Menlo Therapeutics Recruits Experienced Management Team And Board Leadership To Accelerate Development Of Serlopitant For Treatment Of Pruritus

MENLO PARK, Calif., Jan. 5, 2017 /PRNewswire/ -- Menlo Therapeutics Inc., a clinical stage pharmaceutical company, is developing a neurokinin 1 (NK-1) receptor antagonist (serlopitant, VPD-737) for the treatment of pruritus (itch).  Over the past 16 months, Menlo Therapeutics established direct operations to advance serlopitant and recruited an experienced drug development management team including:

  • Steven Basta, CEO. Mr. Basta has served as CEO of BioForm Medical, Merz Aesthetics, and AlterG. Mr. Basta built BioForm Medical into a successful derm/aesthetics business, and following BioForm's acquisition by Merz Pharmaceuticals, Mr. Basta led the worldwide Merz Aesthetics business unit.
  • Paul Kwon, MD, Chief Medical Officer. Dr. Kwon is a board certified dermatologist with more than 15 years of experience in drug development and clinical practice. Dr. Kwon most recently served as Chief Medical Officer at Nora Therapeutics and previously led multiple development programs at Genentech. Dr. Kwon completed his dermatology training at UCSF.
  • Xiaoming Zhang, PhD, SVP of Nonclinical and Pharmaceutical Development. Dr. Zhang has more than 20 years of experience in discovery and development of new molecular entities across multiple therapeutic areas, and previously served in a variety of leadership roles in chemistry and non-clinical development at Roche, Takeda, Millennium Pharmaceuticals, Portola, CoMentis and Velocity Pharmaceutical Development.
  • Emmanuelle Bellemin, VP Regulatory Affairs and Quality Assurance. Mrs. Bellemin brings to Menlo Therapeutics more than 15 years of significant international experience from prior regulatory leadership roles at FibroGen, Gilead Sciences, Actelion Pharmaceuticals US and Pierre Fabre Medicament.
  • Mark Joing, VP Clinical Operations. Mr. Joing brings to Menlo Therapeutics significant clinical operations and project management experience. Mr. Joing has previously held leadership positions at Nora Therapeutics, Nuvelo, 3M Pharmaceuticals and Abbott Labs.
  • Anie K. Roche, JD, PhD, VP Intellectual Property and General Counsel. Dr. Roche has led the patent strategy for serlopitant since the acquisition of the molecule from Merck. Dr. Roche has previously held management positions with several pharmaceutical development companies and has served as a partner at the law firm Wilson, Sonsini, Goodrich & Rosati.
  • Sunny Ryan, Controller. Mrs. Ryan brings to Menlo Therapeutics significant experience in finance and accounting for several biopharma companies including, Avalanche, Achaogen, CoMentis Rinat Neuroscience, and Alios.

Scott Whitcup, MD, has joined the Menlo Therapeutics Board of Directors as an Independent Director.  Dr. Whitcup most recently served as EVP of R&D for Allergan, where he led development programs for major product approvals in multiple therapeutic areas including Botox®, Restasis®, Lumigan®, Latisse®, and Juvederm Voluma® XC.  Dr. Whitcup is also the Founder and CEO of Akrivista and Whitecap Biosciences.

"The Menlo Therapeutics leadership team we have built over the past year brings together significant dermatology and systemic therapies development experience," Steven Basta said. "As a team, we are expanding the development program for serlopitant to treat pruritus associated with multiple conditions."

ABOUT Serlopitant & Pruritus
Serlopitant is a once-daily oral neurokinin 1 (NK-1) receptor antagonist in development for the treatment of pruritus (itch).  Pruritus is a frequent symptom of many dermatological and systemic conditions that is not adequately addressed by current therapies.  Extensive scientific evidence suggests the neuropeptide, Substance P, plays a major role in the mediation of pruritus.  The NK-1 receptor is the endogenous receptor for Substance P.  Disrupting this common signaling pathway could address pruritus associated with a broad range of potential conditions.  Menlo Therapeutics is developing serlopitant in clinical studies for the treatment of pruritus associated with several underlying medical conditions.

ABOUT Menlo Therapeutics Inc.
Menlo Therapeutics Inc. is a clinical stage pharmaceutical company dedicated to the development of serlopitant, a once-daily oral NK1 antagonist, for the treatment of pruritus.  Menlo Therapeutics is funded by leading healthcare investors Vivo Capital (, Presidio Partners (, Remeditex Ventures, LLC ( and F-Prime Capital ( More information is available at


To view the original version on PR Newswire, visit:

SOURCE Menlo Therapeutics Inc.

Back to news