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Aerium Therapeutics Appoints Scientific Leadership Team With Deep Expertise in Infectious Diseases, COVID-19 and Product Development

Boston, MA and Lausanne, Switzerland, November 7, 2022 – Aerium Therapeutics, a new company developing an ambitious pipeline of antibody and antiviral treatments for SARS-CoV-2 and emerging viral threats, announced the appointment of key members to its leadership team. These key hires will accelerate the development of Aerium’s drug and treatment candidates as it moves to quickly become a major contributor in the fight against current and future epidemic and pandemic threats.

The new members of the Aerium leadership team are:

  • Prakash Bhuyan, M.D., Ph.D. is appointed Chief Medical Officer. Dr. Bhuyan most recent served as vice president and head of clinical development for infectious disease at AstraZeneca.
  • Joanne T. Beck, Ph.D., has been appointed Chief Technology Officer. Dr. Beck most recently served as Chief Operating Officer at Boston Pharmaceuticals.
  • Kai Lin, Ph.D. is appointed Head of Research. Dr. Lin most recently served as vice president of virology at Atea Pharmaceuticals.
  • Heather Knight, Pharm.D. has been appointed Head of Regulatory Affairs. Dr. Knight most recently served as vice president of regulatory affairs and quality assurance at Chimerix.
  • Moetaz Albizem, M.D. is appointed Head of Clinical Operations. Dr. Albizem most recently served as executive director, therapeutic area operations leader at Regeneron.

“We are excited to have Prakash, Joanne, Kai, Heather and Moetaz spearhead our scientific leadership team with their deep and broad expertise in product development for infectious diseases,” said Rajeev Venkayya, M.D., CEO of Aerium Therapeutics. “We are building a world-class team at Aerium to tackle COVID-19 today, and the epidemic and pandemic threats of the future.”

Aerium Therapeutics, which emerged from stealth mode in March, is focusing its initial efforts on two monoclonal antibodies that, in preclinical testing, have shown potent neutralization of important COVID-19 Variants of Concern (VOCs), including Delta, Omicron and its subvariants BA.4 and BA.5. The combination is being developed for prevention of COVID-19 in immunocompromised persons who may not be able to mount a protective immune response to vaccination. Aerium has also launched its first antiviral development program, and will expand its monoclonal antibody and antiviral efforts beyond COVID-19 in the future.

Here is additional background on the new additions to Aerium’s scientific leadership team:

Prakash Bhuyan, M.D., Ph.D.
Dr. Bhuyan joins Aerium as Chief Medical Officer. He previously served as Vice President, Head of Clinical Development for Infectious Disease at AstraZeneca. He also served as Senior Vice President of Clinical Development at Inovio Pharmaceuticals. He has more than 20 years’ experience in academia and industry and has led clinical development of numerous established vaccines used to treat neonates, older adults and special populations. He received his M.D. and Ph.D. from the University of Texas Southwestern Medical Center and a B.S. in biology from Johns Hopkins University.

Joanne Beck, Ph.D.
Dr. Beck joins as Chief Technology Officer.  She is an accomplished biotech executive with extensive experience in biologics, small molecules and cell therapy development, operations, and business strategy. Most recently she served as Chief Operating Officer at Boston Pharmaceuticals where she oversaw Portfolio and Program Management, CMC, Quality, IT, Strategic Sourcing, and Medical Affairs. Prior to that, she was the Executive Vice President of Global Pharmaceutical Development and Operations at Celgene. Prior to Celgene, Dr. Beck was SVP of Pharmaceutical Development at Shire. Prior to that she held roles of increasing responsibility in Process Development at Genentech and Amgen and in Operations at Abbott’s Pharmaceutical and Vascular Divisions. Dr. Beck serves as a non-executive director on the Boards of Orchard Therapeutics and Astria Therapeutics. She holds a BA in Chemistry from Lewis and Clark College, a Ph.D. in Biochemistry and Molecular Biology from University of Oregon Medical School and completed a postdoctoral fellowship in the department of Pharmaceutical Chemistry at the University of California, San Francisco.

Kai Lin, Ph.D.
Dr. Lin joins Aerium as Head of Research. Dr. Lin has more than 20 years of antiviral drug discovery and development experience in the pharmaceutical industry, and has contributed to more than 15 INDs and two NDAs. He is a strong scientific leader and virology expert with extensive knowledge on viral pathogens, including SARS-CoV-2, RSV, HBV and flaviviruses. He has led drug development of both small molecule and biologics (antibodies, proteins, and siRNA medicines). Earlier, Dr. Lin was a scientist at Novartis and Vertex Pharmaceuticals, and he held positions of increasing responsibility at Idenix Pharmaceuticals, Enanta Pharmaceuticals, and Atea Pharmaceuticals. Dr. Lin has a Ph.D. in biochemistry from the University of Pennsylvania and a B.S. in biochemistry from Nankai University in China.

Heather Knight, Pharm.D.
Dr. Knight joins Aerium as Head of Regulatory Affairs. She brings more than 20 years of experience in the pharmaceutical industry, most recently at Chimerix, where she was the Vice President of Regulatory Affairs and Quality Assurance. Earlier, she served as Senior Director and Head of Regulatory Sciences at ZymoGenetics and held director-level positions at Bristol-Myers Squibb. She is a registered pharmacist in West Virginia and holds a B.S. in biology and Doctor of Pharmacy degrees from West Virginia University.

Moetaz Albizem, M.D.
Dr. Albizem joins Aerium as Head of Clinical Operations. He was previously Executive Director, Therapeutic Area Operations Leader, at Regeneron Pharmaceuticals where he led global study management and clinical operations teams in various therapeutic areas. He directed global clinical operations for the company’s COVID program which received Emergency Use Authorization from the U.S. Food and Drug Administration in 12 months. Earlier, Dr. Albizem served as Director of Global Study Management at Amgen and Executive Director of Clinical Development at Incyte. Dr. Albizem received his Doctor of Medicine degree from Minsk Medical University in Belarus.

For more information on these leaders and the rest of Aerium’s leadership team, visit Our Team at

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