Akebia Therapeutics, Inc., a biopharmaceutical company focused on delivering innovative therapies to patients with kidney disease through the biology of hypoxia-inducible factor (HIF), today announced the appointment of Cynthia Smith to its Board of Directors.
“Cynthia is an accomplished leader with an impressive background in the commercialization of renal disease products and in government affairs. She will be a valuable advisor, whose expertise is particularly relevant as we prepare for the commercialization of our Phase 3 asset, vadadustat, subject to regulatory approval, and work to maximize the value of Auryxia® (ferric citrate), subject to the consummation of our merger with Keryx Biopharmaceuticals,” said John P. Butler, President and Chief Executive Officer of Akebia Therapeutics.
“Akebia is advancing a late-stage investigational drug that has the potential to change the standard of care for patients with anemia due to chronic kidney disease, and the company’s planned merger with Keryx Biopharmaceuticals will enable the combined company to be a partner of choice in the renal space,” said Smith. “I’m honored to join the Board of Directors at this exciting time for Akebia.”
Cynthia Smith has more than 20 years of broad leadership experience within the healthcare industry. She served as Chief Commercial Officer and a member of the Executive Committee of ZS Pharma, Inc. from 2013 to 2016, where she led efforts to transition the company from a development stage company to a commercial enterprise. ZS Pharma, Inc. was acquired by AstraZeneca in 2015. Prior to ZS Pharma, Smith served as Vice President, Market Access and Commercial Development at Affymax, Inc., from 2008 to 2013. From 2000 to 2008, she held various senior leadership positions in market access, corporate strategy, government relations and external affairs at Merck & Co. Before beginning her career in the biopharmaceutical industry, Smith served as a healthcare policy analyst in the Office of Management and Budget at the White House from 1995 to 2000. In addition to her appointment to Akebia’s Board of Directors, she serves on the Board of Directors of Dicerna Pharmaceuticals, Inc., and served on the Board of Directors of Nivalis Therapeutics from 2016 to 2017. She earned a B.A. from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, an M.B.A. from the Wharton School and an M.S. in public policy from the Eagleton Institute of Politics at Rutgers University.