updated 10/20/2010 7:16:09 AM ET 2010-10-20T11:16:09

NEW HAVEN, Conn., Oct. 20, 2010 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) -- Achillion Pharmaceuticals, Inc. (Nasdaq:ACHN), a leader in the discovery and development of small molecule drugs to combat the most challenging infectious diseases, today announced two executive promotions. Milind S. Deshpande, Ph.D., has been promoted to President of Research and Development and retains his position as Chief Scientific Officer, and Mary Kay Fenton has been promoted to Senior Vice President and retains her position as Chief Financial Officer. Previously, Dr. Deshpande served as the Company's Executive Vice President of Research and Development and Ms. Fenton served as Vice President.

"Milind has been instrumental in the creation and advancement of our entire pipeline of HCV candidates, including ACH-1625, our phase II protease inhibitor, ACH-2684, our high potency, pan-genotypic NS3 inhibitor, and ACH-2928, our NS5A inhibitor. These compounds together make for one of the most robust and promising HCV pipelines in the industry," said Michael D. Kishbauch, Chief Executive Officer of Achillion. "We recognize not only his contributions to Achillion's discovery of these compounds, but his strategic development leadership as we advance them in the clinic.

"Mary Kay has led Achillion through two significant financings this year, which together put Achillion on solid financial footing and allow us to fund our promising clinical work. Mary Kay's history of exemplary performance in the careful and disciplined financial management of the Company's resources has been a hallmark of her tenure with Achillion.

"We look forward to continued leadership from both Milind and Mary Kay," concluded Mr. Kishbauch.

Dr. Deshpande joined Achillion as Vice President of Chemistry in 2001. He was named Head of Drug Discovery in early 2002, and promoted to Vice President of Drug Discovery in late 2002. Prior to joining Achillion, Dr. Deshpande was Associate Director in Chemistry at the Pharmaceutical Research Institute at Bristol-Myers Squibb, where he managed the identification of new clinical candidates to treat infectious and neurological diseases. Before that, Dr. Deshpande held a faculty position at Boston University Medical School. Following his undergraduate education in India, Dr. Deshpande received his Ph.D. in Organic Chemistry from Ohio University.

Ms. Fenton joined Achillion as Director of Finance in 2000. She was named Senior Director in 2002, and promoted to Vice President and Chief Financial Officer in 2006. Prior to joining Achillion, Ms. Fenton was Senior Manager in the Technology Industry Group at PricewaterhouseCoopers LLC, where she was responsible for the life sciences practice for Connecticut. Before that, Ms. Fenton worked in economic and small business development in the not-for-profit sector. She holds an A.B. in Economics from the College of the Holy Cross and an MBA in Finance from the Graduate School of Business at the University of Connecticut.

About Achillion

Achillion is an innovative pharmaceutical company dedicated to bringing important new treatments to patients with infectious disease. Achillion's proven discovery and development teams have advanced multiple product candidates with novel mechanisms of action. Achillion is focused on solutions for the most challenging problems in infectious disease – hepatitis C and resistant bacterial infections. For more information on Achillion Pharmaceuticals, please visit www.achillion.com or call 1-203-624-7000.

This press release includes forward-looking statements within the meaning of the Private Securities Litigation Reform Act of 1995 that are subject to risks, uncertainties and other factors, including statements with respect to the potency, safety and other characteristics of ACH-1625, which may not be duplicated in future cohorts at different doses or in future clinical studies of longer duration; Achillion's expectations regarding timing and duration of other clinical trials, including additional dosing cohorts. Among the factors that could cause actual results to differ materially from those indicated by such forward-looking statements are uncertainties relating to results of clinical trials and unexpected regulatory actions or delays. These and other risks are described in the reports filed by Achillion with the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission, including its Annual Report on Form 10-K for the fiscal year ended December 31, 2009. 

All forward-looking statements reflect Achillion's expectations only as of the date of this release and should not be relied upon as reflecting Achillion's views, expectations or beliefs at any date subsequent to the date of this release. Achillion anticipates that subsequent events and developments may cause these views, expectations and beliefs to change. However, while Achillion may elect to update these forward-looking statements at some point in the future, it specifically disclaims any obligation to do so. 

ACHN-G

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