Our Leadership

The Power of Teamwork

Our leaders come from almost every sector of the biopharmaceutical industry, with decades of experience in drug discovery, as well as drug development and commercialization. But, most importantly, they understand the collective power of a team that explores together, asks the tough questions together, and challenges the status quo together. Purposefully, we create powerful relationships within our team and with our partners that will deliver new and better therapeutic options for cancer patients—together.

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Brian Stuglik, RPh, Chief Executive Officer

Mr Stuglik was appointed Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of Verastem Oncology in July 2019. Mr Stuglik is a global leader in the oncology pharmaceutical sector, having successfully developed, acquired, and launched several important oncology products across multiple tumor types and therapeutic approaches in his more than 30-year career in US and international pharmaceutical development, product strategy, commercialization, and business development. He spent the majority of his career at Eli Lilly and Company, culminating in his role as Global Vice President and Chief Marketing Officer, Oncology Global Marketing, advancing Lilly Oncology from a single approved product to a portfolio of marketed or late-stage compounds across more than 10 cancer types. He was a founding member of Proventus Health Solutions, assisting biotech companies integrate development and commercial considerations into a unified approach. He is a member of the Board of Directors for Verastem Oncology (VSTM), Oncopeptides AB (ONCO), and Puma Biotechnologies, Inc (PBYI). Mr Stuglik earned his Bachelor of Science in pharmacy from Purdue University and holds memberships in the American Society of Clinical Oncology, the American Association for Cancer Research, and the International Association for the Study of Lung Cancer.

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Dan Paterson, President and Chief Operating Officer

Mr Paterson joined Verastem Oncology in 2011 and has served as its Chief Operating Officer since 2014. He has more than 30 years of experience at healthcare and biotechnology companies, including leadership roles as Chief Business Officer (CBO), Chief Operating Officer (COO) and Chief Executive Officer (CEO), with specific expertise in oncology drug and diagnostic product development, business development, and launch planning. Mr Paterson was the co-founder and COO of On-Q-ity, a developer of technology to capture and analyze circulating tumor cells, and the founding CEO of The DNA Repair Company (merged to form On-Q-ity), which developed oncology-focused molecular diagnostics. Prior to that, Mr Paterson was Head of Global Strategy for Specialty Market and Patient-Level Data at IMS Health, after playing a key role in the acquisition of PharMetrics by IMS Health as VP, Marketing and Corporate Development. While at PharMetrics, Mr Paterson led the development of an innovative suite of pharmaceutical product launch tools that became the basis of the company’s product line. Mr Paterson holds a BA in biology from Boston University, and attended the Northeastern University Graduate Pharmacology program.

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Cathy Carew, Chief Organizational Effectiveness Officer

Ms Carew has been with Verastem Oncology since 2012, bringing nearly 20 years of management and consulting experience in the biopharma industry, assisting companies in transition from research stage to development stage to commercial stage. Most recently, she served as the part-time Head of Human Resources at Verastem Oncology, while also consulting with other development and clinical stage therapeutic companies, including Dicerna Pharmaceuticals, Catamaran Bio, Aquinnah Pharma and OvaScience.

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Jonathan Pachter, PhD, Chief Scientific Officer

Dr Pachter brings over 30 years of experience in leading discovery and translational research for small molecule and monoclonal antibody anti-cancer therapeutics. He was previously Head of Cancer Biology at OSI Pharmaceuticals, where his team was responsible for development of models of tumor cell EMT (epithelial-mesenchymal transition) and discovery of drugs disrupting this process. At OSI, he advanced five small molecules into development for treatment of cancer, including OSI-906—a selective IGF-1R/insulin receptor kinase inhibitor which progressed to phase 3 clinical trials—and OSI-027, a selective mTOR kinase inhibitor. Prior to OSI, Dr Pachter held positions of increasing responsibility at Schering-Plough, where he progressed three agents into development including the monoclonal antibody robatumumab, which advanced to phase 2 clinical evaluation in cancer patients. Dr Pachter also made key contributions to the regulatory approval of temozolomide for treatment of glioblastoma. He is an author of over 50 peer-reviewed publications and inventor on numerous patents. Dr Pachter did his postdoctoral work in pharmacology at Yale University School of Medicine and he holds a PhD from Baylor College of Medicine.

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Louis Denis, MD, Chief Medical Officer

Dr Denis was appointed Chief Medical Officer in September 2021. Dr Denis is a medical oncologist and brings to Verastem more than 25 years of academic and industry experience in clinical cancer drug development. Prior to joining Verastem, Dr Denis was the Chief Medical Officer of Asana BioSciences where he provided strategic direction as well as medical and safety oversight to Asana’s portfolio of oncology and immunology assets. Previously, Dr Denis held various leadership roles in Oncology clinical development and medical affairs at Boehringer Ingelheim and Pfizer. Dr Denis received his MD from Vrije Universiteit Brussel Medical School, Belgium, and did his post-doctoral fellowships in Internal Medicine/Medical Oncology at Middelheim Hospital, Antwerp; the Rotterdam Cancer Institute, The Netherlands; and the Institute for Drug Development, Cancer Therapy and Research Center, San Antonio, Texas.

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Hagop Youssoufian, MSc, MD, Head of Medical Strategy

Dr Youssoufian served as Chief Medical Officer at BIND Therapeutics. Prior to BIND, he was Executive Vice President at Progenics Pharmaceuticals and President, Research & Development and Chief Medical Officer at Ziopharm Oncology. Before joining Ziopharm, Dr Youssoufian served as Chief Medical Officer and Senior Vice President, Global Clinical Sciences at Imclone Systems. Prior to Imclone, he served in leadership positions at Sanofi Aventis and Bristol-Myers Squibb. Earlier in his career in industry, Dr Youssoufian was involved in the development and approval of several oncology treatments, including Sprycel®, Taxotere®, and Erbitux®. Dr Youssoufian graduated from Boston College (BS, magna cum laude) and the University of Massachusetts Medical School (MSc, MD). After training in Internal Medicine at Cleveland Clinic and Johns Hopkins, he completed fellowships in Clinical Genetics at Johns Hopkins and in Hematology-Oncology at Massachusetts General Hospital, and was a Visiting Scientist at Whitehead Institute, MIT. He then served on the faculties of Harvard Medical School as Assistant Professor of Medicine and at Baylor College of Medicine as Associate Professor and Division Chief of Medical Genetics.

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Michael Kauffman

Michael Kauffman, MD, PhD, Lead Director

Dr Michael Kauffman was the cofounding CEO of Karyopharm Therapeutics and is currently Senior Clinical Advisor and a member of the Board of Directors of the Company. Previously, he was the Chief Medical Officer of Onyx Pharmaceuticals Inc, where he was a key leader in the development of Kyprolis® (carfilzomib), a novel proteasome inhibitor approved in refractory myeloma. Dr Kauffman was Chairman of Proteolix (now Onyx) prior to becoming CMO, and is past President and Chief Executive Officer of EPIX Pharmaceuticals, Inc (previously Predix Pharmaceuticals, Inc). He played a key role in the Velcade® Development Program at Millennium Pharmaceuticals, and held a number of senior positions at Millennium Predictive Medicine and Biogen. Dr Kauffman received his MD and PhD from Johns Hopkins Medical School and is board certified in internal medicine.

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Paul Bunn, MD

Dr Bunn is a Distinguished Professor of Medicine and James Dudley Chair in Cancer Research, Division of Medical Oncology at the University of Colorado School of Medicine. Dr Bunn previously served as section head of the US National Cancer Institute (NCI)-Navy Medical Oncology branch, Head of the Division of Medical Oncology at the University of Colorado and Director of the University of Colorado Cancer Center. Dr Bunn was President of the American Society of Clinical Oncology (ASCO), as well as on its Board of Directors. He was also President of the American Association of Cancer Institutes (AACI) and has chaired the US Food and Drug Administration’s Oncologic Drugs Advisory Committee. Dr Bunn served on the Board of Directors, as president and as CEO, of the International Association for the Study of Lung Cancer (IASLC), growing the IASLC to become a highly impactful, multidisciplinary organization that includes researchers and clinicians from all over the world. Dr Bunn was also the Principal Investigator on the Specialized Program in Research Excellence in Lung Cancer (SPORE) grant funded by NCI to expand understanding about the biology of the disease, as well as to find new methods of diagnosis, prevention, and treatment. The author of hundreds of articles, reviews and book chapters, Dr Bunn’s work is credited with setting standards in the treatment of the disease.

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Anil Kapur

Mr. Kapur is a deeply experienced executive with over 25 years of experience in pharmaceutical and biotech companies across both US and international markets. He has held senior leadership positions where he has been responsible for the launches of significant global brands, building, and managing commercial capabilities in both small and large organizations, driving corporate strategy and managing alliances. He is currently the Executive Vice President, Corporate Strategy and Chief Commercial Officer at Geron Corporation. Prior to Geron, Mr. Kapur served as the Chief Commercial Officer at Actinium Pharmaceuticals, Inc. and as the Vice President, Head of Early Assets, Biomarkers and External Innovation for Worldwide Oncology Commercialization at Bristol-Myers Squibb Company. Previously, Mr. Kapur was Vice President, Global Head of Commercial and Portfolio Strategy at Baxalta, Incorporated, which was acquired by Shire PLC in 2016. Before joining Baxalta, Mr. Kapur served as the Vice President, Commercial Leader Hematology Franchise at Johnson & Johnson’s global pharmaceutical strategy organization and in various sales and marketing leadership roles. Mr. Kapur holds a BE from Birla Institute of Technology in India, an MS in Industrial Engineering from Louisiana Tech University, and an MBA from the Fuqua School of Business at Duke University.

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John Johnson

Mr Johnson is a recognized leader in the pharmaceutical and biotechnology industry, with more than three decades of experience, currently serving as Chief Executive Officer and Board Director of Reaction Biology. He served as the Company Group Chairman of Biopharmaceuticals within Johnson & Johnson, responsible for the Biotechnology, Immunology, and Oncology commercial businesses. Previously, Mr Johnson served as president of Eli Lilly & Company’s Worldwide Oncology Unit, following the company’s 2008 acquisition of ImClone Systems, Inc, where he served as Chief Executive Officer and a member of ImClone’s Board of Directors. He has served as a member of the Board of Directors of Pharmaceutical Research and Manufacturers of America (PhRMA) and as a member of the Health Section Governing Board of biotechnology Industry Organization (BIO). Mr Johnson also served as Chairman, President, and Chief Executive Officer of Dendreon Corporation, and has held other executive roles within the biotech industry. Currently, he is a member of the Board of Directors of Xeris Biopharma Holdings, Inc (XERS), Autolus Therapeutics plc (AUTL),  and Axogen, Inc (AXGN).

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Michelle Robertson

Michelle Robertson

Michelle Robertson is the Chief Financial Officer at Editas Medicine. Prior to that, she served as Chief Financial Officer of Momenta Pharmaceuticals, Inc. prior to its acquisition by Johnson & Johnson in 2020. She joined Momenta as Vice President, Financial Planning and Analysis. Previously, she served as Vice President, Oncology Finance for Baxalta, Inc., which was acquired by Shire PLC in 2016, following its spin-out from Baxter International in July 2015. She also served as head of Financial Planning and Analysis and Operations at Ironwood Pharmaceuticals and has held various leadership positions in the Oncology and Biosurgery divisions with Finance and Commercial Operations at Genzyme, focusing on financial analysis for business development, acquisition integrations and divestitures. Ms. Robertson received her BS in Finance from Bentley University.

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Eric Rowinsky

Eric Rowinsky, MD

Dr Rowinsky’s professional focus has been on the clinical and registrational strategies of anticancer therapeutics. Currently, Dr Rowinsky serves as an Executive Director and President at RGenix, Inc, a life sciences company focused on discovering new cancer targets using a novel microRNA platform licensed. He is also Chief Medical Officer for Hummingbird Biosciences, which has a novel platform for the unique epitope targeting of monoclonal antibodies, and also served as the Chief Scientific Officer of Clearpath Development Co, which rapidly advanced development-stage therapeutic assets to pre-defined human proof-of-concept milestones. Prior to serving in these capacities, he was the Head of Research and Development, Chief Medical Officer, and Executive Vice President of Stemline Therapeutics (2010-2015). In 2010, Dr Rowinsky co-founded Primrose Therapeutics and became its Chief Executive Officer until it was acquired in 2011. From 2005 to 2010, he served as the Chief Medical Officer and Executive Vice President of Clinical Development and Regulatory Affairs of ImClone Systems Incorporated, a life sciences company focused on monoclonal antibodies, which was acquired by Eli Lilly. Previous to that, Dr Rowinsky held several positions at the Cancer Therapy and Research Center’s Institute of Drug Development, including Director of the Institute and SBC Endowed Chair for Early Drug Development. Prior to that, he served as Clinical Professor of Medicine in the Division of Medical Oncology at the University of Texas Health Science Center at San Antonio and as Associate Professor of Oncology at the Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine. Dr Rowinsky is a member of the Board of Directors of Biogen, Purple Biotech, and Fortress Biosciences, all public life sciences companies, and has served on the Board of Directors of BIND Therapeutics, a life sciences company acquired by Pfizer, and Navidea Biopharmaceuticals, Inc. He played an integral role in the development and execution of clinical development and registrational strategies resulting in the approval of a wide array of classical cytotoxics, monoclonal antibodies, and targeted therapeutics worldwide. He has authored more than 310 peer-reviewed manuscripts, and serves as an editor of several cancer journals.

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Lesley Solomon

Lesley Solomon

Ms Solomon currently serves as Venture Chair at Redesign Health, a company that builds and funds transformative healthcare businesses. Prior to that role, she was Chief Innovation Officer at Dana-Farber Cancer Institute (DFCI) where she led a team focused on commercializing DFCI’s science and technology, working with industry, academic and investment partners to accelerate the pace of getting that work to patients. She previously served as the founding executive director of Brigham and Women’s Innovation Hub and was the director of Strategy and Innovation in the Brigham Research Institute. She is also the co-founder and board member of the Food Allergy Science Initiative (FASI), which works to bring research and science together to deliver breakthroughs in treatment and transform the lives of patients. As co-founder, she has helped grow FASI into a $30 million effort that recently spun out of the Broad Institute of MIT and Harvard.  In addition, Ms Solomon serves on the board of directors of Anomaly. Ms Solomon received her Master of Business Administration (MBA) from Harvard Business School and her Bachelor of Arts (BA) in English from Cornell University.

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Brian Stuglik, RPh, Chief Executive Officer

Mr Stuglik was appointed Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of Verastem Oncology in July 2019. Mr Stuglik is a global leader in the oncology pharmaceutical sector, having successfully developed, acquired, and launched several important oncology products across multiple tumor types and therapeutic approaches in his more than 30-year career in US and international pharmaceutical development, product strategy, commercialization, and business development. He spent the majority of his career at Eli Lilly and Company, culminating in his role as Global Vice President and Chief Marketing Officer, Oncology Global Marketing, advancing Lilly Oncology from a single approved product to a portfolio of marketed or late-stage compounds across more than 10 cancer types. He was a founding member of Proventus Health Solutions, assisting biotech companies integrate development and commercial considerations into a unified approach. He is a member of the Board of Directors for Verastem Oncology (VSTM), Oncopeptides AB (ONCO), and Puma Biotechnologies, Inc (PBYI). Mr Stuglik earned his Bachelor of Science in pharmacy from Purdue University and holds memberships in the American Society of Clinical Oncology, the American Association for Cancer Research, and the International Association for the Study of Lung Cancer.

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Robert Weinberg, PhD

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 also a founder of Verastem Oncology. 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, the latter co-authored with Dr Harold E. Varmus, former Director of the National Institutes of Health. More recently, Dr Weinberg has published the 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 and the Institute of Medicine, and is a Fellow of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences.

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Mario Sznol, MD

Dr Sznol is Professor of Internal Medicine, Leader of the Melanoma/Renal Cancer Disease-Associated Translational Research Team, and Co-Leader of the Cancer Immunology Program. Dr Sznol is also the current President of the Society for Immunotherapy of Cancer (SITC). He has an international reputation in cancer drug development. Dr Sznol graduated from Rice University and Baylor College of Medicine (BCM) in Houston, Texas. He trained in internal medicine at BCM and completed a medical oncology fellowship in the Department of Neoplastic Diseases, Mount Sinai Hospital, New York. He spent the next twelve years in the Biologics Evaluation Section (BES), Investigational Drug Branch (IDB), Cancer Therapy Evaluation Program of the National Cancer Institute, and was Head of the BES from 1994-1999. He attended on the inpatient units of the Biological Response Modifiers Program, NCI, from 1988-1996 and the Immunotherapy Service of the Surgery Branch, NCI, from 1997-1999. From 1999-2004, he served as Vice President of Clinical Development and Executive Officer of Vion Pharmaceuticals in New Haven, Connecticut.

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Channing Der, PhD

Dr Der is Sarah Graham Kenan Distinguished Professor at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. Since his initial discovery of RAS oncogenes in human cancer, his research has centered on the study of RAS and RHO oncoproteins in cancer. His research has been funded by grants from the National Cancer Institute, Department of Defense, Lustgarten Foundation, and Pancreatic Cancer Action Network/AACR. He is a member of the NCI RAS Working Group and the Frederick National Laboratory Advisory Committee, and he served previously on the NCI Board of Scientific Counselors. He is currently a member of the Scientific and Medical Advisory Board of the Pancreatic Cancer Action Network and previously on the scientific advisory board of the Lustgarten Foundation. His honors include Fellow of the AAAS, the recipient of an NCI Outstanding Investigator Award, the Battle Distinguished Cancer Research Award, the Mentorship Award for Lifetime Achievement, the University of California, Irvine Distinguished Alumnus Award, and the Einstein BIH Visiting Fellow Award.

He received his PhD from the University of California, Irvine and completed his postdoctoral studies at Harvard Medical School and the Dana-Farber Cancer Institute.

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