REDWOOD CITY, CA--(Marketwired - Jan 8, 2014) - Versartis, Inc., an endocrine-focused biopharmaceutical company, today announced the appointment of Jay Shepard as Executive Chairman to its Board of Directors. Mr. Shepard is an Executive Partner at Sofinnova Ventures, a life science focused venture capital firm. He recently returned to Sofinnova following the successful sale of a Sofinnova portfolio company NextWave Pharmaceutical to Pfizer in late 2012, in a deal valued at up to $700 million. Mr. Shepard served as President and CEO of NextWave since early 2010.
"We are extremely pleased to welcome Jay to Versartis as Executive Chairman," commented Chief Executive Officer Jeffrey L. Cleland, PhD. "Jay brings extensive commercial expertise to Versartis, which will be critical to our success as VRS-317, our long-acting growth hormone product candidate targeting pediatric patients, moves toward our planned Phase 3 study and closer to potential commercialization. The addition of Jay to the Versartis Board of Directors demonstrates our commitment to building a first class executive team to develop and commercialize VRS-317 and, most importantly, change the lives of children living with the burden of daily injection therapy for the replacement of hGH."
Mr. Shepard has more than 30 years experience in the pharmaceutical, biotechnology and drug delivery arenas. "Versartis has an outstanding, proven executive team with a deep understanding of the human growth hormone market and I am excited to join them at such an important inflection point in the company's development," said Mr. Shepard. Jay originally joined Sofinnova in 2008 as an Executive in Residence. Prior to joining Sofinnova, Jay was President and CEO of Ilypsa, a nephrology therapeutics company acquired by Amgen for $420 million. He then worked with Ilypsa's spin-out of Relypsa, serving as interim President and CEO. Previously, Jay served as Vice President of Commercial Operations at Telik. Prior to that he was Vice President of ALZA Pharmaceuticals Oncology Business Unit, where he held leadership positions of increasing responsibility in the establishment and operation of ALZA's specialty pharmaceutical sales and marketing group. Alza was sold to J&J in late 2001 for $12 billion. Jay began his career in pharmaceutical sales and marketing at Ortho Pharmaceutical and Syntex Laboratories.
Versartis, Inc., is an endocrine-focused biopharmaceutical company initially developing VRS-317, a novel long-acting form of human growth hormone, for the treatment of growth hormone deficiency. The company is currently conducting a Phase 2 clinical trial of VRS-317 in children with growth hormone deficiency. Further information on Versartis can be found at www.versartis.com.