Healthcare Industry News: Ironwood Pharmaceuticals
News Release - March 24, 2010
Epizyme Expands Leadership Team, Appointing Robert Gould, Ph.D. as CEO and Jason Rhodes as EVP and CBOCAMBRIDGE, Mass.--(HSMN NewsFeed)--Epizyme, Inc., a biopharmaceutical company translating key discoveries in the field of epigenetics into novel pharmaceuticals, announced today the appointment of Robert Gould, Ph.D. as Chief Executive Officer and of Jason Rhodes as Executive Vice President and Chief Business Officer. Dr. Gould has been a board member of Epizyme for two years, actively contributing to the planning, growth and guidance of the company. He joins Epizyme from the Broad Institute where he was Director of Novel Therapeutics. Prior to the Broad, Dr. Gould was at Merck & Co. where he was Vice President, Worldwide Licensing and External Research and Vice President, Basic Research. Mr. Rhodes was previously Vice President, Business Development at Alnylam, Inc. where he led transformative platform and product partnerships and prior to that was a founder and partner with Fidelity Investments’ biotech venture capital group.
“Epizyme is excited to welcome Robert Gould as CEO and Jason Rhodes as CBO at a time when the product pipeline of the Company is progressing with tremendous momentum,” commented Dr. Hoyoung Huh, Chairman of Epizyme. “We believe they will provide outstanding leadership at Epizyme as we continue to apply our fundamental understanding of epigenetic regulation to develop important new therapeutics. Their talents, combined with our proprietary epigenetic discovery platform and the financial resources from our recent $40 million Series B financing, position Epizyme as a leader in the emerging field of epigenetics.”
Dr. Gould has a demonstrated track record of success in the pharmaceutical industry. During his 23 years at Merck he was instrumental in shepherding more than 20 compounds from discovery into clinical development in multiple therapeutic areas. He was also responsible for spearheading strategic initiatives for licensing and external research and overseeing the Ophthalmic Worldwide Business Strategy Team. Dr. Gould joins Epizyme from the Broad Institute where, in three years, he made important contributions as Director, building and setting the strategic vision for the Novel Therapeutics department and participating in raising more than $100 million in research funding. Dr. Gould obtained degrees from Spring Arbor College, Michigan and The University of Iowa and undertook post-doctoral studies at The Johns Hopkins University. He is an author on over 90 peer-reviewed publications and 16 patents.
“This is an ideal time to join Epizyme, as the Company is uniquely positioned to lead the discovery, development and commercialization of novel therapeutics in the epigenetic field,” said Dr. Gould. “I am thrilled to contribute to the Company’s mission of translating the science of epigenetics into the medicines of tomorrow. I am particularly fortunate to be assuming leadership from Dr. Kazumi Shiosaki, who has cultivated a robust scientific and operational platform at Epizyme.”
Mr. Rhodes is an accomplished business executive, bringing 19 years of pharmaceutical industry experience to Epizyme. As EVP and Chief Business Officer, he will lead corporate and business development, business strategy and planning, alliance management and other business operations. Most recently, he was VP, Business Development at Alnylam Pharmaceuticals where he led transformative partnerships including the landmark $1 billion partnership with Takeda Pharmaceuticals, the spin out of Regulus Therapeutics, Regulus’ $600 million partnership with GSK, and important product partnerships with Kyowa Hakko Kirin, Cubist and Roche. Prior to Alnylam, he was a founder and partner with Fidelity Investments’ biotech venture capital group, where he led investments in companies including Ironwood Pharmaceuticals (NASDAQ: IRWD ) and FoldRx Pharmaceuticals. He earned his BA from Yale University and his MBA from the Wharton School of the University of Pennsylvania.
“Epizyme has an unparalleled product platform that generates multiple therapeutic candidates across a range of therapeutic areas and indications. In addition to rapidly advancing our proprietary pipeline, we look forward to partnering with the world’s leading biopharmaceutical companies,” commented Mr. Rhodes.
Dr. Kazumi Shiosaki, former CEO of the company, will remain as part of Epizyme’s Board.
Epigenetic enzymes have been identified as playing central roles in various diseases including cancer, inflammatory conditions, metabolic disorders and neurological and psychiatric diseases. Epizyme is initially focusing on a specific class of epigenetic enzymes, the histone methyltransferases (HMTs), which represent a novel protein target class associated with a variety of major diseases with significant unmet medical need. Epizyme has developed an integrated platform that allows rapid and efficient identification of potent and selective inhibitors against multiple HMTs and is pursuing these compounds across the therapeutic spectrum. The Company has developed a robust pipeline of novel small-molecule inhibitors against selected HMTs. Epizyme’s investors include KPCB, MPM, Bay City Capital, NEA, Astellas Venture Management, and Amgen Ventures. www.epizyme.com
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