About Verastem

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.

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Gregory 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®.

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George Daley, M.D., Ph.D.

Dr. Daley is the Samuel E. Lux IV Professor of Hematology/Oncology and the Director of the Stem Cell Transplantation Program at Children's Hospital, Professor of Biological Chemistry and Molecular Pharmacology at Harvard Medical School, investigator of the Howard Hughes Medical Institute, Associate Director of Children's Stem Cell Program and member of the Executive Committee of the Harvard Stem Cell Institute. He received a bachelor’s degree magna cum laude from Harvard University, a Ph.D. in biology from the MIT (1989), and an M.D. degree summa cum laude from Harvard Medical School (1991). Dr. Daley's laboratory studies stem cell development and differentiation, emphasizing derivation of functional hematopoietic and germ cell elements from ES cells, and the genetic mechanisms that predispose to malignancy. He has been elected a fellow of the American Association for the Advancement of Science and member of the American Society for Clinical Investigation. He has received research awards from Harvard Medical School, National Institutes of Health, New England Cancer Society, Burroughs Wellcome Fund, Edward Mallinckrodt, Jr. Foundation, and the Leukemia and Lymphoma Society of America. Dr. Daley received the inaugural NIH Directors Pioneer Award, a five-year unrestricted grant to pursue highly innovative research.

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Peter Elliott, Ph.D

Dr. Elliott was Senior Vice President, Head of Research and Development at Sirtris Pharmaceuticals (acquired by GlaxoSmithKline in 2008). Prior to joining Sirtris, Dr. Elliott was Executive Vice President of Product Development at CombinatoRx (now Zalicus). Dr. Elliott was Vice President of Pharmacology and Drug Development at Millennium Pharmaceuticals and co-developed VELCADE®. Prior to Millennium, Dr. Elliott spent four years at Alkermes and five years at Glaxo in the United Kingdom. Dr. Elliott holds a B.S. in Pharmacology from London University, an M.Phil. in Pharmacology from Cambridge University, and a Ph.D. in Psychopharmacology from Cambridge University.

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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.

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Eric Lander, Ph.D.

Dr. Lander is founding director of the Broad Institute and director of its Genome Biology Program. As one of the principal leaders of the Human Genome Project, Dr. Lander and colleagues are using these findings to explore the molecular mechanisms underlying the basis of human disease. A recipient of numerous honors and awards, Dr. Lander has been appointed by President Barack Obama to co-chair the President's Council of Advisors on Science and Technology. He is a professor of biology at MIT and professor of systems biology at Harvard Medical School. In 1990 he founded the Whitehead Institute/MIT Center for Genome Research. The Center became part of the newly founded Broad Institute in 2003. Dr. Lander earned his B.A. in mathematics from Princeton University in 1978 and his Ph.D. in mathematics from Oxford University in 1981 as a Rhodes Scholar. He was an assistant and associate professor of managerial economics at the Harvard Business School from 1981–1990.

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Edmund Pezalla, M.D., MPH

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.

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Richard Sackler, M.D.

Dr. Richard S. Sackler joined Purdue Pharmaceuticals in 1971 as Assistant to the President. In his 33-year tenure, he has held a series of positions of increasing responsibility, including direct management of both the Research and Development and the Sales and Marketing functions. Dr. Sackler was named President of Purdue Pharma in 1999 and Co-Chairman of the Board in March 2003. In addition, he has served as Adjunct Professor of Genetics at Rockefeller University since March 2003. Dr. Sackler received his AB degree from Columbia University and his MD degree from New York University School of Medicine. He also studied at Harvard University Business School’s Program for Management Development. He is licensed in to practice medicine in both New York and Connecticut. Currently Dr. Sackler is a Director of Purdue Pharma, LP, Mundipharma, and Napp Pharmaceuticals. He serves on the Yale Cancer Center Advisory Board, the Yale School of Medicine Dean's Council, the Advisory Council for the Department of Astrophysical Sciences at Princeton University, and the Board of Overseers for the Tufts University School of Medicine as well as the MIT Cancer Center Advisory Board. In the past, he was a Director of the AMA Foundation and was first president of the Israel Vocal Arts Institute. In 1989, Dr. Sackler received the Annie Blount Storrs Award from Calvary Hospital in New York City.

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Yossi Schlessinger, Ph.D.

Dr. Schlessinger is Chairman of the Department of Pharmacology and the William Prusoff Professor at Yale School of Medicine. From 1990 to 2001 he was chairman of the Department of Pharmacology and the Helen and Milton A. Kimmelman Professor at New York University Langone Medical Center. He was also director of the Skirball Institute of NYU from 1998 until 2001. Dr. Schessinger co-founded SUGEN (acquired by Pharmacia, now Pfizer), Plexxikon, and Kolton Pharmaceuticals. He is a member of the National Academy of Science and serves on the editorial boards of Cell, Molecular Cell, and the Journal of Cellular Biology in addition to many other journals. Dr. Schlessinger received a B.Sc. magna cum laude in chemistry and physics and a M.Sc. magna cum laude in chemistry from the Hebrew University in Jerusalem, Israel. He received a Ph.D. from the Department of Chemical Physics at the Weizmann Institute in Rehovot, Israel, in the field of biophysics.

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Phillip Sharp, Ph.D.

Dr. Sharp is currently an Institute Professor at the David H. Koch Institute for Integrative Cancer Research, MIT. He was the Founding Director of the McGovern Institute for Brain Research at MIT. Dr. Sharp has been a professor at MIT since 1974. He is a member of the National Academy of Sciences, the Institute of Medicine, and the American Academy of Arts and Sciences. Dr. Sharp received the Nobel Prize for Physiology of Medicine in 1993. He formerly served as a director of Biogen Idec Inc., which he co-founded in 1978. Dr. Sharp is a Director and Founder of Alnylam Pharmaceuticals.

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Stephen 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.

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Christopher Walsh, Ph.D.

Christopher Walsh is the Hamilton Kuhn Professor at Harvard Medical School, former President of the Dana-Farber Cancer Institute, and Chairman of the Department of Biological Chemistry and Molecular Pharmacology at Harvard Medical School. He is a member of the National Academy of Sciences, the Institute of Medicine, the American Academy of Arts and Sciences, and the American Philosophical Society. Dr. Walsh was also a member of the board of directors at Critical Therapeutics (purchased by Cornerstone therapeutics), Kosan Biosciences (purchased by BMS), and several private companies. He received a B.A. in Biology from Harvard University and a Ph.D. in Life Sciences from Rockefeller University.

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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.

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Eric Winer, M.D.

Dr. Winer is Director of the Breast Oncology Center at the Dana Farber Cancer Institute and Associate Professor of Medicine at Harvard Medical School. Dr. Winer received his M.D. from Yale University and trained in internal medicine at Yale-New Haven Hospital, where he served as Chief Resident. Dr. Winer was a fellow in Hematology-Oncology at Duke University Medical Center. From 1989 to 1997 Dr. Winer served on the faculty at Duke and co-directed the multidisciplinary breast program. At Dana Farber, Dr. Winer leads a group of investigators researching improved methods of treating women with early-stage and advanced breast cancer, with a focus on identifying more effective treatments that minimize side effects. In addition, several of these studies have included efforts to assess quality of life issues faced by breast cancer survivors. In 2003, Dr. Winer joined Tour de France winner Lance Armstrong on the Tour of Hope cross-country bike ride to raise money for cancer research.

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