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FogPharma Strengthens New Modality Drug Hunting Team with Appointment of Howard Stern as Chief Scientific Officer and Peter Fekkes as Vice President of Discovery Bioscience
BOSTON, May 6, 2019 /PRNewswire/ -- FogPharma today announced the appointment of Howard Stern, M.D., Ph.D., as Chief Scientific Officer. Dr. Stern brings over 15 years of experience as an accomplished scientific leader working at the interface of research and clinical development within the biotechnology industry. In addition, FogPharma also announced the appointment of Peter Fekkes, Ph.D., as Vice President of Discovery Bioscience.
"Howard brings a penetrating, adventurous intellect and exceptional knowledge in drug discovery across multiple modalities and disease areas, plus outstanding expertise in translational science and experimental medicine. His insights and leadership will be critical as we drive a succession of innovative, first-in-class drugs to the clinic, targeting proteins that have never been drugged before," said Dr. Gregory Verdine, Chairman, President and CEO, FogPharma. "Peter brings tremendous depth and breadth of skill in progressing targets to clinical candidates, and he will serve a crucial role in our R&D organization, as we write the playbook for efficient discovery of cell-penetrating miniprotein medicines. The addition of Howard and Peter to our team represents a quantum leap forward for FogPharma as a mature, powerful and effective new modality drug discovery organization."
"I'm pleased to join the FogPharma team at a time when pioneering new discovery and development approaches are increasingly important to combat intracellular disease drivers," said Dr. Stern. "I look forward to applying my oncology and immunotherapy expertise to exploit the promise of cell-penetrating miniproteins that have the potential to drug the undruggable."
Dr. Fekkes added, "It is an exciting time to join FogPharma where the applicability of my experience in developing and implementing strategies to identify potent, selective and effective modulators against a broad range of targets will be imperative."
Prior to joining FogPharma, Dr. Stern was Vice President of Translational Sciences at Juno Therapeutics where he managed teams responsible for correlative studies and pharmacology of CAR-T cell candidates such as liso-cel and JCARH125. Before turning to engineered cellular therapy, Dr. Stern was Head of Translational Science at Infinity Pharmaceuticals where he directed biomarker teams for multiple small molecule drugs including the immunotherapy candidate IPI-549 and the FDA-approved drug duvelisib. Dr. Stern started his career as a scientist/pathologist at Genentech where he developed biomarker assays for programs targeting the ERBB family, PI3K pathway, and extrinsic apoptotic pathway. He also conducted preclinical research on trastuzumab resistance and genomic alterations in cancer. He has published over 50 articles and contributed to drug development programs across varied therapeutic modalities including small molecules, antibodies, and engineered cellular therapies. Dr. Stern earned an M.D. and a Ph.D. in Biochemistry from the University of Washington and a B.A. in Chemistry from Pomona College. As part of his post-doctoral training, Dr. Stern completed a residency in Anatomic Pathology at Brigham and Women's Hospital, Boston, MA, and a post-doctoral research fellowship in the laboratory of Leonard Zon at Harvard Medical School and Boston Children's Hospital.
Dr. Peter Fekkes is a seasoned drug hunter with 18 years of industry experience in company environments ranging from major global pharmaceuticals to well-established biotechs to start-ups. Prior to joining FogPharma, Dr. Fekkes held roles of increasing responsibility at Novartis and H3 Biomedicine. Most recently, he headed the New Target Platform at HotSpot Therapeutics, where he applied artificial intelligence approaches to the identification of targets with suitable pockets that are functionally involved in allosteric regulation. Dr. Fekkes also guided the drug discovery efforts on the early target portfolio. Before that, he successfully built the Biochemistry and Lead Discovery Group at H3 Biomedicine and supported the entry of molecules into the clinic for three different programs, all starting from a well-defined mode-of-action hypothesis. A signature accomplishment at H3 was the pivotal role he played in elucidating the mode of action of a novel spliceosome modulator now in Phase I clinical development. Dr. Fekkes earned a Ph.D. in Molecular Biology from the University of Groningen, The Netherlands, and completed a postdoctoral fellowship at the University of California, San Diego.
FogPharma was born from the scientific and entrepreneurial vision of founder Dr. Gregory Verdine, a pioneer in the discovery and development of new drug classes that "drug the undruggable." FogPharma's cell-penetrating miniproteins are a broad new class of medicines that can drug targets beyond the reach of conventional therapeutics. Together with world-leading experts and collaborators in translational medicine, the FogPharma team is building a drug discovery platform to develop fundamentally new treatments for cancer and other life-threatening diseases.
Co-founded in 2015 by serial life science entrepreneur, pioneering scientist and innovator, university educator, venture capitalist and successful biotech company-builder Dr. Verdine, FogPharma is headquartered in Cambridge, Mass. and has raised $77 million in funding as of May 2018. For more information on FogPharma please visit www.fogpharma.com.
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