes' oral antiviral, PBI-0451, is being tested in a phase 1 study of healthy patients, according to the FDA's clinical trials registry. The biotech said last month that initial observations of the study supported the antiviral's potential as a standalone therapy and that it would likely enter a phase 2/3 study in mid-2022, pending regulatory talks.