REDWOOD CITY, Calif., March 14, 2017 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) -- Relypsa, Inc., a Vifor Pharma company, today announced the promotion of Scott Garland to president, effective March 31, 2017. Mr. Garland joined Relypsa in October 2014 as senior vice president and chief commercial officer and has been instrumental in the U.S. commercial launch of Veltassa® (patiromer) for oral suspension for the treatment of hyperkalemia.
John A. Orwin, who is currently president and chief executive officer, will remain as chief executive officer until June 30, 2017, and after that date will continue in an advisory role with the U.S. Committee of the Vifor Pharma Board of Directors.
Mr. Garland is a seasoned executive with close to 25 years of biotechnology and pharmaceutical experience. He has extensive expertise in launching products and building commercial infrastructure to support specialty drugs, including within the nephrology community. Prior to joining Relypsa, Mr. Garland was executive vice president and chief commercial officer of Exelixis, Inc., where for three years he led global commercial operations and was responsible for building and leading sales, marketing, market access and commercial operations. Before Exelixis, Mr. Garland had a nine-year tenure at Genentech, most recently as vice president, Avastin Franchise, where he led a team of over 300 people and revenue of $3 billion. While at Genentech, he also held other senior level positions overseeing sales and marketing for a number of products. Earlier in his career, Mr. Garland held various sales and marketing positions at Amgen, including overseeing market development for the launch of Aranesp for chronic kidney disease patients. Mr. Garland holds an M.B.A. from the Fuqua School of Business at Duke University and a B.S. in biological sciences from California Polytechnic State University, San Luis Obispo.
Approximately 3 million people in the United States with stage 3 or 4 chronic kidney disease (CKD) and/or heart failure have hyperkalemia, or elevated blood potassium levels. Hyperkalemia can cause abnormal heart rhythms and even sudden death. There are often no warning signs, meaning a person can unknowingly experience spikes in potassium levels recurrently and be at risk for these cardiac events. Some medicines that are often prescribed to people with CKD and heart failure to help delay progression of their underlying disease can cause hyperkalemia as a side effect. These include renin angiotensin aldosterone system (RAAS) inhibitors such as angiotensin receptor blockers (ARBs), aldosterone antagonists (AAs) and angiotensin-converting-enzyme (ACE) inhibitors.
Veltassa is a potassium binder approved for the treatment of hyperkalemia. Veltassa should not be used as an emergency treatment for life-threatening hyperkalemia because of its delayed onset of action.
Made in powder form consisting of smooth, spherical beads, Veltassa is mixed with water (one-third of a cup) and taken once-a-day with food. Veltassa is not absorbed and acts within the gastrointestinal tract. It binds to potassium in exchange for calcium, primarily in the colon. The potassium is then excreted from the body through the normal excretion process.
Important Safety Information
Veltassa is contraindicated in patients with a history of a hypersensitivity reaction to Veltassa or any of its components.
Worsening of Gastrointestinal Motility
Use of Veltassa should be avoided in patients with severe constipation, bowel obstruction or impaction, including abnormal post-operative bowel motility disorders, because Veltassa may be ineffective and may worsen gastrointestinal conditions. Patients with a history of bowel obstruction or major gastrointestinal surgery, severe gastrointestinal disorders, or swallowing disorders were not included in clinical studies.
Veltassa binds to magnesium in the colon, which can lead to hypomagnesemia. In clinical studies, hypomagnesemia was reported as an adverse reaction in 5.3 percent of patients treated with Veltassa. Approximately 9 percent of patients in clinical trials developed hypomagnesemia with a serum magnesium value <1.4 mg/dL. Doctors should monitor serum magnesium and consider magnesium supplementation in patients who develop low serum magnesium levels.
The most common adverse reactions (incidence ≥2 percent) are constipation, hypomagnesemia, diarrhea, nausea, abdominal discomfort and flatulence. Mild to moderate hypersensitivity reactions were reported in 0.3 percent of patients treated with Veltassa and included edema of the lips.
For Veltassa's full Prescribing Information, please visit https://www.veltassa.com/pi.pdf.
About Relypsa, Inc.
Relypsa, Inc. is a biopharmaceutical company focused on the discovery, development and commercialization of polymeric medicines for patients with conditions that are often overlooked and undertreated and can be addressed in the gastrointestinal tract. The Company's first medicine, Veltassa® (patiromer) for oral suspension, was developed based on Relypsa's rich legacy in polymer science. Relypsa was founded in 2007 and, in September 2016, became a Vifor Pharma company. More information is available at www.relypsa.com.
About Vifor Pharma
Vifor Pharma, a company of the Galenica Group, is a world leader in the discovery, development, manufacturing and marketing of pharmaceutical products for the treatment of iron deficiency. The company also offers a diversified portfolio of prescription medicines as well as over-the-counter (OTC) products. Vifor Pharma, headquartered in Zurich, Switzerland, has an increasingly global presence and a broad network of affiliates and partners around the world. For more information about Vifor Pharma, please visit www.viforpharma.com.
Contact: Albert Liao Director of U.S. Communications Relypsa +1 650 421 9532 email@example.com