SAN DIEGO, Aug. 22, 2019 /PRNewswire/ -- Erasca, a company dedicated to advancing exceptional scientific approaches to erase cancer, today announced the promotion of Gary Yeung, CFA, to chief operating and financial officer, as well as the appointment of David Chacko, M.D., to chief business officer. Les Brail, Ph.D., has been appointed vice president of clinical development, and Karen Gilmore, CPA, has been appointed vice president of finance.
Erasca has also recruited a research and development (R&D) advisory board comprising industry luminaries who will actively provide both strategic guidance and operational support to the company as it continues to advance multiple discovery programs toward clinical development. The company's R&D advisors are:
- Bruce Roth, Ph.D., as senior chemistry advisor. Dr. Roth previously held positions as senior vice president of small molecule research at Genentech and as vice president of research at Pfizer, where he invented LIPITOR®.
- Dave Matthews, Ph.D., as senior crystallography advisor. Dr. Matthews is a former distinguished research fellow at Pfizer and was a scientific founder of Agouron, where he was an early pioneer in structure-based drug design, one of the foundational approaches for discovery of targeted small molecule therapeutics.
- Greg Cosma, Ph.D., as senior development advisor. Dr. Cosma was most recently vice president of research and early development at Genentech where, in addition to his broad development responsibilities, he led Project Agility, an organization-wide effort to enhance innovation and pipeline delivery.
- Paul Pearson, Ph.D., as senior ADME/PK advisor. Dr. Pearson is president and CEO at Pearson Pharma Partners and was previously vice president of pharmacokinetics and drug metabolism at Amgen.
- Jane Chang, Ph.D., as senior toxicology advisor. Dr. Chang formerly held roles as preclinical project director at AstraZeneca and staff toxicologist at Ciba-Geigy.
- James Freddo, M.D., as senior medical advisor. Dr. Freddo was previously senior vice president and chief medical officer for Anadys Pharmaceuticals and was vice president of clinical development and site head of Pfizer La Jolla.
- Linda Robertson, Ph.D., as senior regulatory affairs advisor. Dr. Robertson formerly held roles as vice president of regulatory affairs at Ignyta and as a regulatory affairs leader at Roche.
"Erasca is rapidly advancing multiple discovery programs, all of which focus on erasing cancer through pathways that are key drivers of cancer," said Jonathan Lim, M.D., Erasca's chairman, CEO and co-founder. "The expansion of our leadership team and addition of R&D advisors with such distinguished biopharma careers will provide scientific muscle and drug discovery insights as we continue to expand our pipeline and advance our novel molecules into the clinic."
About Gary Yeung, CFA
As the chief operating and financial officer, Mr. Yeung will oversee Erasca's portfolio management, program leadership, HR, operations and finance activities.
Mr. Yeung has extensive experience in building life sciences companies and developing novel therapies. Previously, he served as Erasca's chief business officer since helping launch and finance the company in 2018. Prior to Erasca, Mr. Yeung helped build two biotech companies: Guardant Health and Annexon Biosciences. At Guardant, he was vice president of the early cancer detection business and a member of the leadership team that prepared the company for its initial public offering. At Annexon, Mr. Yeung served as vice president of business and development operations, building the infrastructure to advance multiple drug candidates. He also held leadership roles with Genentech for 13 years, building organizations across multiple disciplines to develop and launch innovative therapies. He oversaw the portfolio and program management functions that produced 42 INDs and developed multiple FDA-approved treatments, including Tecentriq and Venclexta. He also was the finance leader for the Immunology Business and head of business planning for the Oncology Business to support the launch and expansion of Avastin, Tarceva, Rituxan and Herceptin. He also currently serves as a venture partner with LYZZ Capital. Earlier in his career, Mr. Yeung was a consultant with McKinsey and operational leader with General Electric. He holds a B.S. in chemical engineering from University of California, Berkeley and an MBA from University of California, Los Angeles. He is a Chartered Financial Analyst (CFA).
About David Chacko, M.D.
As chief business officer, Dr. Chacko will oversee Erasca's corporate development, business strategy, communications and quality activities.
Prior to joining Erasca, Dr. Chacko was a principal at Versant Ventures, where he held a dual investing/operating role, helping lead investment opportunities across multiple therapeutic areas. Operationally, he was intimately involved in advancing several Versant portfolio companies through company formation, fundraising, business development, and clinical and regulatory activities. Dr. Chacko joined Versant from Alcon, where, as chief of staff to the CEO, he worked alongside the executive leadership team to develop and implement high priority corporate initiatives to accelerate growth and innovation. Prior to Alcon, Dr. Chacko was an engagement manager at McKinsey, leading multiple teams serving pharmaceutical and medical device clients. Dr. Chacko received M.D. and MBA degrees concurrently from the University of Pennsylvania School of Medicine/Wharton School. Prior to that, he earned an MPhil from Oxford University, where he was a Marshall Scholar.
About Les Brail, Ph.D.
With more than 20 years of experience in early phase clinical development and translational medicine, Dr. Brail will oversee Erasca's clinical development activities and help assess Erasca's steady flow of potential in-licensing opportunities.
Dr. Brail joins Erasca from Neon Therapeutics, where he was responsible for the ongoing clinical development of the company's personalized neoantigen vaccine program. He also led the clinical development of the shared neoantigen vaccine program resulting in the recent filling of the IND for this program. Previously at Infinity Pharmaceuticals, he served as the program team leader of IPI-549, a PI3K-gamma inhibitor. At Infinity, Dr. Brail was responsible for the strategic and operational aspects of the molecule, including the first-in-human study, IND filing and development of the overall clinical strategy. He began his career at Eli Lilly and Company in their early phase oncology drug development group where he was the clinical lead on multiple programs, responsible for Phase I and II development. Dr. Brail worked closely with the pre-clinical development teams to optimize the characteristics of the drug development candidates with a focus on clinically relevant biomarkers. He earned his Ph.D. in medical biophysics from the University of Toronto.
About Karen Gilmore, CPA
Bringing more than 25 years of experience, Ms. Gilmore will leverage her financial expertise with early-stage biotech company financings to support Erasca in its fundraising efforts.
Ms. Gilmore has provided senior level financial consulting for various small and early stage biotech and medical device companies, including Tear Film Innovations, Legacy Health Strategies and GPB Scientific. At Tear Film, Ms. Gilmore assisted with multiple rounds of financing, as well as the company's acquisition by Alcon in 2018. She has also worked with City Hill Ventures since its formation, and she was the controller at Ignyta from its founding through its public offering. Prior to Ignyta, Ms. Gilmore held senior financial consulting roles at multiple companies, including Organovo, Auspex Pharmaceuticals, Minnow Medical and HealthFusion, assisting each through their early stages and building out their finance organizations. Ms. Gilmore began her career with Coopers & Lybrand where she obtained her Certified Public Account (CPA) license. She earned a Bachelor of Science degree from California State Polytechnic University, Pomona and is an active CPA.
At Erasca, our mission is embedded in our name: To erase cancer in patients. We are advancing multiple programs that shut down key cancer pathways, augmented by our proprietary artificial intelligence drug discovery platform called OPRA™ (Oncology Pattern Recognition Algorithm). We also are pursuing additional pipeline expansion opportunities through academic and biopharmaceutical collaborations. Founded in 2018 and headquartered in San Diego, Erasca has raised $64 million in series A financing from investors who share the company's ambitious goal, including founding investors City Hill Ventures and Cormorant Asset Management, and other Series A investors ARCH Venture Partners and Andreessen Horowitz. For more information, please visit www.erasca.com.