SOUTH SAN FRANCISCO, Calif., July 09, 2018 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) -- Sunesis Pharmaceuticals, Inc. (Nasdaq:SNSS) today announced three key new management appointments as part of the Company’s expansion of its development team. Deepali Suri, M.Sc., a former Executive Director at Pharmacyclics (an AbbVie Company), was appointed Vice President, Clinical Operations, and Sean Gharpurey, M.S., MBA, joined as Executive Director, Project Management. Stephen Nava was promoted to Vice President, Quality Assurance, Compliance and Regulatory Affairs.

“We are excited to have Deepali, Sean, and Steve join our senior development team as we advance our kinase portfolio, including our lead asset vecabrutinib,” said Judy Fox, PhD, Chief Scientific Officer of Sunesis. “Each brings extensive and highly relevant industry experience to the table. Deepali, our new Vice President of Clinical Operations, led global clinical trials for ibrutinib while at Pharmacyclics (an AbbVie Company) and has a track record of excellence in oncology clinical development. Sean is assuming leadership of Program Management at Sunesis, having developed and implemented project management and resource management functions and strategic portfolio processes at leading pharmaceutical companies. Steve has a unique breadth of experience in quality, compliance, CMC, and regulatory affairs, and has distinguished himself over the last 2 ½ years as the head of Quality and Compliance at Sunesis. We are looking forward to leveraging his knowledge and leadership in his expanded role.”

Ms. Suri brings more than 15 years of experience in clinical operations and oncology drug development. Prior to Sunesis, she was an Executive Director, Clinical Operations at Pharmacyclics (an AbbVie Company), where she served as a member of the development leadership team and led global Phase 1-3 clinical trials for ibruinib and abexinostat. She was a key contributor to the regulatory approval of Ibrutinib in treatment naïve CLL/SLL, MZL and other indications. She previously held clinical trial management roles at PPD and Pfizer, which gives her the unique experience of having been on both the pharmaceutical and CRO sides of clinical operations. Ms. Suri has M.Sc. in Pharmacy (Pharmacology) and a B.S. in Pharmaceutical Science from Delhi University.

Mr. Gharpurey was Executive Director, Strategic Business Improvement at Jazz Pharmaceuticals and supported the scale-up of the research and development organization. He has experience implementing enterprise project/resource management and clinical trial analytics systems. Mr. Gharpurey has also held senior level project and resource management roles at Roche, Genentech, Schering AG, Johnson & Johnson, and QuestOne Decision Sciences. Mr. Gharpurey holds an MBA from the University of North Carolina and M.S. and B. Tech. degrees in Mechanical Engineering from the University of Missouri and the Indian Institute of Technology.

Mr. Nava has 24 years of experience in quality assurance, CMC, and regulatory affairs and most recently served as Sunesis’ Executive Director of Quality Assurance and Compliance and was responsible for the development of the Company’s CMC regulatory strategy and process. Before Sunesis, Mr. Nava was a Senior Consultant at Chamow & Associates and specialized in providing quality assurance, CMC, and regulatory affairs services to biotechnology companies. He previously was the Director of Regulatory Affairs and Quality Assurance at BiPar, a Sanofi company, where he established and maintained the Company’s quality assurance programs policies, and procedures. He held similar regulatory affairs roles at Acumen Sciences, Theravance, and Axys Pharmaceuticals. Mr. Nava has B.S. in Chemistry and Mathematics from Texas A&M University-Kingsville.

About Sunesis Pharmaceuticals

Sunesis is a biopharmaceutical company developing new therapeutics for the treatment of hematologic and solid cancers. Sunesis has built an experienced drug development organization committed to improving the lives of people with cancer. The Company is focused on advancing its novel kinase-inhibitor pipeline, with an emphasis on establishing proof of concept that its oral non-covalent BTK-inhibitor vecabrutinib is effective in ibrutinib-resistant chronic lymphocytic leukemia. Vecabrutinib is currently being evaluated in a Phase 1b/2 study in adults with chronic lymphocytic leukemia and other B-cell malignancies who have progressed after prior therapies. Beyond the development of vecabrutinib, the Company has two other kinase inhibitor programs, including Sunesis’ proprietary preclinical PDK1 inhibitor SNS-510, which is in preclinical development with an IND submission planned in 2019, and the Takeda-partnered pan-RAF inhibitor TAK-580, which is in a clinical trial for pediatric low-grade glioma.  PDK1 is a master kinase that activates other kinases important to cell growth and survival including members of the AKT, PKC, RSK and SGK families. Sunesis is also seeking a partner to fund the completion of development for vosaroxin, a Phase 3 investigational product for relapsed or refractory AML.

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This press release contains forward-looking statements, including statements related to Sunesis’ cash sufficiency forecast, the continued development of vecabrutinib (SNS-062), including the timing of Phase 1b/2 trial of vecabrutinib and the therapeutic potential of vecabrutinib, further development and potential of its kinase inhibitor pipeline, and planned development of SNS-510. Words such as “believe,” “expect,” “look forward,” “potential,” “will” and similar expressions are intended to identify forward-looking statements. These forward-looking statements are based upon Sunesis' current expectations. Forward-looking statements involve risks and uncertainties. Sunesis' actual results and the timing of events could differ materially from those anticipated in such forward-looking statements as a result of these risks and uncertainties, which include, without limitation, the risk related to the timing or conduct of Sunesis' clinical trials, including the vecabrutinib Phase 1b/2 trial, the risk that Sunesis' clinical or preclinical studies for vecabrutinib, SNS-510 or other product candidate may not demonstrate safety or efficacy or lead to regulatory approval, the risk that data to date and trends may not be predictive of future data or results, risks related to the timing or conduct of Sunesis' clinical trials, that Sunesis' development activities for vecabrutinib or SNS-510 could be otherwise halted or significantly delayed for various reasons, that Sunesis may not be able to receive regulatory approval of vecabrutinib, or SNS-510 in the U.S. or Europe, and risks related to Sunesis' ability to raise the capital that it believes to be accessible and is required to fully finance the development and commercialization of vecabrutinib, SNS-510 and other product candidates. These and other risk factors are discussed under "Risk Factors" and elsewhere in Sunesis' Quarterly Report on Form 10-Q for the quarter ended March 31, 2018 and Sunesis' other filings with the Securities and Exchange Commission. Sunesis expressly disclaims any obligation or undertaking to release publicly any updates or revisions to any forward-looking statements contained herein reflect any change in Sunesis' expectations with regard thereto or any change in events, conditions or circumstances on which any such statements are based.

Investor and Media Inquiries:
Maeve Conneighton
Argot Partners
Willie Quinn
Sunesis Pharmaceuticals Inc.