SAN DIEGO – May 13, 2021 – ARS Pharmaceuticals, Inc., a pharmaceutical company dedicated to empowering at-risk patients and caregivers to better protect themselves from severe allergic reactions potentially leading to anaphylaxis, today announced the appointment of biotech leader and visionary Brent Saunders to its Board of Directors. Mr. Saunders currently serves as chief executive officer, president and chairman of Vesper Healthcare Acquisition Corp., a special purpose acquisition corporation, and previously served as Chairman and CEO of Allergan plc.
“We are thrilled to have Brent join our board at this pivotal time in the development of our easy-to-use, needle-free, pocket-sized epinephrine device, Neffy™. We are fast approaching a major milestone with our transformation to a commercial-stage organization, and we look forward to tapping into Brent’s track record of developing and commercializing numerous pharmaceutical products, so that we may provide people with solutions to protect themselves from the life-threatening risks with severe allergies, such as anaphylaxis,” said Richard Lowenthal, founder, chief executive officer and president of ARS Pharma.
Pratik Shah, Ph.D., chairman of the ARS Pharma board of directors, added that, “Since ARS’ founding, we have been focused on solving the challenges for people with severe allergies, such as misfirings and injuries with auto-injectors delivering epinephrine. The team has done a remarkable job in bringing our company’s innovation with Neffy™ to this stage, with multiple innovations behind it. Along with the rest of the Board, I look forward to collaborating with Brent to help ARS execute the next phase of its evolution as a commercial company and reach the full potential this organization has in impacting people’s lives.”
“I am delighted to join the ARS team, and contribute to the company’s efforts to bring forward such a transformational product as I believe Neffy™ represents, with the opportunity to meaningfully impact the lives of people challenged by severe allergic reactions,” said Mr. Saunders. “The combination of the pioneering science, a near-term commercial product with a compelling value proposition, and an outstanding team of leaders and advisors sets up this company for a very strong future.”
Mr. Saunders has over 25 years of experience in various aspects of healthcare and has been in leadership roles at several prominent global pharmaceutical and healthcare companies. He currently serves as chief executive officer, president and chairman of Vesper Healthcare Acquisition Corp., a special purpose acquisition corporation. Until its acquisition by AbbVie in May 2020, Mr. Saunders served as chairman, president and chief executive officer of Allergan plc. Prior to this, Mr. Saunders served as chief executive officer of Forest Laboratories Inc., a role he held until the company’s merger with Actavis in 2014. Following the merger with Actavis, Mr. Saunders was named chief executive officer of the combined business in 2015. From March 2010 until August 2013, Mr. Saunders served as chief executive officer of Bausch + Lomb Incorporated until its acquisition by Valeant in 2013. Mr. Saunders holds a B.A. degree from the University of Pittsburgh, a J.D. degree from the Temple University School of Law, and an MBA from the Temple University School of Business.
Mr. Saunders serves as chair of the board of directors for OcuTerra Therapeutics, Inc. a clinical stage ophthalmology drug development company, and as a director of Cisco Systems, Inc., a global telecommunications company, and BridgeBio Pharma Inc., a bio pharmaceutical company. He is also a member of The Business Council.
About ARS Pharmaceuticals, Inc.
ARS Pharmaceuticals is dedicated to empowering at-risk patients and caregivers to better protect themselves from severe allergic reactions that could lead to anaphylaxis. The Company is developing Neffy™ (also called ARS-1), an investigational intranasal epinephrine spray with a unique absorption technology that could be easy-to-use, needle-free, convenient and more reliable for patients and loved ones at-risk of severe allergic reactions to food, medications and insect bites that could lead to life-threatening anaphylaxis. For more, visit www.ars-pharma.com.
About Neffy™ (ARS-1)
Neffy™ is an aqueous formulation of epinephrine nasal spray uniquely developed with Intravail®, a novel nasal absorption enhancing technology. Neffy™ has demonstrated comparable pharmacokinetics to an intramuscular injection of epinephrine in clinical studies using a low and safe intranasal dose (1.0 mg epinephrine administered). As a result, the Company believes that the Neffy™ formulation may enable people to easily deliver epinephrine in emergency situations more rapidly, and with less hesitation, at the onset of an allergic reaction, as compared to currently available epinephrine auto-injectors. The intranasal epinephrine spray is also designed to be user-friendly, needle-free, and easily portable to carry in a pocket or purse anytime, anywhere.
Neffy™ was granted Fast Track Designation by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) in February 2019. Fast track is a process designed to facilitate the development and expedite the review of drugs to treat serious conditions and fill an unmet medical need by providing a therapy where none exist or by providing a therapy which may be potentially better than available therapy. Its purpose is to get important new drugs to patients earlier.
Anaphylaxis is a severe, life-threatening allergic reaction with a sudden onset that can occur very quickly — as fast as within a couple of minutes — and could be fatal if not treated immediately. According to published literature up to 5.3 million people in the United States are at risk of having an anaphylaxis reaction that may warrant immediate emergency medical treatment, with more than 200,000 emergency room visits due to severe reactions from food allergies reported annually.
The sprayer is uniquely formulated with Intravail®, an absorption enhancing technology. Intravail® enables the non-invasive delivery of a broad range of protein, peptide, and non-peptide drugs (up to 30,000 daltons in size) that can currently only be administered by injection.