My touchstone is “the data is king” and, as Richard Feynman famously concluded after the Challenger disaster, “…reality must take precedence over public relations, for Nature cannot be fooled.”
- PhD, Virology, University of Chicago
- BA, Biology, University of Chicago
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Ann D. Kwong is a recognized industry leader with over 25 years of experience in drug discovery, development and commercialization at startups and established pharma companies in multiple therapeutic areas—primarily focusing on developing antiviral drugs. She began her industry career at Schering-Plough Research Institute where she worked on HSV and HCV antiviral drug discovery and helped to solve the first crystal structure of HCV helicase. She subsequently founded the infectious disease group at Vertex Pharmaceuticals and played a leading role in the research, development, and commercialization of telaprevir (VX-950, INCIVEK™), an 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 (>$1B in sales in less than one year) until Sovaldi’s launch four years later. Lessons learned from the development of telaprevir can be found in Kwong, et al. (2011) Discovery and development of telaprevir: an NS3-4A protease inhibitor for treating genotype 1 chronic hepatitis C virus. Nat Biotech 29:1-11. During the development of telaprevir, Ann was a founding member of HCV DRAG (HCV Drug Development Advisory Group), a consortium of industry leaders, clinical trial leaders, community representatives, and FDA and EMA regulators who worked together to optimize HCV drug development. Ann also designed 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 Ph3 development with Johnson & Johnson. After leaving Vertex, Ann founded InnovaTID, a drug discovery consulting group and subsequently spun out and co-founded Trek Therapeutics, PBC. Trek is a clinical stage company whose mission was to develop a best-in-class and best-on-price affordable HCV treatments for middle income countries and special populations, for which she received the PM360 ELITE 2018 Drug Researcher and Developer Award.
Ann has always had a broad research interest with publications spanning a gamut from Herpes simplex virion host shut off and defective viral vectors, the development of SV40 and HCV biochemical in vitro replication systems, HCV and Influenza antiviral drug development, the biochemical characterization of HCV helicase and protease, the health economics of HCV treatment, PK/PD in the liver of patients with HCV treated with telaprevir, and HCV clinical virology. Ann received a PhD in virology from the University of Chicago and is currently an independent consultant and founder of Kwong Pharma Consulting, LLC. Ann has served as a reviewer for numerous NIH study sections, as a scientific advisor for the Pew Charitable Trust Scientific Roadmap for Antibiotic Discovery Working Group and a Harvard University NIH CETR Scientific Advisory Committee. She is currently serving as an advisor for Virokine Therapeutics, Octagon, and U CONN PITCH.