Athira Pharma Inc. (ATHA) Appoints Mark Litton as CEO and President; Rachel Lenington as Chief Operating Officer


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Athira Pharma, Inc. (NASDAQ: ATHA), an advanced clinical biopharmaceutical company focused on developing small molecules to restore neural health and stop neurodegeneration, today announced the appointment of Mark Litton, Ph.D., MBA, to the position CEO of Athira. Dr Litton succeeds Dr Leen Kawas, who has resigned as President and CEO of the Society and member of the Board of Directors of the Society. Dr. Litton will also join the Company’s Board of Directors. Rachel Lenington, MBA, chief technology officer of the company and director of product development strategy, has been appointed chief operating officer of the company.

We are fortunate to have executives of the caliber of Dr Litton and Ms Lenington to lead Athira at this pivotal time,Said Kelly A. Romano, Chairman of the Board of Directors of Athira. “Dr. Litton has shown exemplary leadership within the Athira team since joining the Company in July 2019, and especially since take on leadership responsibilities on a daily basis in June. “

The Company and Dr Kawas agreed that it is in Athira’s best interest to enter this critical next chapter under new leadership.. Dr Kawas’ actions in Washington State University took place many years ago and did not involve ATH-1017, Athira’s main development candidate,”Continued Ms. Romano. ” We thank Dr. Kawas for her unwavering determination to make a meaningful difference for Alzheimer’s patients and their caregivers.. “

Athira’s goal has always been to develop therapies capable of reversing the effects of neurodegenerative diseases,“Said Dr Kawas. “This talented team has taken important steps towards achieving this goal and I remain confident in the Company’s ability to achieve its mission and bring to market the main candidates for the Company’s development.. “

We are confident in the therapeutic potential of ATH-1017 for the treatment of dementia, and I am honored to receive this opportunity to lead Athira with our dedicated team to help improve the lives of all of our loved ones suffering from these debilitating conditions. ,“Said Dr Litton.

Athira remains absolutely committed to the integrity of scientific research in its mission to restore the neuronal health of people with neurological diseases, so that patients can regain their memories, lives and family relationships,”Ms. Romano said.

The Company also announced that its board of directors has concluded its independent special committee’s investigation into allegations raised regarding doctoral research by Dr. Kawas conducted while a graduate student at Washington State University (“WSU” ).

The main finding of the special committee is that Dr Kawas altered the images in her 2011 doctoral dissertation and in at least four research papers that she co-authored as a graduate student at WSU, published from 2011. to 2014.

The Company’s main development candidate, ATH-1017, is a new small molecule in advanced clinical development and not the subject of Dr. Kawas’ doctoral research. Athira received a patent in the United States covering the ATH-1017 in June 2021, and the Special Committee found that neither this patent nor the underlying patent application cites any of the documents the Special Committee found contained images modified by Dr Kawas.

As the Company previously disclosed, the results of its phase 1a / b trial of ATH-1017 demonstrated a statistically significant improvement in event-related potential (ERP) P300 latency, an objective measure of processing speed of working memory, in patients with Alzheimer’s disease. after multiple dose treatments with ATH-1017 compared to those receiving placebo. The phase 1a / b trial was conducted by an independent contract research organization, Biotrial. QACV Consulting, an independent auditing firm, recently confirmed the GCP compliance and quality of data management of this Phase 1a / b trial.

ATH-1017 is currently under investigation in a double-blind, placebo-controlled, and potentially pivotal, double-blind, placebo-controlled, Phase 2/3 clinical trial. These trials are currently recruiting more than 375 patients to further assess the safety and impact of ATH-1017 on cognition in patients with mild to moderate Alzheimer’s disease over a six-month period.

Conference Call Information

Athira will be holding a conference call today. Details as follows:

Date: October 21, 2021
Time: 1:30 p.m. Pacific / 4:30 p.m. East
Toll free: (833) 614-1520
International: (516) 575-8710
Conference number: 8695132
Webcast URL:

The archived audio webcast will be available in the Investor Relations / Events and Presentations section of the Athira website. approximately two hours after the event and will be available for replay for at least 30 days after the event.


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