NATICK, Mass., Feb. 5, 2013 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) -- Karyopharm Therapeutics Inc., a leader in the new field of nuclear transport modulators, announces that Ken Weg and Barry Greene have joined its Board of Directors. In addition, Founder and Chief Scientific Officer (CSO) Sharon Shacham, PhD, MBA, is named to the newly created position of President, Research & Development, as the Company prepares for the next phase of development of its novel oral selective inhibitors of nuclear export (SINEs) KPT-330 for human cancers and KPT-335 for canine lymphomas.
Ken Weg has over 33 years of pharmaceutical industry experience with Merck and Bristol-Myers Squibb (BMS) and will provide critical guidance in the areas of strategic planning, corporate and business development, product development, and commercial operations. Prior to his retirement, he was President, Worldwide Medicines Group, BMS, responsible for all ethical pharmaceuticals and over-the-counter medicines on a global basis. Mr. Weg was elected to the Board of Directors of BMS in May 1995 and as Vice Chairman in May 1999. He retired in February 2001 to become Founder and the Chairman of Clearview Projects, a strategic advisory group to the pharmaceutical, biotechnology and life science industries. Mr. Weg served on the Board of Directors of Fox Chase Cancer Center, and is currently a co-founder and director of Metamark Genetics and AVEO Pharmaceuticals, Inc. He was the non-executive Chairman of Millennium Pharmaceuticals, Inc. until the company was acquired by Takeda in 2008. In referring to Karyopharm, Mr. Weg commented, "It is rare to see a company create an entirely new class of drugs for the treatment of cancer and related diseases. We have a great many options ahead of us, and I am extremely pleased to be a part of such an exciting and novel endeavor."
Barry Greene is the President and Chief Operating Officer of Alnylam Pharmaceuticals Inc. (Nasdaq:ALNY), and brings over 20 years of strategic business and commercialization experience in healthcare, pharmaceutical, and biotechnology industries. Prior to Alnylam, Mr. Greene was General Manager of Oncology at Millennium Pharmaceuticals, Inc., where he led the company's global strategy and execution for its oncology business including strategic business direction and execution, culminating in the successful approval and launch of VELCADE® (bortezomib) in mid 2003. He was also Vice President of Marketing and Customer Services for AstraZeneca formerly AstraMerck; Vice President Strategic Integration with responsibility for the AstraZeneca North America post-merger integration. Mr. Greene commented, "I am very excited about joining the Board of Karyopharm, where I see a great deal of potential for a completely novel approach to the treatment of multiple cancers. The Karyopharm team has brought their own proprietary compounds from concept to clinic in an expeditious fashion, and I am looking forward to helping them move these exciting agents forward."
Sharon Shacham, PhD, MBA, Karyopharm's Founder and CSO, originally conceived of the novel SINEs for the treatment of cancer, inflammatory disorders, and other diseases. She has overseen all aspects of the discovery and development of the SINE compounds and has been appointed President of Research and Development. Dr. Shacham was formerly Senior Vice President of Drug Discovery at Epix Pharmaceuticals (EPIX), and her PhD thesis work on structure-based drug design of GPCRs formed the basis for the creation of Predix Pharmaceuticals, which later merged with EPIX. Dr. Shacham holds a PhD in biophysical chemistry / computational biophysics and an MBA from Tel Aviv University. She holds over 20 patents and has discovered multiple drugs that are in clinical trials.
Michael Kauffman, MD, PhD, Karyopharm's Chief Executive Officer, will also assume the role of Chief Medical Officer. Kauffman remarked, "As we plan our Phase 2/3 development of KPT-330, we are particularly excited about Ken and Barry joining the Board of Directors, and Sharon assuming broader leadership responsibilities. The breadth and experience of our team, which also includes Dr. Mansoor Raza, Chief Oncologist at Copenhagen's University Hospital, and Dr. Giulio Draetta, co-founder, chairman of Karyopharm's Scientific Advisory Board and Director of the Institute for Applied Cancer Science, MD Anderson Cancer Center, position us to plan and execute on the next phase in the development of SINEs for patients with different types of cancers. We look forward to adding these promising new agents forward in the fight against neoplastic and other diseases."
Karyopharm Therapeutics Inc. was founded by Drs. Sharon Shacham and Michael Kauffman in 2009 and has emerged as a leader in the new field of nuclear transport modulators. The company's selective inhibitors of nuclear export (SINE) function by trapping multiple tumor suppressor proteins in the nucleus, resulting in anti-cancer activity across multiple tumor types. In collaboration with many academic laboratories, SINEs, targeting the major nuclear exporter CRM1, exert robust anti-cancer activity in diverse preclinical models of cancer. The lead SINE KPT-330 is now in Phase 1 clinical studies for advanced solid tumor and hematologic malignancies. The related SINE KPT-335 is being evaluated as an oral treatment for dogs with Non-Hodgkin's Lymphoma, one of the most common canine cancers. The Company is also testing SINEs in autoimmune, viral and dermatologic disorders. Karyopharm Therapeutics is located in Natick, Massachusetts.
CONTACT: Dr. Michael Kauffman firstname.lastname@example.org