LifeMine Therapeutics Powers Drug Discovery Team to Search the Biosphere for Nature's Evolved Solutions to Intractable Therapeutic Challenges


BOSTON, Oct. 18, 2019 /PRNewswire/ -- LifeMine Therapeutics today announced several key appointments to its drug discovery team to include, Iain McFadyen, Ph.D., as Chief Data Officer; Jared Cumming, Ph.D., as Senior Vice President and Head of Chemistry; and Dawn Thomspon, Ph.D., as Vice President and Head of Microbiology and Automation.

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"LifeMine's biosphere-mining engine that provides breakthrough medicines for patients is lubricated by our extreme integration of data science, microbiology and synthetic biology with natural products science and medicinal chemistry," said Dr. Gregory Verdine, President, Chief Executive Officer and Chief Scientific Officer at LifeMine Therapeutics. "These three spectacular, interwoven hires are key to advancing our extreme integration model, across the spectrum of leadership, collaborative spirit, strategic vision and domain-specific scientific expertise. In Iain, we've identified a renaissance computational scientist who combines demonstrated leadership and strategic vision in data science with an exceptionally broad technical wingspan. In Dawn, we've brought on board a deeply knowledgeable and collaborative scientist who combines a mastery of fundamental fungal microbiology with a capability to lead sophisticated expeditions into synthetic biology and automation.  In Jared, we've brought on board a passionate and accomplished drug hunter who can tackle a broad range of never-before drugged targets, novel mechanisms of action, and architecturally complex chemotypes. These additions to the LifeMine team represent a substantial leap forward in building an organization powered to solve nature's seemingly intractable therapeutic challenges by exploting the untapped biosynthetic potential of eukaryotic microbes."                      

"LifeMine has assembled an extremely impressive team well-equipped to deliver on the bold vision of unearthing potential solutions that exist in nature to solve life's greatest medical problems," said Dr. McFadyen. "I'm delighted to join the team to lead the data mining efforts that will enable us to build a robust industry-creating drug discovery engine."

Dr. Thompson added, "It is an exciting time to join LifeMine as the company has been able to massively scale its genomic discovery efforts in search of new drug modalities. I'm thrilled to bring an evolutionary lens to bear on genome mining to fuel the drug discovery engine at LifeMine. "

"I'm thrilled to join LifeMine, where I'll be able to capitalize on my natural product roots and diverse medicinal chemistry experience as we search the biosphere for novel molecules and mechanisms that can be translated into breakthrough medicines for patients," said Dr. Cumming.

Prior to joining LifeMine, Dr. McFadyen headed up Computational Sciences and Next Generation Analytics at Moderna, Inc., where he built a department responsible for bioinformatics, computational biology, computational chemistry, non-clinical statistics, data science, and next-generation DNA and RNA sequencing (NGS). Prior to Moderna, Dr. McFadyen led the development of a big data analytics as Associate Director at CargoMetrics Technologies, LLC. Before that, Dr. McFadyen was Principal Research Scientist and group leader at TransForm Pharmaceuticals, where he led a global health initiative funded by the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation. Dr. McFadyen started his career at the Genetics Institute/Wyeth Research where he rose to Senior Scientist focused on structure-based drug design and chemoinformatics. Dr. McFadyen earned a B.S. in medicinal and pharmaceutical chemistry from Loughborough University (UK), a Ph.D. in pharmacology from Loughborough University (UK) and the University of Michigan, and completed postdoctoral research at the University of Minnesota.

Before joining LifeMine, Dr. Thompson was Chief Scientific Officer at Directed Genomics where she led the scientific vision to develop novel DNA and RNA assays with a focus on diverse applications of NGS. Prior to that, Dr. Thompson built a multi-disciplinary team as Head of NGS at Ginkgo Bioworks, collaboratively engineering novel organisms to grow products by fermentation across many markets including pharmaceuticals, living medicines, agriculture and electronics. Before joining Ginkgo, Dr. Thompson concurrently served as Associate Director of the Cell Circuits Program and was a group leader in Genome Biology at the Broad Institute, directing a research program to study the evolution of gene regulation across diverse fungal species to elucidate the mechanisms underlying the evolution of new phenotypes. Dr. Thompson earned a B.S. in Biology from the University of New Hampshire with a minor in marine science, a Ph.D. in molecular biology from the University of Oregon, and was a postdoctoral fellow at Harvard University.

Dr. Cumming was most recently Executive Director, Discovery Chemistry at Merck. During his 18 years at Merck and Schering-Plough, he held positions of increasing responsibility and led multiple programs in neuroscience, cardiometabolic disease, and immuno-oncology. Dr. Cumming innovated a comprehensive approaches to challenging chemistry that encompassed high-throughput experimentation, fragment-based screening and design, in silico modeling and computational tools, and bespoke structure-guided craftsmanship. He has led and been a part of teams that invented and progressed multiple novel molecules into clinical development, including verubecestat (MK-8931), a beta-secretase inhibitor that advanced to Phase 3 trials for Alzheimer's disease, and MK-1454, a STING agonist for oncology. Dr. Cumming received his B.A. in chemistry from Williams College, earned his Ph.D. in synthetic organic and medicinal chemistry from Johns Hopkins University, and was an NIH post-doctoral fellow at Stanford University.

About LifeMine Therapeutics  
LifeMine Therapeutics is forging an entirely new and powerful drug discovery paradigm that entails mining the fungal biosphere to discover nature's evolved small-molecule solutions to previously intractable therapeutic challenges. The biotech company has built a first-of-its-kind genomically-enabled drug discovery platform that can rapidly provide disruptively innovative drugs targeting novel disease-drivers based solely on their likely therapeutic impact and without impediment from perceived "druggability" considerations. Co-founded in 2017 by renowned entrepreneur and scientist Gregory Verdine and entrepreneur and businesswoman WeiQing Zhou, LifeMine aims to develop breakthrough drugs for diseases having untenable treatment options. The Company is headquartered in Boston with an additional site in New York, and closed a Series A financing of $70 million in March 2019. For more information on LifeMine, please visit  



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