MENLO PARK, Calif., March 15, 2017 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) -- Versartis, Inc. (NASDAQ:VSAR), an endocrine-focused biopharmaceutical company that is developing somavaratan, a novel, long-acting form of recombinant human growth hormone (rhGH) for growth hormone deficiency (GHD), today announced the appointment of Tracy Woody as Chief Commercial Officer. Ms. Woody will be responsible for leading the Company's efforts to prepare for launch and to commercialize somavaratan in the U.S. and Europe, pending regulatory approval.

"We are very excited to have someone of Tracy's caliber join the Versartis team," said Jay Shepard, CEO of Versartis, Inc. "She was responsible for the build out of the commercial plan and team that launched Concerta, the first long-acting treatment for ADHD, in cooperation with J&J. This launch established a market now dominated by specialty, long-acting methylphenidate products, which currently account for close to 80% of prescriptions. Her tremendous experience driving a shift in a market's standard of care to a more convenient, long-acting treatment will be key to our commercial success, should we receive regulatory approval."

Ms. Woody has had a successful career with over 20 years of experience in the pharmaceutical and biotech industries. She is recognized for building effective sales and marketing teams and developing strategies for product launch and commercial success, most notably with long-acting formulations. Most recently she served as the Chief Commercial Officer of KemPharm where she was responsible for building and managing the KemPharm commercial organization to support the company's product pipeline. Prior to that, she held the role of Vice President, Sales & Marketing for NextWave Pharmaceuticals, where she worked on the commercial preparation of the first once-daily, extended-release liquid methylphenidate drug in the U.S. to treat ADHD, now being marketed as Quillivant XR CII by Pfizer following its acquisition of NextWave. Ms. Woody founded TMW Consulting, Inc., a provider of consulting services for emerging biotech and medical device companies. As a consultant, Ms. Woody served as acting CEO for one of the firm's clients, RetroJect, Inc., a private ophthalmic medical device company focused on the treatment of glaucoma.

Ms. Woody spent eight years at Greer Laboratories as part of the executive management team. Earlier in her career, Ms. Woody was Director of Marketing for ALZA Corporation, and Marketing Manager in Pfizer's U.S. Pharmaceuticals Group, where she helped lead the launches of Ditropan XL and Zoloft respectively. Ms. Woody received a B.S. in Health Promotion and Applied Physiology from East Carolina University with a Minor in Business Administration.

About Versartis, Inc.Versartis, Inc. is an endocrine-focused biopharmaceutical company initially developing somavaratan, a novel, long-acting form of recombinant human growth hormone in late-stage clinical trials for the treatment of GHD in children and adults.  Somavaratan is intended to reduce the burden of daily injection therapy by requiring significantly fewer injections, potentially improving adherence and, therefore, treatment outcomes.  For more information on Versartis, visit

Cautionary Note on Forward-Looking StatementsThis press release contains forward-looking statements for purposes of the safe harbor provisions of the Private Securities Litigation Reform Act of 1995. Forward-looking statements include statements regarding our intentions or current expectations concerning, among other things, plans and timing of our clinical trials and the potential for eventual regulatory approval of somavaratan. Forward-looking statements are not guarantees of future performance and are subject to risks and uncertainties that could cause actual results and events to differ materially from those anticipated, including, but not limited to, risks and uncertainties related to: our success being heavily dependent on somavaratan; somavaratan being a new molecular entity; the risk that somavaratan may not have favorable results in clinical trials or receive regulatory approval; potential delays in our clinical trials due to regulatory requirements or difficulty identifying qualified investigators or enrolling patients; the risk that somavaratan may cause serious side effects or have properties that delay or prevent regulatory approval or limit its commercial potential; the risk that we may encounter difficulties in manufacturing somavaratan; if somavaratan is approved, risks associated with its market acceptance, including pricing and reimbursement; potential difficulties enforcing our intellectual property rights; our reliance on our license of intellectual property from Amunix Operating, Inc. and our need for additional funds to support our operations. We discuss many of these risks in greater detail under the heading "Risk Factors" contained in our Annual Report on Form 10-K for the year ended December 31, 2016, which is on file with the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC). Forward-looking statements are not guarantees of future performance, and our actual results of operations, financial condition and liquidity, and the development of the industry in which we operate, may differ materially from the forward-looking statements contained in this press release. Any forward-looking statements that we make in this press release speak only as of the date of this press release. We assume no obligation to update our forward-looking statements whether as a result of new information, future events or otherwise, after the date of this press release.
Contacts:Corporate Communications: Christine LabareeCorporate Affairs(650) 600-1697clabaree@versartis.comInvestors:David BurkeDirector, Investor Relations(650) 516-2703

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