Investor Relations


  • Steve Basta

    Steve Basta

    Chief Executive Officer
    Prior to joining Menlo Therapeutics Inc., Mr. Basta served from 2011 to 2015 as CEO of AlterG, Inc. a privately held rehabilitation company which commercializes the AlterG Anti-Gravity Treadmill.

    From 2002 through 2011, Mr. Basta served as CEO of BioForm Medical, Inc. and its successor, Merz Aesthetics, Inc. Mr. Basta led BioForm’s growth from initial product launch to $80 million in annual revenues at the time of it’s 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 also served for two years as an associate with the investment banking firm, Dillon, Read & Co. Inc.  Mr. Basta received his MBA from the Kellogg Graduate School of Business at Northwestern University, and his bachelor’s degree in biomedical engineering from The Johns Hopkins University.
    • Kristine M. Ball

      Kristine M. Ball

      SVP of Corporate Strategy and Chief Financial Officer
      Kristine Ball joined Menlo Therapeutics in 2017 with approximately 25 years’ experience in the life-sciences industry. Most recently, Ms. Ball served as senior vice president and chief financial officer of Relypsa, Inc. 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. Ms. Ball also 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 and is a certified public accountant. She also serves on the Board of Directors of Forty Seven, Inc. and the National Kidney Foundation Northern California Chapter.
      • Paul Kwon, M.D.

        Paul Kwon, M.D.

        Chief Scientific Officer
        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.

        Prior to this position, he was product manager and later director of business development for iMedica Corp, a healthcare IT firm in Mountain View, CA. 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.
        • Mary C. Spellman, M.D.

          Mary C Spellman M.D.

          Chief Medical Officer
          Dr. Spellman is a board-certified dermatologist with proficiency in clinical development and pharmacovigilance. She has a long history of diverse roles in the biopharmaceutical industry supporting the development of topical, systemic, and biological therapeutics for dermatologic, immunologic, and oncologic indications from discovery to launch, including Phase IV and other commercial support.

          As an independent consultant since 2006, she has provided services as a medical and safety officer, and development and regulatory strategist, to multiple biopharmaceutical and device companies and has been instrumental in achieving US FDA and ex-US approvals for many medications, dermatological devices, and vaccines. She has also supported several clinical research organizations as a medical monitor, and in clinical data analysis and reporting. Prior to establishing her consulting practice, she was employed as Medical Officer for Revance Therapeutics; Senior Medical Director at Biogen Idec, Inc; Vice President of Clinical Research at Connetics Corporation; and Medical Director at Novartis Pharmaceuticals. She has managed teams in European countries and joint project management with European and Asian collaborators. She has strong communication skills with internal and external teams, including investors, medical audiences, and other development partners. Before joining the biopharmaceutical industry full time in 1997, Dr. Spellman sustained a clinical and teaching practice, directing the Residency Training Program, and was also the Director of the Clinical Research group in Dermatology at the University of California, San Diego.

          Dr. Spellman received her medical degree from the Medical College of Wisconsin, and completed her internship in Internal Medicine at Northwestern University McGaw Medical Center, and her residency in Dermatology at the Medical College of Wisconsin. She is a diplomate of the American Board of Dermatology and a fellow of the American Academy of Dermatology.
          • Karen

            Karen Smith

            Senior Vice President, Commercial Development

            Karen Smith joined Menlo in 2017.  Prior to joining the company, she 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®, both mega-brands today. 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 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.  She 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

              Danine Summers

              Senior Vice President of Medical Affairs
              Danine has 35 years of experience in the pharmaceutical industry, the last 20 years in dermatology specifically. She started her career in field sales with Merck Sharp & Dohme and then moved on to American Scientific Products and Roche Labs. While at Roche Danine completed her MBA and transitioned from sales to marketing. She has 18 years of experience in various areas of Marketing with FCB Healthcare (clients included Syntex, Gilead, Allergan and Neutrogena) and Connetics Pharmaceuticals where she built the marketing department and launched Luxiq, the first product launch for the company. Danine has spent the past 10 years in Medical Affairs and Professional Relations where she has successfully built and managed two Medical Affairs Departments. Further, she has led and/or participated in over 10 product launches.

              Danine loves animals and has 5 dogs and 6 horses on which she competes in jumping events. She is married to Gregg and they have one son, Sean.
              • Xiaoming Zhang, Ph.D.

                Xiaoming Zhang, Ph.D.

                Senior Vice President, Non-Clinical and CMC
                Xiaoming Zhang, Ph.D., has more than 20 years of experience in discovery and development of new molecular entities across multiple therapeutic areas. Prior to joining Menlo Therapeutics, he 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. He was previously the Senior Director of Chemistry at CoMentis Inc. In this capacity, 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 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. He is an inventor on 33 US patents.