San Diego Business Journal

Auspex Pharmaceuticals Appoints Life Science Veterans to Executive Team

Wednesday, October 23, 2013

La Jolla-based Auspex Pharmaceuticals Inc. has appointed four life science industry veterans to its executive team.

Pratik Shah, formerly the company’s executive chairman, will take on the roles of president and CEO. He will also continue as partner at San Diego health venture firm Thomas McNerney & Partners.

John Schmid, the co-founder and chief financial officer at Trius Therapeutics Inc. — a San Diego drug company acquired last month by Lexington, Mass.-based Cubist Pharmaceuticals Inc. for $704 million — will serve as Auspex’s new CFO.

Bharatt Chowrira, who was previously president and CEO of Addex Therapeutics, a small Swiss drug company, will join Auspex as chief operating officer.

Samuel Saks, an Auspex board member, will now work as the company’s chief development officer. Saks was co-founder and CEO of Jazz Pharmaceuticals Inc. (Nasdaq: JAZZ) until his resignation in 2009. Jazz has a market capitalization of $5.26 billion, and closed trading Oct. 22 at $90.51.

Auspex, a private company, develops therapies for debilitating movement disorders like Huntington’s disease and Tourette’s Syndrome. The company is focusing on transitioning from a research and development-focused organization into a late-stage clinical development and commercial organization, Shah said, in a statement.

Its most recent funding round was in November 2012, when it received $25 million in Series D funding from existing investors Thomas, McNerney & Partners, CMEA Capital and Sloan Biotech Fund.

— Meghana Keshavan