A director since June 2011, Swisher succeeds B.J. Cassin, who previously gave notice of his intent to retire from the board effective Dec. 31 to devote more time to his family foundation.
Believing the blood safety specialist is well positioned because of its current efforts around the PMA submissions for plasma and platelets in the U.S., Swisher said, "Cerus has been committed to improving blood safety for over two decades, and I am excited to assume the role of Chair of the Board for the next phase of the company's progress in delivering on this commitment."
Swisher, age 50, has served as chief executive officer and board member of biotech Sunesis Pharmaceuticals since 2003, and as Sunesis' president since 2005. He joined Sunesis in 2001, previously serving as chief business officer and CFO. Before joining the biotech, he served in various management roles, including senior vice president of sales and marketing for ALZA from 1992 to 2001, and holds a B.A. from Yale University and an M.B.A. from the Stanford Graduate School of Business.
Cerus President and CEO William "Obi" Greenman thanked Cassin for his 21 years of service and said: "Under his leadership, Cerus has reached many important milestones, including our European launch and commercial growth, as well as the recent regulatory progress in the U.S. While we will miss B.J.'s contributions and steady perseverance, we feel privileged to have Dan lead the Board going forward."
Based in Concord, Calif., Cerus markets and sells its Intercept blood system for both platelets and plasma in Europe, the Commonwealth of Independent States, the Middle East, and selected countries in other regions around the world. In the U.S., Cerus is seeking regulatory approval of the system for plasma and platelets while it is in clinical development for red blood cells.