aTyr Pharma, Inc., a biotherapeutics company in San Diego, announced fourth quarter and full-year earnings, along with the appointment of a new company executive.

The company hired Dr. Sanjay Shukla, an executive from Novartis, to serve as the company’s new chief medical officer.

Shukla will lead aTyr's clinical efforts, filling a role that Dr. David Weiner left in July of last year. Shukla has been working with aTyr as an external advisor on clinical data analysis for the last few months, according to John Mendlein, CEO of aTyr Pharma.

“Sanjay's deep experience with clinical development, data analysis and statistics, along with his background in both biotech and big pharma led clinical trials, across multiple therapeutic areas, including rare disease, provides us with a unique set of skills that complement our talented clinical development and operations teams,” Mendlein said.

Shukla comes from Novartis, where he led global medical affairs operations, and oversaw all pharma general medicines and therapies (including brands such as Gilenya, Cosentyx, and Entresto).

Previously, he was CEO of RxMd, a clinical development consultancy that assisted in advancing proof of concept for early stage drug candidates. Prior to that Shukla served in a variety of clinical development, data analytics and drug safety roles at Vifor Pharma and Aspreva Pharmaceuticals.

ATyr Pharma (Nasdaq: LIFE) specializes in drugs derived from a new class of natural proteins called physiocrines that offer potential therapeutic advantages to existing anti-inflammatory drugs.

At the end of April, aTyr said the FDA granted its orphan drug designation for the company’s lead drug candidate, Resolaris, for the treatment of patients with facioscapulohumeral muscular dystrophy (FSHD), a genetically based degeneration of muscles of the face, shoulder blades, and upper arms.

The compound is in an early stage clinical trial in adult patients with FSHD at multiple sites in the European Union.

In conjunction with the CMO appointment, aTyr Pharma announced its financial results for the fourth quarter and full 2015 year.

The company reported a $16.5 million net loss for the fourth quarter, compared to a $6 million net loss in the same period the prior year. For the full year, aTyr reported a net loss of $48 million, compared to a $24 million net loss in 2014.

The company reported $125 million in cash and cash equivalents for 2015, up from $16 million in 2014. Atyr recently raised $76 million in a Series E financing and another $75 million in an IPO last year.