ZURICH--(BUSINESS WIRE)--Versantis AG, a clinical-stage company developing novel therapies for rare liver diseases and rare pediatric diseases, today announced the appointment of Prof Dr Katharina Staufer as Chief Medical Officer. Prof Staufer is a gastroenterologist and hepatologist with a strong clinical and scientific background in metabolic liver disease, liver cirrhosis and transplant hepatology, including orphan liver diseases.
“Katharina brings a wealth of expertise in translational and clinical research, which will be a tremendous asset to support the successful clinical progress of Versantis’ pipeline and transfer our therapeutics to the patients in need,” said Dr. Vincent Forster, co-founder and CEO of Versantis. “This is a pivotal time in the development of our lead program VS-01. We look forward to the contribution that Katharina will bring to unfold the full potential of VS-01 in our key adult and pediatric indications.”
Commenting on the announcement, Dr. Meriam Kabbaj, Versantis co-founder and COO added: “Versantis is fortunate to welcome Katharina on board following the recent successful first-in-human Phase 1b clinical study with VS-01 and at a time where we are expanding our clinical development on a global scale. Her very relevant experience and career-long focus on patients’ quality of care is an excellent fit with our mission to make a fundamental difference in the lives of liver impaired patients.”
“I’m excited to join Versantis as the company moves to its next stage of development. Their unique approach to treating liver disorders has the potential to be game-changing, especially for patients with decompensated liver cirrhosis and acute-on-chronic liver failure,” said Prof Staufer. “Following the successful initial clinical study with VS-01, I look forward to helping guide the next clinical stages in a dedicated team and to improving treatment in an urgent unmet clinical need.”
Prof Staufer was most recently Head of Transplant Medicine at the Inselspital, University Hospital Bern, Switzerland, where she built up and led the area of Transplant Medicine in a fast-growing liver transplant center. She has been a consultant specialist in Internal Medicine, Gastroenterology & Hepatology at the Medical University of Vienna, Austria. Prof Staufer received her training from the Medical University of Vienna and the University Medical Center Hamburg-Eppendorf, Germany, and did her post-graduate studies in Molecular Biology at the Center for Molecular Neurobiology, University of Hamburg, Germany. She was appointed as an Associate Professor at the Medical University of Vienna in January 2018. She is a member of the European Association for the Study the Liver (EASL), the American Association for the Study of Liver Diseases (AASLD), member of the editorial board and reviewer of several international scientific journals, as well as author of numerous scientific publications.
Versantis is a clinical stage company focused on addressing the growing, un-met medical need in liver diseases. With a pipeline of drug and diagnostic products covering chronic and acute indications, Versantis believes it can revolutionize current standard of care for patients suffering from acquired and genetic hepatic deficiencies. Versantis’ lead program, VS-01, is in clinical development as a first-line therapy for the timely reversal of acute-on-chronic liver failure (ACLF). It harnesses Versantis’ proprietary scavenging liposomes to extract toxins from the body and, if approved, will be the first drug to take advantage of the intraperitoneal route to simultaneously support the liver, kidney and brain, the organs that most often fail in cirrhotic patients. VS-01 has received orphan drug designation (ODD) from the EMA and U.S. FDA, as well as a Rare Pediatric Diseases Designation from the U.S. FDA. Founded by scientists from ETH Zurich with entrepreneurial drive, Versantis has built a team and Board of seasoned industry executives with a proven ability to advance novel therapies from the idea stage into clinical development. The company is headquartered in Zurich, Switzerland. For additional information, visit: www.versantis.ch.