aTyr Pharma Announces Appointment of Robert W. Ashworth, PhD, as Vice President of Regulatory Affairs

SAN DIEGO, Oct. 06, 2021 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) -- aTyr Pharma, Inc. (Nasdaq: LIFE), a biotherapeutics company engaged in the discovery and development of innovative medicines based on novel biological pathways, today announced the appointment of Robert W. Ashworth, Ph.D., to Vice President, Regulatory Affairs. Dr. Ashworth will serve as a member of the company’s executive leadership team, overseeing regulatory affairs functions and strategies.

“aTyr is pleased to welcome Dr. Ashworth, an industry veteran who brings more than 35 years of regulatory and drug development experience, including a proven track record of contributing to the FDA approval of more than 12 new drugs across a broad range of categories and disease indications,” said Sanjay S. Shukla, M.D., M.S., President and Chief Executive Officer of aTyr. “The depth and breadth of Dr. Ashworth’s experience is well suited to help guide aTyr’s regulatory strategy for our novel tRNA synthetase biology platform, including our clinical program for ATYR1923, our lead therapeutic candidate that we plan to advance to a registrational trial in pulmonary sarcoidosis next year, and ATYR2810, our lead anti-Neuropilin-2 antibody and IND candidate, expected to enter a Phase 1 trial in cancer, also next year.”

“I am delighted to join aTyr at such an exciting time for the company as it plans to advance its clinical and preclinical programs,” said Dr. Ashworth. “I look forward to contributing to the company’s next stage of growth by leveraging my experience to implement regulatory strategies that further the development of tRNA synthetase-derived products targeting diseases with high unmet need.”

Dr. Ashworth has had a long-standing career in the pharmaceutical industry, encompassing several executive and senior level roles in regulatory functions at notable biotechnology and pharmaceutical companies. Prior to joining aTyr, Dr. Ashworth was Vice President, Regulatory Affairs, Quality and CMC at OncoSec Medical, Inc., where he developed and executed the regulatory strategy for novel immunotherapy products for cancer. Prior to that, he was Vice President, Regulatory Affairs, Quality and Compliance for Advaxis, Inc., where he developed and executed the global regulatory strategy for the company’s immunotherapy platform. As Vice President, Global Regulatory Affairs at NPS Pharmaceuticals, he was instrumental in negotiating the approval of NATPARA (PTH) for hypoparathyroidism. When he was Vice President, Regulatory Affairs at Otsuka Pharmaceutical Development, Inc., he executed the regulatory strategy for ABILIFY®, the company’s flagship product. He has also held positions with Biovail Corporation, Forest Laboratories, Inc., and Knoll Pharmaceuticals Company, among other companies. Dr. Ashworth earned a B.S. in Chemistry from St. John’s University and a Ph.D. in Organic Chemistry from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology.

In connection with Dr. Ashworth’s appointment, aTyr granted Dr. Ashworth an option to purchase 70,000 shares of aTyr’s common stock with an exercise price of $8.73 per share, the closing price per share of aTyr’s common stock as reported on the Nasdaq Stock Market as of October 4, 2021, the effective date of the grant and the start date of Dr. Ashworth’s employment. The option is a non-qualified stock option and vests over a period of four years, with 25% vesting on the one year anniversary of the grant date and the remaining 75% vesting on a monthly basis over three years, subject to Dr. Ashworth’s continuous employment through each vesting date. This award was granted as an inducement material to Dr. Ashworth entering into employment with aTyr in accordance with Nasdaq Stock Market Rule 5635(c)(4).

About aTyr

aTyr is a biotherapeutics company engaged in the discovery and development of innovative medicines based on novel biological pathways. aTyr’s research and development efforts are concentrated on a newly discovered area of biology, the extracellular functionality and signaling pathways of tRNA synthetases. aTyr has built a global intellectual property estate directed to a potential pipeline of protein compositions derived from 20 tRNA synthetase genes and their extracellular targets. aTyr’s primary focus is ATYR1923, a clinical-stage product candidate which binds to the Neuropilin-2 receptor and is designed to down-regulate immune engagement in inflammatory lung diseases. For more information, please visit

Forward-Looking Statements

This press release contains forward-looking statements within the meaning of the Private Securities Litigation Reform Act of 1995. Forward-looking statements are usually identified by the use of words such as “anticipates,” “believes,” “estimates,” “expects,” “intends,” “may,” “plans,” “projects,” “seeks,” “should,” “will,” and variations of such words or similar expressions. We intend these forward-looking statements to be covered by such safe harbor provisions for forward-looking statements and are making this statement for purposes of complying with those safe harbor provisions. These forward-looking statements include statements regarding potential therapeutic benefits and applications of ATYR1923, ATYR2810 and other product candidates from our tRNA synthetase biology platform; timelines and plans with respect to certain development activities (including the further development of ATYR1923, ATYR2810 and our discovery programs and the timing of initiation of clinical trials; and certain development goals. These forward-looking statements also reflect our current views about our plans, intentions, expectations, strategies and prospects, which are based on the information currently available to us and on assumptions we have made. Although we believe that our plans, intentions, expectations, strategies and prospects, as reflected in or suggested by these forward-looking statements, are reasonable, we can give no assurance that the plans, intentions, expectations or strategies will be attained or achieved. All forward-looking statements are based on estimates and assumptions by our management that, although we believe to be reasonable, are inherently uncertain. Furthermore, actual results may differ materially from those described in these forward-looking statements and will be affected by a variety of risks and factors that are beyond our control including, without limitation, uncertainty regarding the COVID-19 pandemic, risks associated with the discovery, development and regulation of our product candidates, the risk that we or our partners may cease or delay preclinical or clinical development activities for any of our existing or future product candidates for a variety of reasons (including difficulties or delays in patient enrollment in planned clinical trials), the possibility that existing collaborations could be terminated early, and the risk that we may not be able to raise the additional funding required for our business and product development plans, as well as those risks set forth in our most recent Annual Report on Form 10-K, Quarterly Reports on Form 10-Q and in our other SEC filings. Except as required by law, we assume no obligation to update publicly any forward-looking statements, whether as a result of new information, future events or otherwise.

Ashlee Dunston 
Director, Investor Relations and Corporate Communications