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PHILADELPHIA, Aug. 13, 2015 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) -- Hemispherx Biopharma, Inc. (NYSE MKT:HEB) (the "Company" or "Hemispherx") today announced that the Board has appointed Thomas Equels as the new President for Hemispherx Biopharma Inc. According to Peter Rodino, Chairman of the Audit Committee and an Independent Director, "On behalf of the Independent Directors, we are pleased to announce Equels' expanded role in providing a strong new executive emphasis creating greater operational efficiencies through seeking to achieve significant operational savings. He will also have a clear mandate from the Board to strengthen internal controls, achieve enhanced governance, and create an environment for greater stockholder value. This strengthened executive role, we believe, will far better serve our corporate goals."
A photo accompanying this release is available at http://www.globenewswire.com/newsroom/prs/?pkgid=35147
Equels has served as Executive Vice Chairman, Chief Financial Officer, Secretary and General Counsel of Hemispherx. Equels' experience and education provide a firm basis for his executive service. For more than thirty years his legal practice focused on complex business litigation, including cases related to corporate finance and market issues. For example, in 2008 he won Florida's highly coveted "Most Effective Lawyer" award in the "Complex Business Litigation" category based upon obtaining for the Delaware Insurance Commissioner a $26.8 million judgment against Bear Stearns in a case which unraveled Bear Stearns' abuses related to CMOs, a complex financial instrument. In a rare feat, that same year he also was awarded "Most Effective Lawyer" in the appellate category for a Florida Supreme Court win in an important medical records access case with major constitutional implications. Equels also has extensive experience in international matters; for example he has served for many years as international counsel for the Republic of Panama and also as litigation counsel for the People's Republic of China's Chinese National Petroleum Corp. He has worked extensively in Europe, as well as in South America, Asia and Africa. Equels received his Juris Doctor degree Magna Cum Laude from Florida State University and is a Bachelor of Science Summa Cum Laude graduate of Troy University, where he also received a management related Master of Science Degree. Equels has also demonstrated a strong commitment to civic duties. He was awarded, by order of the President of the United States, two Distinguished Flying Crosses for heroism in combat actions as a Cobra Gunship pilot during the Vietnam War. He has also received the Bronze Star, 15 Air Medals, 3 with "v" device for valor, the Purple Heart and the RVN Cross of Gallantry for his combat services in Vietnam. As a lawyer, he has been awarded the Florida Bar President's Pro Bono Service Award; the Federal Bar Association's Public Service Award; The Guild of Catholic Lawyers' St. Thomas More Award; and the Southern Christian Leadership Conference's Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Community Service Award. In 2012 Pope Benedict XVI, in one of the Vatican State's highest honors for a layperson, made Equels a Papal Knight in the Chivalric Order of St. Gregory the Great. This award of knighthood was in recognition of his many years of service to the poor and disenfranchised in his community.
Dr. William Carter, Hemispherx' Chairman and CEO and Chief Science Officer explains, "This is a logical progression of Mr. Equels' extraordinary achievements across a wide range of initiatives in the company and will strengthen and provide additional depth in our executive leadership."
Equels reaffirms his strong commitment to the future of Hemispherx, stating, "Under my leadership this Company will be absolutely committed to the goals of stronger financial performance and a renewed commitment to creating shareholder value. I say this not just because I believe in myself, but primarily because of my strong and unwavering belief in the importance of our flagship experimental drug Ampligen/Rintatolimod and our FDA approved drug Alferon as having great potential to play a significant role in the important and developing field of immunological therapy for a variety of diseases such as cancer and numerous acute and chronic viral infections. This is the reason I have become a major stockholder over the years and the reason I am prepared to serve as president."
About Hemispherx Biopharma
Hemispherx Biopharma, Inc. is an advanced specialty pharmaceutical company engaged in the manufacture and clinical development of new drug entities for treatment of seriously debilitating disorders. Hemispherx's flagship products include Alferon N Injection® and the experimental therapeutics Ampligen® and Alferon® LDO. Ampligen® is an experimental RNA nucleic acid being developed for globally important debilitating diseases and disorders of the immune system, including Chronic Fatigue Syndrome. Hemispherx's platform technology includes components for potential treatment of various severely debilitating and life threatening diseases. Because both Ampligen® and Alferon® LDO are experimental in nature, they are not designated safe and effective by a regulatory authority for general use and are legally available only through clinical trials. Hemispherx has patents comprising its core intellectual property estate and a fully commercialized product (Alferon N Injection®), approved for sale in the U.S. and Argentina. The FDA approval of Alferon N Injection® is limited to the treatment of refractory or recurrent external genital warts in patients 18 years of age or older. The Company's Alferon N Injection® approval in Argentina includes the use of Alferon N Injection® (under the brand name "Naturaferon") for use in any patients who fail, or become intolerant to recombinant interferon, including patients with chronic active hepatitis C infection. The Company wholly owns and exclusively operates a GMP certified manufacturing facility in the United States for commercial products. For more information please visit www.hemispherx.net.
The foregoing release contains forward-looking statements that can be identified by words such as "will be, investigative, interim, potential" or similar terms, or by express or implied discussions regarding potential efficacy for Hemispherx's Ampligen®, or regarding potential future revenues from Ampligen®. You should not place undue reliance on these statements. Such forward-looking statements are based on the current beliefs and expectations of Management regarding future events, and are subject to significant known and unknown risks and uncertainties. Should one or more of these risks or uncertainties materialize, or should underlying assumptions prove incorrect, actual results may vary materially from those set forth in the forward-looking statements. There can be no guarantee that Ampligen® will receive regulatory approval or be commercially successful in the future. In particular, management's expectations regarding Ampligen® could be affected by, among other things, the uncertainties inherent in research and development, including unexpected clinical trial results and additional analysis of existing clinical data; unexpected regulatory actions or delays or government regulation generally; the Company's ability to obtain or maintain proprietary intellectual property protection; general economic and industry conditions; global trends toward health care cost containment, including ongoing pricing pressures; unexpected manufacturing issues, and other risks and factors described in Hemispherx's filings with the Securities and Exchange Commission, including the most recent reports on Forms 10-K, 10-Q and 8-K on file with the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission. Hemispherx is providing the information in this press release as of this date and does not undertake any obligation to update any forward-looking statements contained in this press release as a result of new information, future events or otherwise.
The information in this press release includes certain "forward-looking" statements including without limitation statements about additional steps which the FDA may require and Hemispherx may take in continuing to seek commercial approval of the Ampligen® NDA for the treatment of Chronic Fatigue Syndrome in the United States. The production of new Alferon® API inventory will not commence until the capital improvement and validation phases are complete. While the facility is approved by FDA under the Biological License Application ("BLA") for Alferon®, this status will need to be reaffirmed upon the completion of the facility's enhancements prior to commercial sale of newly produced inventory product. If and when we obtain a reaffirmation of FDA BLA status and have begun production of new Alferon® API, we will need FDA approval as to the quality and stability of the final product to allow commercial sales to resume. The final results of these and other ongoing activities could vary materially from Hemispherx's expectations and could adversely affect the chances for approval of the Ampligen® NDA in the United States and other countries. Any failure to satisfy the FDA regulatory requirements or the requirements of other countries could significantly delay, or preclude outright, approval of the Ampligen® NDA in the United States and other countries.
Information contained in this news release, other than historical information, should be considered forward-looking and is subject to various risk factors and uncertainties including, but not limited to, general industry conditions and competition; general economic factors; the Company's ability to adequately fund its projects; the impact of pharmaceutical industry regulation and healthcare legislation in the United States and internationally; trends toward healthcare cost containment; technological advances, new products and patents attained by competitors; challenges inherent in new product development, including obtaining regulatory approval; the Company's ability to accurately predict the future market conditions; manufacturing difficulties or delays; dependence on the effectiveness of the Company's patents and other protections for products; and the exposure to litigation, including patent litigation, and/or regulatory actions; as well as numerous other factors discussed in this release and in the Company's filings with the Securities and Exchange Commission. The final results of these efforts could vary materially from Hemispherx's expectations. Finally, the projection of savings above is subject to change based upon operational requirements of the company and the possibility that additional finance and accounting staff may be required to accomplish the Company's goals and objectives.
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