ZURICH--(BUSINESS WIRE)--Versantis, a clinical-stage biotechnology company developing novel therapies for orphan liver and pediatric diseases, today announced the appointment of Mark J. Fitzpatrick as Chief Executive Officer (CEO) and member of the board of directors, effective January 1, 2022. He joins Versantis with more than 25 years of experience in the biopharma industry, primarily in senior executive roles, and will be based in the U.S. following the establishment of Versantis, Inc. He succeeds co-founder Dr. Vincent Forster, who will assume the role of Chief Scientific Officer.
“Mark has extensive experience in the biopharma industry and has led companies through all aspects of corporate development, including product regulatory approval and global commercial launch, as well as raising more than $1.5 billion in public and private equity and debt financing capital in his career,” said Peter Nicklin, Chairman of Versantis. “As Versantis advances its novel liposomal-based product candidate VS-01 into Phase 2a clinical trials in patients with acute-on-chronic liver failure in early 2022 and progresses its other pipeline products, Mark is the ideal leader to grow the company through the next stages in its development.”
“We are also fortunate to retain our co-founder, Dr. Vincent Forster, in the new role of Chief Scientific Officer. Vincent has been instrumental in leading the company, together with co-founder Meriam Kabbaj, since 2015 and we expect to continue to benefit from his scientific acumen and leadership, which are critical to advancing our existing pipeline and supporting its expansion. On behalf of the board, I’d like to thank Vincent for his dedication and continued commitment to leading Versantis to this pivotal stage,” Mr. Nicklin added.
Mr. Fitzpatrick joined Versantis from Chiasma, Inc. a publicly traded, commercial-stage company recently acquired by Amryt PLC, where he held positions of increasing responsibility, including CFO, President and CEO. During his tenure at Chiasma, he led the turnaround of the company’s lead product from an FDA complete response letter in 2016 to FDA approval and U.S. commercial launch in 2020. Prior to Chiasma, Mr. Fitzpatrick was the Chief Financial Officer of several public and private biotechnology companies, including Aegerion Pharmaceuticals, Proteon Therapeutics, RenaMed Biologics, Dynogen Pharmaceuticals, and Diacrin, Inc.
“Versantis has a unique and differentiated approach to the treatment of orphan liver disorders using its proprietary liposome technology. This, together with promising clinical data from the lead program, VS-01, and a pipeline of products designed to address the management of both rare and chronic liver diseases, provided a strong rationale for me to join Vincent, Meriam, and the entire Versantis team. I’m excited to take on this new challenge and look forward to building on the company’s momentum to date,” said Mr. Fitzpatrick.
Mr. Fitzpatrick currently serves on the boards of directors of Allena Pharmaceuticals (NASDAQ: ALNA) and Stone Rehabilitation and Senior Living, a non-profit, community-based skilled nursing facility in Massachusetts. He began his professional career at Arthur Andersen LLP.
“It has been a tremendous privilege to lead Versantis, and our outstanding team, since its inception. Mark brings with him a strategic vision and a wealth of experience in areas key to the success of our patient-centric mission and the growth of Versantis in US, Europe, and beyond. I am delighted to work closely with Mark as Versantis moves to a pivotal time in its development and look forward to continuing unveiling the transformative impact of our emerging pipeline products on patients’ lives,” said Dr. Vincent Forster.
Versantis is a clinical stage biotechnology 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 potentially support the liver, kidneys 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 for Urea Cycle Disorders. 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.