Phoenix Molecular Designs Appoints Biotech Powerhouse, Michael Varney, Ph.D., to its Advisory Board

 

SAN DIEGO, California and VANCOUVER, BC, March 29, 2021 /PRNewswire/ - Phoenix Molecular Designs (PhoenixMD), a company on a mission to help thousands of patients and their families battling triple negative breast cancer (TNBC) by developing first-in-class RSK kinase inhibitors, today announces the appointment of Mike Varney, Ph.D. to its advisory board.

"Our vision is clear – to be the first to market RSK inhibitors for TNBC, and we believe that Mike's leading expertise in drug design and discovery will help us as we work towards that goal," said Sandra Dunn, Ph.D., Founder and CEO, Phoenix Molecular Designs. "Mike Varney is an exceptional addition to our advisory board. We are excited to be able to work together on our progressing pipeline and lead asset, PMD-026, the first purpose-built drug currently in Phase 1b clinical trials for the treatment of TNBC."

"Many of our executive team members and other advisory members have had the distinct pleasure of working with Mike in the past. They have seen first-hand that Mike is a visionary who understands how to develop winning cancer therapies," noted Dr. Dunn.

"I am very pleased to be part of PhoenixMD and their distinguished advisory board," said Mike Varney, Ph.D. "Sandi and her team are industry leaders and have made tremendous progress in the development of a potential new therapy targeting TNBC and in the development of companion diagnostics (CDx) measuring activated RSK2 in breast cancers. The data obtained to date from pre-clinical studies on ongoing clinical studies of PMD-026 shows great potential in one day delivering a higher quality of life for those battling TNBC."

Dr. Varney is a pioneer in drug discovery and a global biotech leader. He was one of the original, innovative staff at Agouron, a groundbreaking biotech in San Diego. Here, he built the renowned team that developed protein structure-based drug design that today is utilized by teams globally.  

Mike's leadership at Agouron as Vice President of Research was foundational to their success. Eventually, Agouron was acquired by Warner-Lambert in 1999 and Pfizer in 2000 where Mike made his mark again. He took on the role of VP of Drug Discovery for Pfizer where Mike led key discoveries that catalyzed the development of many currently marketed anticancer agents, including Xalkori® and Inlyta®. In 2005, given his immense expertise and outstanding reputation, he was recruited to Genentech.

At Genentech, he was the first to expand the organization's drug discovery capabilities to include small molecules. His work here resulted in developing a team-based organization that today produces more than 40% of Genentech's development portfolio, including the marketed anticancer agents Erivedge® and Cotellic®.

Mike Varney was appointed Executive Vice President and Head of Genentech's Research and Early Development (gRED) in 2015. In this role, he was responsible for all facets of gRED innovation, drug discovery and development. Under his senior leadership, gRED teams discovered and developed many effective medicines that include Venclexta® with AbbVie, the first bcl-2 inhibitor and also Polivy™, an antibody-drug conjugate for the treatment of Diffuse Large B-Cell Lymphoma. He retired from Genentech in July 2020, leaving a legacy of drug platform types that includes personalized therapeutic vaccines and cellular therapies.

Mike holds a Bachelor of Science in Chemistry from the University of CaliforniaLos Angeles, a Ph.D. in synthetic organic chemistry from the California Institute of Technology, and was an American Cancer Society postdoctoral fellow at Columbia University.

About Phoenix Molecular Designs
PhoenixMD is a privately-held clinical-stage biopharmaceutical company designing precise cancer therapeutics and companion diagnostics by targeting kinases, a class of highly druggable enzymes to treat a wide range of oncology indications. PhoenixMD is focused on developing first-in-class inhibitors against RSK, an important drug target for cancer, heart disease, and inflammation. The company's leadership team boasts previous expertise in developing FDA-approved and marketed drugs for breast cancer. Due to PhoenixMD's emerging leadership in kinase inhibition, the company has entered into partnerships with well-recognized government, academic research institutions, including the National Cancer Institute, MD Anderson, Kyushu University (Japan), University of Tuebingen (Germany), as well as patient advocates, such as the Susan G. Komen Foundation in San Diego. PhoenixMD has clinical headquarters in San Diego, CA, and pre-clinical operations in Vancouver, BC. For more information, visit phoenixmd.ca

 

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SOURCE Phoenix Molecular Designs

 

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