Robert has served as Erasca’s Vice President of Biology since helping launch the company in July 2018. He brings deep biology, bioinformatics and drug development experience to fuel the company’s mission of erasing cancer. Robert joined Erasca from Ignyta, where he worked since the company’s inception until its acquisition by Roche in 2018. At Ignyta, Robert led the computational biology group and contributed to the successful development of lead drug candidate entrectinib by developing a patient selection strategy, building the molecular diagnostic assays (Trailblaze Pharos) and modeling disease resistance. He also led biomarker development for other pre-clinical and clinical candidates, including RXDX-105. Using his bioinformatics expertise, Robert developed a novel prototype blood-based next generation sequencing (NGS) assay for detecting autoimmune diseases, including systemic lupus erythematosus (SLE), which is difficult to diagnose. He leveraged machine learning to identify a methylation signature across 25 out of 400,000 sites associated with SLE. Before working at Ignyta, Robert was a scientist at Illumina, where he helped develop new products and investigate product quality via NGS data analysis.
He earned his Ph.D. in Biochemistry at the University of California, San Diego with a research focus on epigenetics in human pluripotent stem cells.