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Lance Berman, M.D. Joins Relypsa as Senior Vice President, Commercial Strategy & Medical Affairs

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Santa Clara, Ca, February 8, 2012 – Relypsa, Inc. today announced the hiring of Lance Berman, M.D. as its Senior Vice President of Commercial Strategy & Medical Affairs.  Dr. Berman will oversee all pre-launch planning and activities supporting the company’s commercialization strategy for RLY5016, a first-in-class compound in late-stage development for the chronic treatment of hyperkalemia.  Dr. Berman brings to Relypsa over 15 years of experience in the pharmaceutical industry, including responsibilities in medical affairs, clinical development and operations, business development and new product launch strategy. 

“Lance will play a key role in moving Relypsa and RLY5016 into the commercial realm, initially by spearheading our education efforts regarding the importance of maximal dosing of RAAS inhibitors in pre-dialysis patients,” stated Gerrit Klaerner, Ph.D., President of Relypsa.  “With Lance on board, we now have the full leadership team in place to take RLY5016 to the market.”

Most recently, Dr. Berman was Chief Medical Officer of CPEX Pharmaceuticals where he was responsible for the clinical development of the Company’s late stage clinical product as well as its in-licensing and acquisition strategies.  Previously, he was Senior Medical Director and Global Medical Team Leader at Pfizer, responsible for leading the Medical Affairs team supporting the strategic development and evolution of its worldwide diabetes portfolio. Previously at Pfizer, Dr. Berman led the medical team responsible for atherosclerosis and hypertension products, both marketed and under development. Earlier in his career, Dr. Berman held roles of increasing responsibility at Schering-Plough and Janssen Pharmaceuticals ​(Johnson & Johnson). Dr. Berman received his Bachelor of Medicine and Bachelor of Surgery at the University of Cape Town in Cape Town, South Africa, and holds a Masters Degree in Pharmaceutical Medicine.

Dr. Berman commented, “The chronic treatment of hyperkalemia with RLY5016 would address an important unmet medical need and could provide a very large potential commercial opportunity.  I am excited to be joining the Relypsa team and to be leading the planning and execution of the pre-launch commercial effort to maximize the potential of RLY5016.”

About RLY5016 and Hyperkalemia
Hyperkalemia is a condition frequently prevalent in patients that suffer from renal impairment, hypertension, diabetes and heart failure.  It is characterized by elevated serum potassium levels, which can lead to cardiac arrhythmia and sudden death.  Patients with chronic kidney disease are at particular risk for developing hyperkalemia, especially those treated with renin-angiotensin-aldosterone-system (RAAS) inhibitors.  Although RAAS inhibition has been shown to protect kidney and cardiac function, as well as prolong life, many patients who could benefit from RAAS inhibitors are untreated or undertreated due to the undesirable side effect of increasing serum potassium.

RLY5016 is a high capacity non-absorbed oral potassium binder being developed for the management of elevated serum potassium levels.  Relypsa has completed several clinical trials of RLY5016 that have demonstrated the preliminary efficacy, safety and tolerability of RLY5016 for the prevention of hyperkalemia.  A multi-center, open-label Phase 2b study of RLY5016 for the treatment of hyperkalemia in diabetic nephropathy patients with chronic kidney disease is ongoing.

About Relypsa, Inc.
Relypsa, Inc. is a clinical-stage biopharmaceutical company leading the discovery and development of novel non-absorbed polymeric drugs for important applications in cardiovascular and renal diseases.  Relypsa's lead product candidate is RLY5016, a non-absorbed potassium binder for the treatment of hyperkalemia. Relypsa is pursuing the discovery of additional product candidates through use of its proprietary polymer platform.  Privately-held, Relypsa’s investors include:  OrbiMed Advisors, 5AM Ventures, Delphi Ventures, New Leaf Venture Partners, Sprout Group, Amgen and Mediphase Venture Partners.  More information is available at www.relypsa.com.

CONTACT: Relypsa, Inc.
Jim Johnson, CFO, SVP
PR "at" relypsa.com