Gastrointestinal drug development company Tranzyme Pharma (Nasdaq:TZYM) is searching for a chief medical officer to replace a departing executive.

After the close of the markets Tranzyme announced that Dr. Gordana Kosutic, Tranzyme’s vice president of clinical and regulatory affairs, is resigning effective Sept. 30 “to pursue another opportunity.” No other details on Kosutic’s new position were disclosed. According to a securities filing, Kosutic submitted her resignation notice on August 19. Kosutic has worked for Durham, N.C.-based Tranzyme since 2005.

Tranzyme said that it has started a search for a chief medical officer. Dr. M. Scott Harris, a consultant to the company since June 2010, will serve as interim chief medical officer until a permanent replacement is named. Harris is a board-certified gastroenterologist. His experience includes serving as chief medical officer for Ocera Therapeutics and Napo Pharmaceuticals. Harris is also a professor of clinical medicine and past director of the Center of Inflammatory Bowel Disease at Georgetown University Hospital. Tranzyme Medical Director Dr. Philippa Charlton will take over daily responsibilities for clinical operations.

Tranzyme’s lead drug candidate is ulimorelin, a compound being studied as a treatment for post-operative ilius, a condition in which the GI tract stops functioning normally following intestinal surgery. Ulimorelin is currently in phase 3 clinical trials, which the company expects to complete during the first half of 2012.

A second compound, TZP-102, is expected to start a phase 2b trial in the second half of this year. The Food and Drug Administration has granted Tranzyme fast-track status on the drug candidate, which is being studied to treat gastroparesis in diabetic patients.

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