SOUTH SAN FRANCISCO, Calif., Feb. 10, 2014 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) -- Sunesis Pharmaceuticals, Inc. (Nasdaq:SNSS) today announced the appointment of Joseph I. DePinto to the newly created position of Executive Vice President and Chief Commercial Officer. Mr. DePinto brings over two decades of experience in global commercial operations, including the leadership of the commercial, marketing and strategic development efforts behind a number of prominent oncology products. "Joe's extensive commercial leadership and expertise in overseeing launch, growth and lifecycle planning of leading oncology products provide immediate leverage to Sunesis as we approach the unblinding of VALOR and prepare to execute successfully on our commercial and regulatory strategies for vosaroxin," said Daniel Swisher, Chief Executive Officer of Sunesis. "A key element of our commercialization planning process was to conduct a comprehensive search for an experienced, passionate commercial leader to help realize vosaroxin's and the company's full potential. Joe more than meets these criteria, and we look forward to his contributions." Sunesis also announced today that, based on a recent evaluation of survival events, the unblinding of the pivotal, Phase 3 VALOR trial of vosaroxin plus cytarabine in first relapsed or refractory acute myeloid leukemia (AML) is now expected in the third quarter of 2014. Mr. Swisher added: "With survival events occurring at a slower pace than previously forecast, we now expect to unblind VALOR in the third quarter of 2014, rather than the second quarter. We remain well funded to prosecute VALOR beyond the transformative milestone of top-line data readout." "Vosaroxin is an exciting product candidate, one with significant potential in AML and other related indications, to which Sunesis has retained full global commercial rights," said Mr. DePinto. "I am delighted to join Sunesis at this exciting time to help lead the forward integration of the company with a build out of a preeminent U.S. oncology commercial team to successfully introduce vosaroxin into a population desperately in need of new therapies."