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Auspex Pharmaceuticals Appoints Pratik Shah as CEO and Expands Executive Team


10/17/2013 6:36:35 AM

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Auspex Appoints Pratik Shah as CEO and Expands Executive Team

LA JOLLA, Calif.
, Oct. 17, 2013 /PRNewswire/ -- Auspex Pharmaceuticals, Inc., a privately-held clinical stage biopharmaceutical company focused on developing innovative therapeutics for the treatment of orphan diseases, today announced the appointment of four life science industry veterans to the company's executive team:

  • Pratik Shah, Ph.D., has joined the company full time as President and Chief Executive Officer, transitioning from his prior role as Executive Chairman. Dr. Shah will continue as a Director of Auspex and a Partner at Thomas, McNerney & Partners.
  • Bharatt Chowrira, Ph.D., J.D., has been named Chief Operating Officer. Dr. Chowrira was most recently President & CEO of Addex Therapeutics.
  • Samuel Saks, M.D., an Auspex board member, has joined the company as the Chief Development Officer. Dr. Saks was previously co-founder and CEO of Jazz Pharmaceuticals.
  • John Schmid, has joined the company as Chief Financial Officer. Mr. Schmid was most recently co-founder and CFO at Trius Therapeutics.

(Logo: http://photos.prnewswire.com/prnh/20130627/MM40068LOGO)

"As we transition Auspex from an R&D-focused organization into a late-stage clinical development and commercial organization, we are indeed fortunate to have attracted such a distinguished group of entrepreneurs who each have a proven track record of building innovative life science companies and driving significant shareholder value," said Dr. Shah. "This group of successful executives joining forces is a testament to the tremendous promise of Auspex's lead program SD-809 and the opportunity to rapidly bring an innovative therapy to the patients suffering from debilitating movement disorders resulting from Huntington's Disease, tardive dyskinesia, and Tourette's Syndrome."

Auspex is currently advancing SD-809 in Phase 3 clinical development for treating chorea associated with Huntington's Disease, with opportunities in two additional indications, tardive dyskinesia and Tourette's Syndrome.

The company also announced that Alex Zisson, a Partner at Thomas, McNerney & Partners, Auspex's largest shareholder, will join the Auspex Board as a non-executive Director. The new team members join Andreas Sommer, Ph.D., Chief Scientific Officer of the company and David Stamler, M.D., Chief Medical Officer of Auspex.

About the New Members of Auspex Management Team
Dr. Pratik Shah, brings over 15 years of entrepreneurial and leadership experience in the biopharma industry. He is also a partner in the venture capital firm Thomas, McNerney & Partners. Dr. Shah previously worked at various biotech companies after serving at McKinsey & Company where he focused on biotechnology and venture capital projects. Dr. Shah is a board member of Cebix, Ocera Therapeutics, and SG Biofuels.

Dr. Bharatt Chowrira has a strong track record in the biopharmaceutical industry with over 19 years of experience, combining a unique blend of research, licensing, corporate development, operations, financing and legal expertise. Dr. Chowrira was most recently the President and Chief Executive Officer and Director of Addex Therapeutics. Prior to that he held various leadership and management positions at Nektar Therapeutics, Merck & Co., Sirna Therapeutics, (acquired by Merck & Co.) and Ribozyme Pharmaceuticals. Dr. Chowrira is a registered U.S. patent attorney and a licensed member of the Colorado Bar Association.

Dr. Samuel Saks is a board certified oncologist who was most recently the founding CEO of Jazz Pharmaceuticals until his retirement in 2009. Prior to that, Dr. Saks was company group chairman of ALZA Corporation and member of the Johnson & Johnson Pharmaceutical Operating Committee. Dr. Saks has previously held various leadership and management positions at Alza (acquired by J&J), Schering-Plough, Xoma and Genentech. Dr. Saks serves on the Board of Auspex Pharmaceuticals, TONIX Pharmaceuticals, Depomed, Bullet Biotechnology, NuMedii and Velocity Pharmaceutical Development.

Mr. John Schmid brings over 20 years of experience in financial and senior management positions. He was most recently a co-founder of Trius Therapeutics, where he served as CFO until its sale to Cubist Pharmaceuticals in 2013. Mr. Schmid, was previously CFO of GeneFormatics, Inc. and Endonetics, Inc. (acquired by Medtronic). He is also a past President and Board member of the San Diego Venture Group.

About Auspex Pharmaceuticals
Auspex Pharmaceuticals is a privately held biopharmaceutical company focused on the treatment of orphan diseases, especially hyperkinetic movement disorders resulting from Huntington's Disease, tardive dyskinesia, and Tourette's Syndrome. Auspex's lead compound, SD-809, is a novel inhibitor of the vesicular monoamine transporter 2 (VMAT-2). This investigational new drug, currently in a pivotal Phase 3 study for the treatment of movement disorders associated with Huntington Chorea, offers potential advantages over existing therapies including more consistent blood levels, reduced drug-drug interactions, obviating the need for genotyping of patients, and less frequent dosing. Auspex has employed its deuterium chemistry approach to optimize drugs in several other therapeutic areas including the treatment of fibrotic diseases, autoimmune diseases, neuropathic pain, and an antiplatelet medication. For further information, please visit the company's website www.auspexpharma.com.

SOURCE Auspex Pharmaceuticals



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