vTv CEO resigns 4 months into job after slashing workforce, refocusing pipeline

About four months into the job, Deepa Prasad is resigning from the top perch at vTv Therapeutics after restructuring the company to focus on a late-stage Type 1 diabetes med and laying off a majority of the biotech's employees in December.

Prasad, a former managing director at an investment group, was announced as CEO and president of the High Point, North Carolina, biotech on Oct. 20, 2021. The company laid off 65% of its workforce seven weeks later to focus on the late-stage T1D asset, dubbed TTP399, which is slated for phase 3 trials later this year. 

Now, she'll be replaced by Rich Nelson on an acting basis. Nelson has been on the biotech's board since 2020 and is an EVP of corporate and business development at marketing solutions company Vericast, owned by billionaire Ronald Perelman. 

During the staff layoffs in December, vTv paused development of HPP737, an inhibitor for psoriasis that was also being tested in midstage studies in atopic dermatitis and chronic obstructive pulmonary disease.

The biotech then said it was seeking licensing deals for HPP737 and other assets a month later. The company also has partnered clinical-stage meds TTP273 for Type 2 diabetes, HPP593 for primary mitochondrial myopathy, HPP971 for renal diseases and azeliragon for pancreatic cancer. 

Azeliragon failed two phase 3 studies in patients with mild Alzheimer's disease in 2018 when it failed to beat placebo on improving cognitive and functional outcomes.  

After that flop, priorities shifted to TTP399, an oral liver-selective glucokinase activator meant to reduce the amount of hypoglycemic episodes for patients with diabetes. vTv also wants licensing deals on that once-daily therapeutic to bring it to countries outside of North America and Europe, the company said in January. 

Prasad will stay on as a strategic adviser for the next six months.