SOUTH SAN FRANCISCO, CA--(Marketwired - February 20, 2014) - Achaogen, Inc., a clinical-stage biopharmaceutical company developing novel antibacterials to treat multi-drug resistant (MDR) gram-negative infections, announced today the appointments of Derek Bertocci as Chief Financial Officer and John Smither as a member of the Board of Directors, serving as Audit Committee Chair and member of the Compensation Committee. Mr. Bertocci brings significant financial and accounting experience to Achaogen having served as Chief Financial Officer to several publicly-traded life science and medical products companies. Mr. Smither currently serves as the Chief Financial Officer of KYTHERA Biopharmaceuticals, a publicly-traded biotech company focused on the aesthetic market, and has an extensive financial background working with life science companies.
"On behalf of the management and Board of Achaogen, I am delighted to welcome Derek and John to our team," said Kenneth Hillan, Chief Executive Officer of Achaogen. "Both are accomplished executives with substantial experience that will be valuable to Achaogen as we continue to advance plazomicin and our other development programs."
Prior to joining Achaogen, Mr. Bertocci was the Chief Financial Officer of Accuray Incorporated, where he managed all finance and accounting efforts and helped guide Accuray's acquisition of TomoTherapy. In addition, he was responsible for outlining and implementing Accuray's worldwide restructuring efforts designed to improve after-tax profitability. Previously, Mr. Bertocci served as Chief Financial Officer of BioForm Medical, where he helped lead the company's successful initial public offering in 2007. Earlier in his career, he served as Chief Financial Officer of two other publicly-traded companies, VISX Incorporated and Laserscope. He holds a BA from Stanford University, and an MBA from the University of Southern California. Mr. Bertocci is also a Certified Public Accountant (inactive).
Mr. Smither brings to Achaogen's Board nearly 15 years of experience across financial roles at publicly-traded, commercial and late-stage clinical companies. He has served as KYTHERA's Chief Financial Officer since November 2007, where he has spearheaded multiple capital raising efforts, including the company's successful IPO in late 2012, its venture debt facility and a successful follow-on public offering in 2013. From 1998 to 2007, Mr. Smither held various positions at Amgen, including Executive Director of Corporate Accounting, Vice President of Finance and Administration of Amgen's European Division, and Head of Internal Audit. Before Amgen, Mr. Smither served as Audit Partner at Ernst & Young LLP, a public accounting firm, and as the Chief Financial Officer of several early stage companies. He received a BS in Business Administration from California State University, Los Angeles. Mr. Smither is a Certified Public Accountant (inactive) and a member of the American Institute of Certified Public Accountants, the California Society of Certified Public Accountants and Financial Executives International.
Achaogen is a clinical-stage biopharmaceutical company passionately committed to the discovery, development, and commercialization of novel antibacterials to treat MDR gram-negative infections. We are developing plazomicin, our lead product candidate, for the treatment of serious bacterial infections due to MDR Enterobacteriaceae, including carbapenem-resistant Enterobacteriaceae (CRE). Through the Special Protocol Assessment procedure, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration has agreed that the design and planned analyses of our single pivotal Phase 3 trial adequately address objectives in support of a New Drug Application. Our plazomicin program is funded in part with a contract from the Biomedical Advanced Research and Development Authority. Plazomicin is the first clinical candidate from our gram-negative antibiotic discovery engine, and we have other programs in early and late preclinical stages focused on other MDR gram-negative infections.