Menlo Therapeutics Inc. is a late-stage biopharmaceutical company focused on the development of serlopitant, a once-daily oral NK1 receptor antagonist, for the treatment of pruritus.

We have completed four double‑blind Phase 2 clinical trials in more than 1,000 patients with pruritus and observed clinically relevant and statistically significant improvements in pruritus in patients treated with serlopitant compared to patients treated with placebo in three of the four trials.

Our clinical development program for serlopitant includes two ongoing Phase 3 clinical trials for the treatment of pruritus associated with prurigo nodularis, a Phase 3-ready clinical program for the treatment of pruritus associated with psoriasis, and an ongoing Phase 2 clinical trial for the treatment of chronic pruritus of unknown origin.

The safety of serlopitant has been assessed in more than 1,600 individuals, including healthy volunteers and patients with pruritus and other indications, and has been shown to be well tolerated, including when administered to patients in a clinical trial for up to one year.

Development Programs at Menlo Therapeutics with Serlopitant

Development programs at Menlo Therapeutics with Serlopitant

We have exclusive, royalty free development and commercialization rights to serlopitant in all markets.

Steve Basta

Chief Executive Officer of Menlo Therapeutics Inc.

Mr. Basta has served as our President and Chief Executive Officer and member of our board of directors since September 2015.  

Prior to joining Menlo Therapeutics Inc., from 2011 to 2015, Mr. Basta served as CEO of AlterG, Inc. a privately-held medical device company.

From 2002 through 2010, Mr. Basta served as Chief Executive Officer of BioForm Medical, a publicly-listed medical aesthetics company acquired by Merz, and from February 2010 to September 2011 served as Chief Executive Officer of Merz Aesthetics, the successor to BioForm Medical.  Mr. Basta led BioForm’s growth from initial product launch to $80 million in annual revenues at the time of its acquisition by Merz, and subsequently led Merz Aesthetics through multiple product launches managing a global business unit which was the #3 worldwide injectable aesthetics business.

Prior to Bioform Medical, Mr. Basta served as President and CEO of Gliatech, Inc., a medical device company, VP Business Development and Chief Financial Officer of Creative BioMolecules, Inc., a protein therapy and drug device combination products company, and Executive Director of Product Development for The Immune Response Corporation, a biotechnology company.

Mr. Basta is currently a board member of the publicly listed company, Viveve Medical (since September 2018) and serves as Chairman of the Board of Viveve (since January 2019). Mr. Basta previously served on the board of Carbylan from September 2009 to November 2016. Mr. Basta served on the board of RF Surgical (acquired by Medtronic) from December 2013 to August 2015.

Mr. Basta received his M.B.A. from the Kellogg Graduate School of Business at Northwestern University, and his B.A. in biomedical engineering from The Johns Hopkins University.


Kristine M. Ball

SVP of Corporate Strategy and Chief Financial Officer

Ms. Ball has served as our Senior Vice President, Corporate Strategy and Chief Financial Officer since 2017.  Ms. Ball has approximately 25 years of experience in the life-sciences industry. 

Prior to joining Menlo Therapeutics, Ms. Ball served as Senior Vice President and Chief Financial Officer of Relypsa, Inc., a publicly-listed pharmaceutical company, from 2012 to 2016.  At Relypsa, Ms. Ball was responsible for finance, investor relations, corporate development, and various other administrative functions.  Ms. Ball led Relypsa’s IPO in November 2013 and in 4 years raised over $675 million in various equity and debt financings to fund the company’s growth.  Additionally, Ms. Ball was actively involved with executing partnerships with Sanofi and Vifor Fresenius Medical Care Renal Pharma, and the company’s acquisition by Galenica for over $1.5 billion.

From 2005 to 2011, Ms. Ball was Senior Vice President of Finance and Administration and Chief Financial Officer of KAI Pharmaceuticals, Inc. (acquired by Amgen), a drug discovery company.  At KAI, she was responsible for finance, administration and strategic planning.  She was involved in venture capital financings, pharmaceutical partnerships and KAI’s acquisition by Amgen. 

Earlier in her career, Ms. Ball served as Vice President of Finance at Exelixis, Inc., a biotechnology company, from 2000 to 2005, where she was involved in four acquisitions, Exelixis’ initial public offering and other financings.  Before joining Exelixis, Ms. Ball was a senior manager in Ernst & Young’s life sciences audit practice.

Ms. Ball holds a B.S. from Babson College.  She serves on the Board of Directors of Forty Seven, Inc. and the National Kidney Foundation Northern California Chapter.


Paul Kwon, M.D.

Chief Scientific Officer

Dr. Kwon has served as our Chief Scientific Officer since 2018 and served as our Chief Medical Officer from 2016 to 2018.  

Prior to joining Menlo Therapeutics, from 2010 to 2015, Dr. Kwon was Chief Medical Officer at Nora Therapeutics, a biotechnology company focused on developing therapeutics to address significant unmet needs in reproductive medicine.  At Nora, he led development of a clinical-stage molecule for the treatment of repeated implantation failure and recurrent miscarriage.

From 2003 to 2009, Dr. Kwon held numerous positions at Genentech, where he was most recently head of the nononcology early clinical development group and oversaw clinical development of molecules from pre-IND through Phase 2 in multiple therapeutic areas, including rheumatology, neurology, cardiovascular disease and ophthalmology.  In addition, he managed the medical groups for two post-marketed franchises in cardiovascular and metabolic disease.

Dr. Kwon was in clinical practice as a dermatologist from 2001 to 2003 and 2009 to 2010 with the Permanente Medical Group in Northern California, where he also served as a consultant for the Permanente Technology Group.  From 2004 to 2014, Dr. Kwon served on the faculty at the University of California at San Francisco as Assistant Clinical Professor of Dermatology.

Dr. Kwon received his B.A. in human biology from Stanford University, and his M.D. from the University of California at San Francisco. He is a diplomate of the American Board of Dermatology and a fellow of the American Academy of Dermatology.


Ron Krasnow

General Counsel and Chief Compliance Officer

Mr. Krasnow has served as our General Counsel and Chief Compliance Officer since 2019.  

Prior to joining Menlo, Mr. Krasnow served as General Counsel, Chief Strategy Officer and Secretary at Kinestral Technologies, Inc., a company focused on bringing cutting edge technology to the home and commercial construction markets. Prior to Kinestral, Ron spent approximately ten years as General Counsel at Relypsa, Inc., overseeing legal activities as the biotech company grew from a start-up, through its IPO, commercialization of its drug and its acquisition by Galenica.  Prior to joining Relypsa, Mr. Krasnow spent ten years at Symyx Technologies, Inc. in various positions, including Senior Vice President, Intellectual Property.  

Mr. Krasnow received his J.D. from The George Washington University Law School and his B.S. in Materials and Metallurgical Engineering from The University of Michigan.


Karen Smith

Senior Vice President, Commercial Development

Karen Smith joined Menlo Therapeutics in 2017 to lead commercial development.  Ms. Smith has over 25 years of experience in developing commercialization strategies and building out commercial infrastructure to optimize new product launches in the pharmaceutical, medical devices and diagnostic industries.

Prior to joining Menlo Therapeutics, Ms. Smith ran an independent consulting practice helping several emerging and start-up companies develop commercialization strategies for their pipeline assets.

From 2006 to 2012, Ms. Smith held positions with Medicis Pharmaceutical Company as head of Dermatology and Aesthetic Medicine marketing as well as head of the Core Development Program Teams for Medicis’ pipeline assets.  At Medicis, Ms. Smith lead the launch of several key dermatology and aesthetic medicine brands and lead the core development teams to design clinical trials to achieve optimal product labels.

Earlier in her career, Ms. Smith was Worldwide Vice President of Dermatology Sales and Marketing for Centocor, a division of Johnson and Johnson, where she was instrumental in the launch of the biologic REMICADE® into dermatology.  Also at J&J, Ms. Smith was the head of Global Biologics Strategic Marketing where she was responsible for the early commercialization work for STELARA® and SIMPONI®.  Prior to J&J, Ms. Smith held various leadership positions with F. Hoffmann-La Roche and Abbott Laboratories in Business Development, Strategic Marketing, National Accounts, and Operations.

Ms. Smith holds a J.D. from the Loyola University Chicago School of Law, an M.B.A from Miami University, and a B.B.A. from the University of Wisconsin, Oshkosh.


Danine Summers

Senior Vice President of Medical Affairs

Ms. Summers has served as our Senior Vice President, Medical Affairs since March 2017 and  has 35 years of experience in the pharmaceutical industry, with the last 20 years in dermatology specifically. 

From 2013 to 2017, Ms. Summers served as  Senior Vice President, Medical Affairs at Anacor Pharmaceuticals, where she participated in preparing the organization for two product launches, with responsibility for technology platform and clinical data communication and key opinion leader relationships.

Before joining Anacor,  from 2007 to 2012, Ms. Summers was the Vice President, Medical Affairs for Medicis Pharmaceutical Company where she led the organization’s medical information management, publications, educational grants, investigator‑initiated study grants and health economics outcomes research.

Ms. Summers received a B.A. from San Jose State University and an M.B.A. in Marketing from Golden Gate University.


Xiaoming Zhang, Ph.D.

Senior Vice President, Non-Clinical and CMC

Xiaoming Zhang, Ph.D., has served as our Senior Vice President, Non‑Clinical and Pharmaceutical Development since November 2015.  He has more than 20 years of experience in discovery and development of new molecular entities across multiple therapeutic areas and is an inventor on 33 US patents.

Prior to joining Menlo Therapeutics, Dr. Zhang was a venture partner at Velocity Pharmaceutical Development, where he played an integral role in the launching and building of several project focused companies, including Menlo Therapeutics, Corsair and Spitfire. In 2010, he cofounded Theron Pharmaceuticals, a clinical stage company developing a best-in-class bronchodilator for the treatment of COPD and uncontrolled asthma.

Before Theron, Dr. Zhang was the Senior Director of Chemistry at CoMentis Inc. where he spearheaded cognition research effort targeting Alzheimer’s disease and cognitive deficit associated with schizophrenia. Previously, Dr. Zhang also served as Director of Medicinal Chemistry at Millennium Pharmaceuticals, Portola Pharmaceuticals and ARYx, where he successfully led the discovery and preclinical development of a number of new molecular entities, notably elinogrel and tecarfarin. Earlier in his career, Dr. Zhang was a research scientist and program leader at Roche.

Dr. Zhang received a Ph.D. from the University of Maryland, College Park, in the field of synthetic organic chemistry and pursued postdoctoral research at the University of California, Berkeley.