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Vir, in midst of restructuring, loses its chief medical officer

Infectious disease drug developer Vir Biotechnology on Tuesday disclosed that chief medical officer Phil Pang is stepping down from his role to spend more time with his family.

Pang will leave at the end of March, and Vir is now looking for his successor.

“Phil has served as a formidable leader at Vir, where he played a major part in the development of sotrovimab during the peak of the COVID-19 pandemic,” said Marianne De Backer, CEO of Vir, in a statement. “With his background in infectious diseases, he has built strong teams with a mission of targeting major unmet needs globally, including chronic hepatitis delta, hepatitis B, and HIV.”

A person in a business suit looks straight ahead in a headshot photograph.

Phil Pang

Permission granted by Vir Biotechnology

Pang joined Vir in 2016 when the company was still a budding biotech. The company’s profile rose during the pandemic, when it worked with GSK to develop a COVID antibody treatment called sotrovimab. The drug secured emergency clearance from the Food and Drug Administration in 2021, but was later withdrawn from market as new virus variants emerged that could evade its protection.

The company has since struggled to gain its footing. Former CEO George Scangos departed from his role at the start of 2023, with De Backer succeeding him.

An experimental antibody for preventing influenza later failed in Phase 2 testing. GSK was working with Vir on this drug as well, and the negative findings could put further payments through the collaboration at risk.

In December, Vir underwent a restructuring, laying off 75 employees and shutting two research facilities to save cash. At the same time, the company prioritized programs for hepatitis D and hepatitis B.

Shares in Vir, which have fallen by two-thirds over the past year, declined in value by about 1.5% Wednesday morning. The company will report results for the fourth quarter on Thursday.