Urovant Sciences Announces Appointment of Sef Kurstjens as Executive Vice President and Chief Medical Officer

IRVINE, Calif. & BASEL, Switzerland--(BUSINESS WIRE)-- Urovant Sciences, Inc a wholly-owned subsidiary of Sumitovant Biopharma Ltd., today announced Sef Kurstjens, M.D., PhD., has been appointed Executive Vice President and Chief Medical Officer (CMO). Concurrent with this appointment, Dr. Kurstjens will step down as a member of Urovant’s Board of Directors, a position he has held since July 2018, to pursue the full-time CMO role.

“I am delighted to welcome Sef Kurstjens to the executive leadership team to lead our clinical and medical affairs activities. His appointment reflects his deep commitment to Urovant and improving the lives of people with urological conditions,” said James Robinson, president and CEO of Urovant Sciences. “Dr. Kurstjens’ appointment comes as we work to expand commercial access to GEMTESA® and advance our product pipeline. We look forward to benefitting from his broad industry relationships, deep knowledge of urology and overactive bladder, and experience leading highly-talented teams.”

Dr. Kurstjens will assume his new role as CMO effective April 1, 2022. He will report to Mr. Robinson and will serve as a member of the company’s executive leadership team.

“With an expanding global urology franchise, a growing clinical pipeline of novel biotherapeutics, including the company’s first gene therapy product, and ambitious plans to pursue new therapeutic areas and diseases, Urovant is at a tipping point,” said Dr. Kurstjens. “I am excited to draw on my extensive clinical research, regulatory, and medical affairs experience to lead Urovant’s talented clinical and medical teams toward even more success in advancing the company’s mission to help people with urologic and other medical conditions. I am deeply honored to succeed Cornelia Haag-Molkenteller, a pioneering researcher in global clinical development, who has done much to advance women’s health and urology.”

Throughout his career Dr. Kurstjens has held positions of increasing responsibility. Prior to Urovant, he served as the CEO for Bright Peak Therapeutics, CMO for Astellas Pharma Inc., President and CEO for Agensys, Inc., CMO for Allergan Inc., Senior Vice President of R&D at Astellas Pharma Inc., and Vice President of Clinical Development at Pfizer.

A native of South Africa, Dr. Kurstjens received his advanced degrees in medicine and experimental physiology from University of the Witwatersrand Medical School in Johannesburg before practicing pediatrics in both South Africa and the United Kingdom.

About Urovant Sciences

Urovant Sciences is a biopharmaceutical company focused on developing and commercializing innovative therapies for areas of unmet need, with a dedicated focus in Urology. The Company’s lead product, GEMTESA®(vibegron), is an oral, once-daily (75 mg) small molecule beta-3 agonist for the treatment of adult patients with overactive bladder (OAB) with symptoms of urge urinary incontinence, urgency, and urinary frequency. GEMTESA was approved by the U.S. FDA in December 2020 and launched in the U.S. in April 2021. GEMTESA is also being evaluated for the treatment of OAB in men with benign prostatic hyperplasia. The Company’s second product candidate, URO-902, is a novel gene therapy being developed for patients with OAB who have failed oral pharmacologic therapy. Urovant Sciences, a wholly-owned subsidiary of Sumitovant Biopharma Ltd., intends to bring innovation to patients in need in urology and other areas of unmet need. Learn more about us at www.urovant.com or follow us on Twitter or LinkedIn.

About Sumitovant Biopharma Ltd.

Sumitovant is a global biopharmaceutical company leveraging data-driven insights to rapidly accelerate development of new potential therapies for unmet patient conditions. Through our unique portfolio of wholly-owned “Vant” subsidiaries—Urovant, Enzyvant, Spirovant, Altavant—and use of embedded computational technology platforms to generate business and scientific insights, Sumitovant has supported the development of FDA-approved products and advanced a promising pipeline of early-through late-stage investigational assets for other serious conditions. Sumitovant, a wholly-owned subsidiary of Sumitomo Pharma, is also the majority-shareholder of Myovant (NYSE: MYOV). For more information, please visit our website at www.sumitovant.com.

About Sumitomo Pharma Co., Ltd.

Sumitomo Pharma is among the top-ten listed pharmaceutical companies in Japan, operating globally in major pharmaceutical markets, including Japan, the U.S., China, and other Asian countries with more than 7,000 employees worldwide. Sumitomo Pharma defines its corporate mission as “To broadly contribute to society through value creation based on innovative research and development activities for the betterment of healthcare and fuller lives of people worldwide.” Additional information about Sumitomo Pharma is available through its corporate website at https://www.sumitomo-pharma.com.


GEMTESA is a prescription medicine for adults used to treat the following symptoms due to a condition called overactive bladder:

  • urge urinary incontinence: a strong need to urinate with leaking or wetting accidents
  • urgency: the need to urinate right away
  • frequency: urinating often

It is not known if GEMTESA is safe and effective in children.


Do not take GEMTESA if you are allergic to vibegron or any of the ingredients in GEMTESA.

Before you take GEMTESA, tell your doctor about all your medical conditions, including if you have liver problems; have kidney problems; have trouble emptying your bladder or you have a weak urine stream; take medicines that contain digoxin; are pregnant or plan to become pregnant (it is not known if GEMTESA will harm your unborn baby; talk to your doctor if you are pregnant or plan to become pregnant); are breastfeeding or plan to breastfeed (it is not known if GEMTESA passes into your breast milk; talk to your doctor about the best way to feed your baby if you take GEMTESA).

Tell your doctor about all the medicines you take, including prescription and over-the-counter medicines, vitamins, and herbal supplements. Know the medicines you take. Keep a list of them to show your doctor and pharmacist when you get a new medicine.

What are the possible side effects of GEMTESA?

GEMTESA may cause serious side effects including the inability to empty your bladder (urinary retention). GEMTESA may increase your chances of not being able to empty your bladder, especially if you have bladder outlet obstruction or take other medicines for treatment of overactive bladder. Tell your doctor right away if you are unable to empty your bladder.

The most common side effects of GEMTESA include headache, urinary tract infection, nasal congestion, sore throat or runny nose, diarrhea, nausea, and upper respiratory tract infection. These are not all the possible side effects of GEMTESA. For more information, ask your doctor or pharmacist.

Call your doctor for medical advice about side effects. You may report side effects to FDA at 1-800-FDA-1088.

Please click here for full Product Information for GEMTESA.


Urovant Sciences
Alana Darden Powell
Vice President, Corporate Communications

Sumitovant Biopharma
Maya Frutiger
Head of Corporate Communications


Source: Urovant Sciences, Inc.

Back to news