SOUTH SAN FRANCISCO, Calif., Feb. 23, 2017 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) -- Achaogen, Inc. (NASDAQ:AKAO), a clinical-stage biopharmaceutical company discovering and developing novel antibacterials addressing multi-drug resistant (MDR) gram-negative infections, today announced the promotions of Blake Wise to President and Chief Operating Officer, Lee Swem, Ph.D., to Senior Vice President and Chief Scientific Officer and Zeryn Sarpangal to Senior Vice President of Corporate and People Strategy.

“We have many talented individuals in the organization whose contributions and teamwork are essential to the significant progress we’ve made as an organization. The leadership and effort of these three individuals has been instrumental to this progress and I’m excited to recognize their impact with these promotions,” said Kenneth Hillan, M.B. Ch.B., Achaogen's Chief Executive Officer. “As we expand key operating areas of the company, these promotions reflect our commitment to building a fully integrated biopharmaceutical company focused on discovering, developing and commercializing novel therapeutics to address the significant unmet medical need presented by MDR infections.”

Blake Wise has been appointed President and Chief Operating Officer. He joined Achaogen in 2015 as Achaogen’s Chief Operating Officer. In his expanded role, Mr. Wise will oversee commercialization, technical operations, corporate development, investor relations, corporate communications and human resources. Prior to joining Achaogen, Mr. Wise held increasingly responsible positions at Genentech, most recently as Vice President, Cross BioOncology where he led cross-portfolio oncology initiatives, including key account management, marketing, managed markets, companion diagnostics, pipeline commercialization, and long-term oncology strategy. Mr. Wise received a Bachelor of Arts degree in Business Economics from University of California, Santa Barbara, and a Masters of Business Administration degree from the University of California, Berkeley Haas School of Business.

Dr. Lee Swem has been promoted to Senior Vice President and Chief Scientific Officer. He joined Achaogen in 2013 as the Director of the Therapeutic Antibody Program, where he developed a state-of-the-art antibody discovery platform to rapidly identify rare functional antibodies to treat serious human infectious diseases. In 2015, he was appointed Vice President, Head of Research. Prior to Achaogen, Dr. Swem was a Scientist in the Department of Infectious Disease at Genentech where he developed programs in anti-influenza A and B, and began a small molecule anti-bacterial program. Dr. Swem received his Ph.D. from Indiana University followed by postdoctorate research at Princeton University.

Zeryn Sarpangal has been promoted to Senior Vice President of Corporate and People Strategy. In this role, she will oversee human resources along with key aspects of corporate strategy, alliance management and non-dilutive funding. Ms. Sarpangal has been at Achaogen for more than six years and has held various roles in the organization including Sr. Director of Finance & Operations and Director of Strategic Marketing. In 2015, she was promoted to Vice President of Human Resources and Corporate Affairs. From 2012 to 2013, Ms. Sarpangal was Vice President of Finance & Operations at Identified, an HR data analytics company, that was acquired by Workday. Prior to joining Achaogen, she was an engagement manager at McKinsey & Company focused on social sector organizations and biopharmaceutical companies, and prior to that, a healthcare investment banking analyst at Goldman, Sachs & Co. Ms. Sarpangal received a Bachelor of Arts in Economics and Molecular & Cell Biology from University of California, Berkeley, and a Masters of Business Administration from the Stanford Graduate School of Business.

About Achaogen
Achaogen is a clinical-stage biopharmaceutical company passionately committed to the discovery, development, and commercialization of novel antibacterial treatments for MDR gram-negative infections. Achaogen is developing plazomicin, Achaogen’s lead product candidate, for the treatment of serious bacterial infections due to MDR Enterobacteriaceae, including carbapenem-resistant Enterobacteriaceae. Achaogen’s plazomicin program is funded in part with a contract from the Biomedical Advanced Research and Development Authority. Plazomicin is the first clinical candidate from Achaogen’s gram-negative antibiotic discovery engine, and Achaogen has other programs in early and late preclinical stages focused on other MDR gram-negative infections. For more information, please visit

Forward-Looking Statements
This press release contains forward-looking statements. All statements other than statements of historical facts contained herein are forward-looking statements reflecting the current beliefs and expectations of management made pursuant to the safe harbor provisions of the Private Securities Litigation Reform Act of 1995, including, but not limited to, Achaogen’s expectations regarding potential regulatory approval of plazomicin, Achaogen’s commercial objectives and Achaogen’s pipeline of product candidates. Such forward-looking statements involve known and unknown risks, uncertainties and other important factors that may cause Achaogen's actual results, performance or achievements to be materially different from any future results, performance or achievements expressed or implied by the forward-looking statements. Such risks and uncertainties include, among others, the uncertainties inherent in the preclinical and clinical development process; the risks and uncertainties of the regulatory approval process; the risks and uncertainties of commercialization and gaining market acceptance; the risk when bacteria will evolve resistance to plazomicin; Achaogen's reliance on third-party contract manufacturing organizations to manufacture and supply its product candidates and certain raw materials used in the production thereof; risk of third party claims alleging infringement of patents and proprietary rights or seeking to invalidate Achaogen's patents or proprietary rights; and the risk that Achaogen's proprietary rights may be insufficient to protect its technologies and product candidates. For a further description of the risks and uncertainties that could cause actual results to differ from those expressed in these forward- looking statements, as well as risks relating to Achaogen's business in general, see Achaogen's current and future reports filed with the Securities and Exchange Commission, including its Quarterly Report on Form 10-Q for the quarter ended September 30, 2016, and its Annual Report on Form 10-K for the fiscal year ended December 31, 2015. Achaogen does not plan to publicly update or revise any forward-looking statements contained in this press release, whether as a result of any new information, future events, changed circumstances or otherwise.

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