Cempra Inc (NASDAQ:CEMP) announced that the company has appointed board member David Zaccardelli, Pharm.D., as acting chief executive officer and has promoted David Moore to the newly created position of president and chief commercial officer, effective immediately.

“With manufacturing and regulatory progress to achieve the approval of solithromycin as the company’s top priority, we believe Dave Zaccardelli’s operational and commercial pharmaceutical leadership experience will add tremendous value and direction to the Cempra team as we continue to work to bring urgently needed new antibiotics to patients,” said Garheng Kong, M.D., Ph.D., chairman of Cempra.

Dr. Zaccardelli is a seasoned industry leader with more than 25 years of experience including executive management and leadership across a wide range of pharmaceutical companies. From 2004 until 2016, Dr. Zaccardelli served in several senior management roles at United Therapeutics, which reported approximately $1.5 billion in revenues in 2015. His roles included chief operating officer, chief manufacturing officer and executive vice president, pharmaceutical development and operations. Prior to joining United Therapeutics, Dr. Zaccardelli founded and led a startup company focused on contract pharmaceutical development services, from 1997 through 2003. From 1988 to 1996, Dr. Zaccardelli worked at Burroughs Wellcome & Co. and Glaxo Wellcome, Inc. in a variety of clinical research positions. He also served as director of clinical and scientific affairs for Bausch & Lomb Pharmaceuticals from 1996 to 1997.

“Through my work on the board, I had the opportunity to see first-hand the strength of the Cempra team and the value solithromycin may bring to so many patients and physicians in their fight against potentially deadly bacterial infections. I look forward to leading the team through Cempra’s potential evolution from a research and development stage company into a commercial pharmaceutical company, and to working closely with David Moore, whose demonstrated leadership and commercial expertise in the antibiotic space will be critical to Cempra,” Zaccardelli said.

Prior to joining Cempra as chief commercial officer in 2014, Mr. Moore spent 14 years in commercial leadership roles at Johnson & Johnson’s Ortho-McNeil and Janssen Pharmaceutical divisions, where he developed and executed launch plans for several prescription pharmaceuticals for both primary and acute care settings. He was also responsible for developing payer value platforms for several therapeutic areas including antibiotics, pain and women’s health. Following his tenure at Johnson & Johnson, he was chief business officer and vice president of worldwide commercial operations of Tranzyme, Inc., where he was responsible for building the commercial organization, and for business development. Before joining Cempra, he was the chief business officer of Ocera Therapeutics where he was responsible for developing the commercial plans for an orphan-designated advanced liver disease product for both the community and acute care markets.

“The potential market and unmet need for solithromycin remain significant and we are committed to working closely with regulators, payers and physicians to ensure that patients with community-acquired bacterial pneumonia gain access to solithromycin for a five to seven day course of therapy,” Moore said.

Dr. Prabha Fernandes, a co-founder of Cempra who has served as president and CEO since the company’s inception in 2006, has announced her retirement as president and CEO and from the board of directors, effective immediately, and will continue to serve as a scientific consultant to the company.

“We are indebted to Prabha for anticipating the need for new antibiotics in the face of looming resistance. Her dedication and vision as Cempra’s CEO over the years have built the strong team and foundation that positions Cempra as a pioneer in antibiotic development, and we look forward to her ongoing involvement as a scientific advisor to the company,” Kong said.

“We founded Cempra with the goal of leading the development of new compounds that stand to address the critical unmet need for new antibiotic options, and it has been a privilege to lead and build Cempra alongside such tremendous colleagues and collaborators. Cempra is working to bring urgently needed new antibiotics, including solithromycin, to patients and physicians and I am excited about the future of the company under the leadership of David Zaccardelli and David Moore,” Fernandes said. (Original Source)

Shares of Cempra closed last Friday at $7.70, up $0.35 or 4.76%. CEMP has a 1-year high of $32.31 and a 1-year low of $5.70. The stock’s 50-day moving average is $9.89 and its 200-day moving average is $18.19.

On the ratings front, Cempra has been the subject of a number of recent research reports. In a report issued on November 21, Cowen analyst Ritu Baral downgraded CEMP to Hold. Separately, on the same day, Needham’s Alan Carr downgraded the stock to Hold.

According to TipRanks.com, which ranks over 7,500 financial analysts and bloggers to gauge the performance of their past recommendations, Ritu Baral and Alan Carr have a yearly average return of 1.2% and 6.8% respectively. Baral has a success rate of 36% and is ranked #1707 out of 4273 analysts, while Carr has a success rate of 44% and is ranked #521.

Sentiment on the street is mostly neutral on CEMP stock. Out of 10 analysts who cover the stock, 6 suggest a Hold rating , 2 suggest a Sell and 2 recommend to Buy the stock. The 12-month average price target assigned to the stock is $6.50, which implies a downside of 16% from current levels.

Cempra, Inc. engages as a clinical-stage pharmaceutical company, which focuses on the development of antibacterials to meet critical medical needs. Its antibiotic candidates includs Solithromycin and Taksta.