FORT WORTH, Texas & MENLO PARK, Calif.--(BUSINESS WIRE)--ZS Pharma, a specialty pharmaceutical company developing a novel treatment for hyperkalemia, announced that Cynthia Smith has joined the company as chief commercial officer. In this role, Smith will be responsible for marketing, sales, market access and other activities to support worldwide commercialization of the company's initial asset, ZS-9. Additionally, Smith will serve as a member of ZS Pharma's executive team.
"We are happy to welcome Cynthia to the ZS Pharma team. With two decades of experience in pharmaceutical commercialization, market access and nephrology, Cynthia will play a key role for us as we move forward with our development and commercialization efforts," said Robert Alexander, executive chairman of ZS Pharma. "Cynthia's record of bringing early-stage products to market will prove invaluable as we work toward the potential approval and commercial launch of ZS-9 for the treatment of hyperkalemia."
Previously, Smith served as vice president of Market Access and Commercial Development at Affymax. During her five-year tenure, she played a key role in building Affymax's commercial organization and launching the company's initial asset into the renal market. Prior to joining Affymax, she held several leadership positions at Merck in managed markets, commercial strategy, public policy and external affairs, including most recently as executive director of Healthcare System and Medicare Strategy. Before joining the pharmaceutical industry, Smith served in the White House Office of Management and Budget (OMB) in the Clinton Administration. She holds an M.B.A. in finance from the Wharton School, an M.S. in public policy from Rutgers University, and a B.A. in communications from the University of North Carolina.
"Joining ZS Pharma as it evolves from the development stage to a fully integrated commercial organization is incredibly exciting," said Smith. "I look forward to working with the management team to bring this important new therapy to market for patients with hyperkalemia."
Hyperkalemia, or higher than normal potassium levels (typically defined as a serum potassium level >5 mEq/L), is a life-threatening metabolic condition that can lead to arrhythmia and sudden cardiac death. Hyperkalemia is characterized by abnormally high concentrations of potassium in the blood resulting from the inability of the kidneys to excrete potassium, impairment of mechanisms that transport potassium into cells, or a combination of both factors. Causes of hyperkalemia can vary; however, most hyperkalemia is a consequence of renal disease, diabetes, heart failure, hypertension or side effects from cardio-renal protective drug therapy, such as renin angiotensin aldosterone system (RAAS) inhibitors.
The rise in chronic medical conditions commonly associated with hyperkalemia highlight an unmet medical need for a therapy that is safe, rapid and predictable, and offers a favorable side effect profile.
About ZS Pharma
ZS Pharma is a privately held specialty pharmaceutical company with commercial operations based in Menlo Park, Calif., and development and manufacturing based in Fort Worth, Texas. ZS Pharma's lead therapeutic candidate, ZS-9, is in Phase 3 trials. It is being developed to treat hyperkalemia, a potentially life-threatening metabolic condition characterized by an abnormally high serum concentration of potassium. ZS Pharma is also pursuing the discovery of additional drug candidates that utilize its novel selective ion-trap technology for the treatment of kidney and liver diseases. Additional information is available at www.zspharma.com.
Jessica Volchok, 310-774-3423