Scientific Advisory Board
Robert Weinberg, Ph.D., Chairman Scientific Advisory Board
Dr. Weinberg is a founding member of the Whitehead Institute for Biomedical Research and the Daniel K. Ludwig Professor for Cancer Research in the Department of Biology at MIT. Dr. Weinberg is the internationally recognized authority on the genetic basis of human cancer development. Dr. Weinberg is the author or editor of five books and more than 350 articles. Three of the books are intended for a lay audience; “One Renegade Cell,” “Racing to the Beginning of the Road: The Search for the Origin of Cancer” and “Genes and the Biology of Cancer” are co-authored with Dr. Harold E. Varmus, former Director of the National Institutes of Health. More recently, Dr. Weinberg has published a textbook “The Biology of Cancer,” which is intended for doctoral students learning about this disease. Dr. Weinberg is a member of the National Academy of Sciences, the Institute of Medicine and a Fellow of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences.
Greg I. Berk, M.D.
Dr. Berk was Chief Medical Officer of Verastem, prior to which, he was with Sideris Pharmaceuticals where he served as President, Chief Medical Officer, and a member of the Board of Directors since 2014. Prior to Sideris, Dr. Berk was Chief Medical Officer at BIND Therapeutics, Inc., where he led the clinical development of its oncology focused programs. Prior to BIND, he held senior clinical positions, including Chief Medical Officer, at a number of emerging biotechnology companies, including Intellikine LLC, and Abraxis Bioscience, Inc. for the development of Abraxane®. Dr. Berk is a board certified physician and obtained his medical degree from Case Western Reserve University, and completed his internship, residency, and fellowship in internal medicine, hematology, and medical oncology at the Weill Medical College of Cornell University and New York Presbyterian Hospital, where he also served as a faculty member from 1989–2004. During this time, Dr. Berk served as an investigator on several industry-sponsored and cooperative group clinical trials, including the pivotal trials for Gleevec® and Avastin®.
Ms. Cohen served as chief commercial officer of Medivation, Inc., a publicly-traded bio-pharmaceutical company, from September 2011 until July 2014. Ms. Cohen currently serves as president of CLC Consulting, a pharmaceutical and biotechnology consulting firm specializing in new product start-up and commercialization, where she also served as president from September 2008 until September 2011. From November 2007 to September 2008, she served as the vice president, strategic commercial group, of Health Care Systems, Inc., a Johnson & Johnson company, and from October 1998 to November 2007, she worked at Janssen Biotech, Inc. (formerly Centocor Biotech, Inc.), a Johnson & Johnson company, in a variety of senior level roles including vice president, rheumatology franchise. Ms. Cohen currently serves on the board of Vital Therapies, Inc since December 2015 and the board of Protein Sciences Corporation, a privately held bio-pharmaceutical company specializing in vaccine development, since October 2014. Ms. Cohen began her career at Solvay Pharmaceuticals in a variety of sales positions. Ms. Cohen received her B.A. from Saint Joseph College.
Paul Friedman, M.D.
Dr. Friedman was the Chief Executive Officer of Incyte Corporation from November 2001 until his retirement in January 2014 and oversaw the development and commercialization of Jakafi®. Dr. Friedman joined Incyte from DuPont Pharmaceuticals Research Laboratories where he served as President. Previously, he served as President of Research and Development of The DuPont Merck Pharmaceutical Company, and Senior Vice President at Merck Research Laboratories. During his career, Dr. Friedman was involved in the discovery and/or development of a number of successful pharmaceutical products, including Jakafi®, Aggrastat®, Trusopt®, Crixivan®, Sustiva®, Pedvax®, Pneumovax®, Vaqta®, Varivax® Cozaar®/Hyzaar® and Fosamax®. Dr. Friedman earned his M.D. from Harvard Medical School where he subsequently became an Associate Professor of Medicine and Pharmacology and was a practicing physician at New York-Presbyterian Hospital, College of Physicians and Surgeons. Dr. Friedman serves on the Board of Directors at Incyte, Synta Pharmaceuticals Corp., Durata Therapeutics, Inc., Auxilium, Inc., Cerulean Pharma, Inc. and Gliknik, Inc. Dr. Friedman currently serves as a diplomat of the American Board of Internal Medicine and a Member of the American Society of Clinical Investigation. He has authored or co-authored over 100 scientific publications.
Lori Kunkel, M.D.
Dr. Kunkel has more than two decades of experience in oncology and immunology drug development and commercialization. Dr. Kunkel presently serves on the Board of Directors of Loxo Oncology, where she was previously the acting Chief Medical Officer. Prior to Loxo, she served as Chief Medical Officer at Pharmacyclics (acquired by AbbVie) and Proteolix, Inc. (acquired by Onyx Pharmaceuticals), where she contributed to the global approvals of cancer therapeutics IMBRUVICA® and Kyprolis®, respectively. Prior to that, she served as Vice President of Clinical Development at Xencor, Inc. Before these executive leadership positions, Dr. Kunkel was a clinical scientist at Genentech where she worked on the development of RITUXAN®. Additionally, as a clinical drug development specialist, she has advised multiple clients including Chiron (acquired by Novartis), Genentech/Roche, Salmedics (acquired by Celgene), Stemcentrx, Inc. and Amphivena Therapeutics, and she serves on the Board of Directors of Curis, Inc., Tocagen and Maverick Therapeutics. Prior to joining the biotechnology industry, Dr. Kunkel spent ten years in academic medicine and served as a faculty member at the Bone Marrow Transplant Unit in the Division of Hematology/Oncology at University of California, Los Angeles. Dr. Kunkel obtained a medical degree from University of Southern California and a bachelor’s degree in biology from University of California, San Diego. She is board certified in internal medicine and held board certifications in hematology and oncology.
Edmund J. Pezalla, M.D., Ph.D.
Dr. Pezalla is active as a payer expert on a number of policy working groups including the New Drug Development Paradigm Project at MIT. He is the former Vice President for Pharmaceutical Policy and Strategy in the Office of the Chief Medical Officer at Aetna. In this position Dr. Pezalla developed and coordinated strategy for pharmaceutical evaluation and coverage across both the medical and pharmacy benefit, created Aetna’s framework for innovative contracts, and developed Aetna’s public policy positions on drug and device coverage. Dr. Pezalla is a member of the Board of Directors of the Pharmacy Quality Alliance and the Connecticut Biosciences Innovation Fund. He is also a member of the Business Advisory Board of Naia Pharmaceuticals and the Scientific Advisory Board of Temple Therapeutics. He was recently named a Scholar-in-Residence at the Duke-Margolis Health Policy Center in Washington, DC where he is working on policy approaches to stimulating the development of new antimicrobials, evaluation of value frameworks, and other policy projects. Dr. Pezalla received his BS in Biophysics from Georgetown University College of Arts and Sciences, and his MD Cum Laude from Georgetown University School of Medicine. He holds a Masters in Public Health from the University of California at Berkeley and was a health services research fellow and doctoral student in health policy at the University of Michigan.
Steve Sherwin, M.D.
Dr. Sherwin is a Clinical Professor of Medicine at the University of California, San Francisco, and a volunteer Attending Physician in the Hematology/Oncology Division of San Francisco General Hospital. Dr. Sherwin is a director of Biogen Idec, Neurocrine Biosciences, Rigel Pharmaceuticals and Vical. He is also a member of the Board and Chairman Emeritus of the Biotechnology Industry Organization and has recently served on the President’s Council of Advisors for Science and Technology (PCAST) Working Group on Advancing Innovation in Drug Development and Evaluation. Previously Dr. Sherwin cofounded and served as Chairman of Ceregene until its acquisition by Sangamo Biosciences, Chairman and Chief Executive Officer of Cell Genesys until its merger with BioSante, co-founder and Chairman of Abgenix until its acquisition by Amgen, Vice President of Clinical Research at Genentech and on the staff of the National Cancer Institute. Dr. Sherwin holds a B.A. in biology from Yale University and an M.D. from Harvard Medical School, and is board-certified in internal medicine and medical oncology. He is a fellow of the American College of Physicians and a member of the American Society of Clinical Oncology and the American Association for Cancer Research.
Max Wicha, M.D.
Dr. Max Wicha received his medical degree from Stanford University and trained in internal medicine at the University of Chicago. He then went on to the National Cancer Institute, where he trained in clinical oncology and cancer biology. Dr. Wicha joined the faculty of the University of Michigan in 1980 and served as chief in the Division of Hematology/Oncology in the Department of Internal Medicine, from 1984 to 1993. He has been the director of the U-M Comprehensive Cancer Center since its inception in 1986. Dr. Wicha is an active clinician, specializing in the treatment of breast cancer patients, and is nationally known for his research in the field of breast oncology, particularly the study of how breast cancer cells grow and metastasize.