San Diego Business Journal

Faheem Hasnain, a well-respected biotech executive in San Diego, has been appointed chairman of Vital Therapies Inc.’s Board of Directors.

Hasnain succeeds co-chairmen Terry Winters, CEO of Vital, and Muneer Satter, both of whom will remain on the board and with Winters remaining as CEO.

Vital Therapies, a microcap biotech with a market cap of $129 million, is developing cell-based therapies for liver failure. The company is currently testing its ELAD liver treatment in patients with acute alcoholic hepatitis. The study, called VTL-308, is in its later stages.

“Faheem’s deep experience and proven track record of success in the pharmaceutical industry will be instrumental in guiding Vital Therapies through its next chapter of development, which includes completion of the VTL-308 phase 3 trial, regulatory filings and commercialization if the trial is successful,” said Satter in a statement.

Hasnain is best known in San Diego for brokering one of the biggest life science deals in the region’s history, when in 2015 Celgene Corp. acquired Receptos Inc. for $7.2 billion.

Hasnain was president, CEO and director of Receptos from November 2010 to August 2015. Receptos was a public company formed in 2009 with a specific focus on immunology and metabolic disorders.

Before Receptos, Hasnain led Facet Biotech, which sold for $450 million in cash to Abbott Laboratories in March 2010. Before that, he served in executive roles at Biogen Idec Inc., Bristol Myers Squibb and GlaxoSmithKline.

Hasnain has been on Vital Therapies’ board since August of last year, at which time he made a personal investment in shares of the company, according to a Vital news release.