ELITE 2018 Drug Researcher and Developer Ann Kwong of Trek Therapeutics, PBC

Ann Kwong

CEO, President, and Co-founder

Trek Therapeutics, PBC

Developing Affordable HCV Treatments

Ann D. Kwong, PhD is an industry leader in antiviral drug discovery with more than 20 years’ experience in developing successful drug candidates. She created the Infectious Diseases group at Vertex Pharmaceuticals, where she played a leading role in the research, development, and commercialization of Incivek (telaprevir), a HCV protease inhibitor which received the prestigious Prix Galien award for Best Pharmaceutical Agent in 2012, and had the distinction of generating the best drug launch in history (over $1B in sales in less than one year) until Sovaldi’s launch four years later. Ann also started Vertex’s influenza virus program, which led to the development of VX-787 (pimodivir), which received a U.S. FDA Fast Track designation and is currently in Phase III development with Johnson & Johnson.

Previously, Ann worked on HSV and HCV antiviral drug discovery at the Schering-Plough Research Institute and helped to solve the crystal structure of HCV helicase. She is a founding member of HCV Drug Development Advisory Group (HCV DRAG), a consortium of industry leaders, clinical trial leaders, community representatives, and FDA and EMA regulators who work together to optimize HCV drug development.

Ann’s latest endeavor is Trek Therapeutics, which is consolidating the world’s best HCV drugs in development to potentially create a best-in-class (e.g., shortest duration) and best-in-price (e.g., most affordable price) regimen. Trek’s goal is to help eliminate HCV by increasing HCV diagnosis and treatment while driving revenue to more than $20B over 10 years. Due to the high cost of current treatments, between 50%-90% of chronic HCV infections in the U.S. and Europe have not been diagnosed, increasing the risk of liver cancer and failure. Trek hopes to successfully address this healthcare disconnect, but also views HCV as a launch pad to develop additional antiviral drugs for volume-driven sales.

Under Ann’s leadership, Trek recently signed a pre-approval contract with a major U.S. private insurer to supply a HCV regimen to treat their HCV genotype 1-infected patients, currently planning for launch in 2022. This deal is the first of its kind and shows that win-win relationships are possible between various healthcare stakeholders—to the ultimate benefit of patients.

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