Robert Forrester, LL.B., President/Chief Executive Officer
Mr. Forrester has 17 years of experience as the CEO, COO or CFO of both private and public life science companies with Verastem Oncology™, Forma Therapeutics, CombinatoRx (NASDAQ: CRXX, now ZLCS) and Coley (NASDAQ: COLY, acquired by Pfizer). Robert was a managing director of the Proprietary Investment Group at MeesPierson, part of the Fortis Group, investing in life science companies. Prior to MeesPierson, Robert worked for the investment banks BZW (now Barclays Capital) and UBS, in the corporate finance groups undertaking M&A, and public and private finance transactions. Robert started his career as lawyer with Clifford Chance in London and Singapore. Robert has completed over $12 billion of transactions and holds a LL.B. from Bristol University.
Dan Paterson, Chief Operating Officer
Mr. Paterson has over 25 years of experience in management roles at healthcare and biotechnology companies, including as CBO, COO and CEO, with specific expertise in oncology drug and diagnostic product development, business development and launch planning. Prior to his current role, he served as CBO of Verastem Oncology. 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 B.A. in Biology from Boston University, and attended the Northeastern University Graduate Pharmacology program.
Joseph Lobacki, Chief Commercial Officer
Mr. Lobacki most recently served as the Chief Operating Officer of Finch Therapeutics Group and previously as the Chief Commercial Officer and Executive Council Member of Medivation, where he was responsible for the strategy and execution of commercial operations including Xtandi, a treatment for advanced prostate cancer. During Mr. Lobacki’s leadership as Chief Commercial Officer, Medivation saw year-over-year revenue growth for Xtandi. Previously, Mr. Lobacki was Senior Vice President and Chief Commercial Officer of Micromet Inc., where he oversaw commercial activities including medical affairs and strategic marketing. Prior to joining Micromet, Mr. Lobacki was Senior Vice President and General Manager at Genzyme Corporation, where he managed the launch of Mozobil and Clolar/Evoltra in the US and EU. Mr. Lobacki holds a Bachelor of Science in Biology from Boston College and a Bachelor of Science in Pharmacy from the Massachusetts College of Pharmacy in Boston.
Rob Gagnon, Chief Financial Officer
Mr. Gagnon joined Verastem Oncology as Chief Financial Officer in August 2018. Mr. Gagnon brings a tremendous amount of financial and commercial experience heading global finance operations. Most recently, Mr. Gagnon was Chief Financial Officer at Harvard Bioscience, Inc., a global developer, manufacturer, and marketer of a broad range of tools to advance life science research and regenerative medicine. Prior to this, he served as Executive Vice President, Chief Financial Officer and Treasurer at Clean Harbors, Inc. as well as Chief Accounting Officer and Controller at Biogen Idec, Inc. Earlier, he worked in a variety of senior positions at Deloitte & Touche, LLP, and Price Waterhouse Coopers, LLP. He holds an M.B.A. from the MIT Sloan School of Management and a Bachelor of Arts degree in accounting from Bentley College.
Steven Bloom, Chief Strategy Officer
Mr. Bloom joined Verastem Oncology in March 2014 and serves as Chief Strategy Officer. His responsibilities include oversight of key functional areas including Corporate and Business Planning and Development, Public Policy and Government Affairs, Patient Advocacy and Corporate Communications. Prior to joining the company, Mr. Bloom was Senior Vice President at Ziopharm Oncology where for 6 years he led business development and the commercial planning initiatives for a late stage oncology asset. Before joining Ziopharm, Mr. Bloom was Vice President for the health informatics company Pharmetrics and was part of the leadership team that sold the company to IMS Health in 2005. After leaving Eli Lilly in 2002, he joined the health technology company Inflexxion and built a commercial infrastructure for the start-up organization. Mr. Bloom spent the first 19 years of his career at Eli Lilly and Company in leadership roles in marketing, sales and corporate affairs.
Mr. Bloom is a graduate of The College of Pharmacy at Northeastern University and is currently an Adjunct Faculty member at the University of Rhode Island College of Pharmacy.
Diep Le, M.D., Ph.D., Chief Medical Officer
A trained medical oncologist, Dr. Le is board certified in internal medicine and has 15 years of drug development experience across all phases in both solid and hematologic malignancies as well as IND and NDA submissions. Dr. Le joins Verastem Oncology from MedImmune (a subsidiary of AstraZeneca) where she served as Vice President, Immuno-Oncology Innovative Medicines and led the product development teams for multiple high-priority immuno-oncology assets. Prior to joining MedImmune, Dr. Le held roles of increasing responsibilities at Novartis and at GlaxoSmithKline where she led the MEK inhibitor, trametinib (Mekinist™), from the first-in-human studies to FDA approval. Dr. Le received a Bachelor in Science degree from the California Institute of Technology, and earned both MD and PhD degrees from Stanford University School of Medicine. Dr. Le will oversee the development strategy and activities for Verastem Oncology’s duvelisib and defactinib.
Jonathan Pachter, Ph.D., Chief Scientific Officer
Dr. Pachter brings over 25 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 Ph.D. from Baylor College of Medicine.
Jessica Christo, Senior Vice President, Development Operations
Ms. Christo has 25 years of drug development experience in the biotechnology and pharmaceutical industries and joins us most recently from X4 Pharmaceuticals. At X4 she served as Vice President of Clinical Strategy/Operations where she was responsible for clinical strategy and execution of the oncology and rare disease programs. Previously, Ms. Christo was Vice President, Corporate Planning and Operations at Verastem where she led program strategy and execution of all oncology drug development programs. Other professional roles include clinical leadership and program management positions at Fresenius Biotech GmbH, TARIS Biomedical and Millennium Pharmaceuticals. During her career Ms. Christo has contributed to the development and approval of several drugs including VELCADE®, Grafalon® and Entyvio®. Ms. Christo holds a Master’s degree from Texas Tech University and a Bachelor of Science from the University of New Mexico.
Nadeem Mirza, MD, MPH, Senior Vice President, Corporate Medical Affairs
Nadeem Mirza, MD, MPH is a physician scientist with over 25 years of experience in hematologic malignancies, bone marrow transplantation and solid tumors, including 12 years of clinical research at MD Anderson Cancer Center and 13 years of clinical development and medical affairs in pharmaceutical industry. Prior to joining Verastem Oncology, Dr. Mirza served as Global Head Hematology, Global Medical Affairs at Abbvie Oncology where he oversaw the global medical affairs initiative for the launch of the first-in-class BCL-2 inhibitor venetoclax for the treatment of chronic lymphocytic leukemia. Prior to Abbvie, Dr. Mirza as Vice President, Head of Oncology, North America Medical Affairs at Sanofi Oncology where he was responsible for implementation of medical affairs programs to support 12 products across several oncology indications, including hematologic malignancies, solid tumors and solid organ transplantation in the U.S. and Canada. From 2010 to 2013, he also held roles of increasing responsibility at Genzyme/Sanofi which culminated in his role as Senior Medical Director, Global Medical Affairs where he served as Medical Lead and Chair of the Global Concept Review Committee for the JAK2 inhibitor fedratinib and the Erb B3 antibody seribantumab. Prior to that, Dr. Mirza held medical affairs leadership roles at Onyx Pharmaceuticals, Abraxis Oncology and Berlex Oncology. From 1992-2004, he conducted clinical research at MD Anderson Cancer Center. Dr. Mirza earned his medical degree from the University of Punjab (Lahore, Pakistan) and a Master of Public Health from the University of Texas, Houston, Texas.
Hagop Youssoufian, MSc, M.D., Head of Hematology and Oncology Development
Prior to joining Verastem Oncology, Dr. Youssoufian served most recently 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. During 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.
Cathy Carew, Chief People and Organizational Strategy Officer
Ms. Carew has nearly 20 years of management and consulting experience in the biopharma industry, including her role at Ironwood Pharmaceuticals, where she assisted in the transition from development stage to commercial stage during a high growth period for the company. 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 Aquinnah Pharma, Dicerna Pharmaceuticals, Flex Pharma and OvaScience.
Earlier in her career, Ms. Carew spent more than seven years on the founding leadership team at ActivBiotics, a privately held, clinical stage company with a Phase 3 trial to evaluate rifalazil for the treatment of patients with intermittent claudication resulting from Peripheral Arterial Disease. At the same time, Ms. Carew also served as part-time Senior Director, Human Resources at Dynogen Pharmaceuticals. She has also held human resources roles at Tufts Health Plan, including spearheading a large-scale national ramp-up for its workers compensation spinoff, ManagedComp. Ms. Carew holds a B.A. in English from Union College.
Dinesh Purandare, Senior Vice President, Commercial
Dinesh Purandare joined Verastem Oncology as Senior Vice President and Head of Commercial in May 2018. Mr. Purandare is an experienced and respected leader in the industry, with deep knowledge of commercialization, market access in various global markets, and development. Over his career, he has built and led teams to many successful launches and commercialization in multiple tumor types. Most recently, Mr. Purandare was SVP and Head of Global Oncology and member of the Corporate Executive team at Radius Health. Prior to Radius, Mr. Purandare was Vice President and Project Head for Sanofi Oncology and based in Boston after leading the global Oncology Marketing for Sanofi. Oncology. Before Sanofi, Mr. Purandare served as VP and Head of Oncology Center of Excellence at GSK Headquarters in the UK and held other senior positions at Pharmacia /Pfizer and Farmitalia Carlo Erba (Milan, Italy).
Mr. Purandare pursued his studies in Business Management at the University of Bombay where he also received a degree in Organic Chemistry. Dinesh also received a Diploma in Advanced Marketing Management from the Chartered Institute of Marketing, UK.
Sean Flynn, Vice President and General Counsel
Mr. Flynn possesses a unique legal background and has served as corporate and litigation counsel for nearly 20 years, in both the public and private sectors. Prior to joining Verastem Oncology, Mr. Flynn held the position of Associate General Counsel and Chief Compliance Officer for ABIOMED, Inc. during a period of exponential revenue and market growth. In that capacity, Mr. Flynn was responsible for business and legal matters touching every corner of the organization, as well as for the compliance readiness of the company on a global scale. Prior to joining ABIOMED, Sean served for seven years as a federal prosecutor with both the United States Attorney’s Offices for the Eastern District of California and the Eastern District of New York. As an Assistant United States Attorney, Mr. Flynn was lead investigator and prosecutor on a wide assortment of fraud and corruption-related matters, and held a variety of supervisory positions, to include Health Care Fraud Coordinator. Mr. Flynn began his legal career as a litigator with Bingham McCutchen LLP, after clerking for the Honorable Ruggero J. Aldisert, Senior Circuit Judge, United States Court of Appeals for the Third Circuit.
Prior to beginning his legal career, Mr. Flynn served as an air defense artillery officer for the United States Army, having graduated from the United States Military Academy at West Point in 1995.