The Company Appoints Jean-Michel Vernier, Ph.D., as Vice President of Chemistry and adds Val Harding, Ph.D., to the Board of Directors
The Company Also Announces its Executive Chairman and Co-Founder, Jonathan E. Lim, M.D., Has Transitioned into the Role of Chairman and Chief Executive Officer
SAN DIEGO, March 19, 2019 — Erasca, a company dedicated to advancing exceptional scientific approaches to erase cancer, today announced the expansion of its leadership team with the appointment of Jean-Michel Vernier, Ph.D., as vice president of chemistry and addition of Val Harding, Ph.D., to the board of directors. The company also announced its executive chairman and co-founder will take on the role of chief executive officer in addition to his continued role as chairman.
“We recognize that erasing cancer is an ambitious goal and to accomplish a mission this large, we must assemble the right group of individuals who not only have the experience, but are also passionate about the patient,” said Jonathan E. Lim, M.D., Erasca’s Chairman, CEO and co-founder. “Having worked closely with both Jean-Michel and Val previously at Ignyta, we know their respective expertise and track records of success will help us greatly.”
About Dr. Vernier
With more than 25 years of experience in drug discovery and development, Dr. Vernier will oversee Erasca’s chemistry department, leading a talented group of medicinal, computational, development and analytical scientists dedicated to discovering and advancing new medicines to treat patients with cancer.
Dr. Vernier joins Erasca from Ignyta, where he led the chemistry department managing all of Ignyta’s drug substance GMP production, as well as early stage internal drug discovery programs. During his time at Ignyta, Dr. Vernier accumulated strong knowledge in drug discovery, GMP production, IND and NDA filings. Before working at Ignyta, he held positions of increasing responsibilities at several companies, including Ardea Biosciences, Merck Research Laboratories and SIBIA neurosciences. Dr. Vernier has co-authored more than 30 peer-reviewed publications and is an inventor on more than 50 U.S. patents. He earned his Ph.D. in synthetic organic chemistry from the University Louis Pasteur, Strasbourg, France and was a postdoctoral fellow at Colorado State University.
About Dr. Harding
Bringing a proven track record of more than 30 years of experience in the leadership, design and development of a diverse range of drug products in human health, Dr. Harding will provide her expertise in delivering projects from early research through development, manufacture and registration to commercial launch at both biotech and large pharmaceutical companies.
Dr. Harding is Principal and Advisor at Start Pharma Consulting. Prior to joining the Erasca board of directors, she served as site head for Ignyta, leading the seamless transition of assets and operations, and accelerated simultaneous NDA, MAA and JNDA filings for entrectinib, the lead oncology asset, following the acquisition of Ignyta by Roche. Dr. Harding also served as senior vice president of chemistry, manufacturing and controls for Ignyta, providing strategic direction, tactical oversight and technical expertise in process chemistry, analytical development, formulation development, manufacturing and supply chain management. Prior to Ignyta, she served as vice president of product differentiation, pharmaceutical sciences for worldwide research and development at Pfizer. In this capacity, she developed and implemented cross-functional strategies for the design and progression of differentiated molecules and drug products. Dr. Harding led and implemented the adoption of design thinking, rapid innovation and prototyping best and next practices to address cross-disciplinary scientific and business challenges. She holds a bachelor of pharmacy from the University of London, UK, and received a Ph.D. in pharmaceutical microbiology from the University of Nottingham, UK.
At Erasca, our mission is embedded in our name: To erase cancer in patients by creating a new generation of oncology drugs intended to not just treat, but actually cure. We are advancing multiple programs targeting biological drivers of cancer by leveraging our proprietary artificial intelligence drug discovery platform called OPRA™ (Oncology Pattern Recognition Algorithm). OPRA uses advanced computational tools like machine learning to accelerate drug discovery by elucidating novel tumor biology and innovative strategies that shut down key cancer pathways, both with single agent and combination approaches, thereby accelerating the advancement of drug candidates into the clinic. We also are pursuing additional pipeline expansion opportunities through academic and biopharmaceutical collaborations. Founded in 2018 and headquartered in San Diego, Erasca has raised $64 million in series A financing from investors who share the company’s ambitious goal, including founding investors City Hill Ventures and Cormorant Asset Management, and other Series A investors ARCH Venture Partners and Andreessen Horowitz. For more information, please visit www.erasca.com.
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Heidi Chokeir, Ph.D.