MENLO PARK, Calif., Sept. 10, 2015 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) -- Versartis, Inc. (NASDAQ:VSAR), an endocrine-focused biopharmaceutical company that is developing somavaratan (VRS-317), a novel, long-acting form of recombinant human growth hormone (rhGH) for growth hormone deficiency (GHD), today announced the addition of Lars Ekman, MD, PhD, as Global Development Advisor.
Jay Shepard, Chief Executive Officer, said, "We're excited to have Lars join the Versartis team as a consultant for our clinical development strategy. His vast experience, both in clinical work and advising companies throughout the development process, will make him an invaluable asset as we work to bring somavaratan to market for pediatric and adult GHD patients. We look forward to his contributions and the industry insight he will add to our strong leadership team.
"Versartis has a very unique opportunity with somavaratan to serve a need for GHD patients that has been unmet for over 20 years," said Lars Ekman, MD, PhD. "I am very pleased to be joining the Versartis team, which has deep expertise and experience in the field of growth hormone as well as to draw on my own personal experiences with both daily and long-acting growth hormone programs to help bring somavaratan to patients, physicians and caregivers."
Dr. Ekman is currently an Executive Partner at Sofinnova Ventures, and has more than 28 years in senior executive, scientific and clinical functions. Most recently, he was appointed to the Board of Directors of Poseida Therapeutics. He is Chairman of the Amarin Corporation, plc, The Prothena Corporation, plc, and Sophiris Bio, Inc., and he also serves on the Board of Directors of Spark Therapeutics, Inc. Previously, Dr. Ekman held the position of President of Research and Development at Elan Corporation, plc. Dr. Ekman joined Elan in January 2001, and he is credited with advancing Elan's pipeline during this period. Prior to joining Elan, he was EVP, Research and Development at Schwarz Pharma AG beginning in 1997. From 1984 to 1997, Dr. Ekman worked in a variety of senior scientific and clinical functions at Pharmacia, now Pfizer.
Dr. Ekman is a board-certified surgeon with his PhD in Experimental Biology. He has held several clinical and academic positions in both the United States and Europe.
About Versartis, Inc.
Versartis, Inc. is an endocrine-focused biopharmaceutical company initially developing somavaratan (VRS-317), a novel, long-acting form of recombinant human growth hormone for the treatment of growth hormone deficiency (GHD). Somavaratan is intended to reduce the burden of daily injection therapy by requiring significantly fewer injections, potentially improving compliance and, therefore, treatment outcomes. The Company completed the Phase 2a stage of a Phase 1b/2a trial evaluating weekly, twice-monthly and monthly dosing regimens of somavaratan in children with GHD in June 2014 and initiated a global Phase 3 registration trial, VELOCITY, in GHD children in January 2015. In addition, the Company initiated a Phase 2/3 trial in Japan for children with GHD in April 2015 and a Phase 2 trial, VITAL, evaluating monthly dosing for adults with GHD in September 2015. Additional information on Versartis clinical trials can be found at www.versartistrials.com. Further information on Versartis can be found at www.versartis.com.
Cautionary Note on Forward-Looking Statements
This press release contains forward-looking statements for purposes of the safe harbor provisions of the Private Securities Litigation Reform Act of 1995. Forward-looking statements include statements regarding our intentions or current expectations concerning, among other things, plans and timing of our clinical trials and the potential for eventual regulatory approval of somavaratan. Forward-looking statements are not guarantees of future performance and are subject to risks and uncertainties that could cause actual results and events to differ materially from those anticipated, including, but not limited to, risks and uncertainties related to: our success being heavily dependent on somavaratan; somavaratan being a new chemical entity; the risk that somavaratan may not have favorable results in clinical trials or receive regulatory approval; potential delays in our clinical trials due to regulatory requirements or difficulty identifying qualified investigators or enrolling patients; the risk that somavaratan may cause serious side effects or have properties that delay or prevent regulatory approval or limit its commercial potential; the risk that we may encounter difficulties in manufacturing somavaratan; if somavaratan is approved, risks associated with its market acceptance, including pricing and reimbursement; potential difficulties enforcing our intellectual property rights; our reliance on our license of intellectual property from Amunix Operating, Inc. and our need for additional funds to support our operations. We discuss many of these risks in greater detail under the heading "Risk Factors" contained in our Annual Report on Form 10-K for the year ended December 31, 2014, and in our Quarterly Report on Form 10-Q for the three months ended June 30, 2015, which are on file with the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC). Forward-looking statements are not guarantees of future performance, and our actual results of operations, financial condition and liquidity, and the development of the industry in which we operate, may differ materially from the forward-looking statements contained in this press release. Any forward-looking statements that we make in this press release speak only as of the date of this press release. We assume no obligation to update our forward-looking statements whether as a result of new information, future events or otherwise, after the date of this press release.
CONTACT: Corporate & Investors: Joshua Brumm Chief Financial Officer (650) 963-8582 [email protected] Investors: Nick Laudico/David Burke The Ruth Group (646) 536-7030/7009 [email protected] [email protected] Media: Debra Bannister Corporate Communications (530) 676-7373 [email protected]