Verastem Oncology Names Preeminent Oncology Researcher Channing Der, PhD, to its Scientific Advisory Board
BOSTON--(BUSINESS WIRE)-- Verastem Oncology (Nasdaq:VSTM), a biopharmaceutical company committed to advancing new medicines for patients battling cancer, today announced that Channing Der, PhD, has been appointed to its Scientific Advisory Board. Dr. Der, a preeminent researcher in the science of RAS pathway signaling and rational drug combinations, will provide expert guidance as Verastem advances its work in RAS pathway-driven cancers, including lead compound, RAF/MEK clamp VS-6766.
Dr. Der is the Sarah Graham Kenan Distinguished Professor at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. Since his initial discovery of RAS oncogenes in human cancer in the early 1980s, his research has centered on the study of RAS and RHO oncoproteins in cancer. In particular, Dr. Der’s research has shown the importance of vertical blockade of more than one node in the RAS pathway for deeper and more durable antitumor response. His work has been funded by grants from the National Cancer Institute, Department of Defense, Lustgarten Foundation, and Pancreatic Cancer Action Network/AACR.
“The ability of the RAF/MEK clamp, VS-6766, to induce inactive complexes of MEK with ARAF, BRAF and CRAF is unique and opens up broad opportunities for research that could have a significant impact on the treatment of RAS pathway-driven cancers,” said Dr. Der. “By joining Verastem’s Scientific Advisory Board, I look forward to contributing to the Company’s efforts toward scientifically-driven breakthroughs for patients.”
“We are delighted that Dr. Der has joined our Scientific Advisory Board. Dr. Der has made tremendous contributions to therapeutic development of cell signaling inhibitors going back to early work on farnesyl transferase inhibitors in the 1990s,” said Jonathan Pachter, Chief Scientific Officer of Verastem Oncology. “His deep understanding of cancer cell signaling combined with the passion to translate these concepts into therapeutic strategies for treatment of patients with cancer will continue to bring valuable insights into our work to establish VS-6766 as a backbone of therapy for treatment of RAS pathway-driven solid tumors.”
Dr. Der joins current Scientific Advisory Board members Robert Weinberg, PhD and Mario Sznol, MD.
VS-6766 (formerly known as CH5126766 and RO5126766) is a RAF/MEK clamp that induces inactive complexes of MEK with ARAF, BRAF and CRAF potentially creating a more complete and durable anti-tumor response through maximal RAS pathway inhibition. VS-6766 is currently in late-stage development.
In contrast to other MEK inhibitors, VS-6766 blocks both MEK kinase activity and the ability of RAF to phosphorylate MEK. This unique mechanism allows VS-6766 to block MEK signaling without the compensatory activation of MEK that appears to limit the efficacy of other inhibitors. The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) granted Breakthrough Therapy designation for the combination of Verastem Oncology’s investigational RAF/MEK inhibitor VS-6766, with defactinib, its FAK inhibitor, for the treatment of all patients with recurrent low-grade serous ovarian cancer (LGSOC) regardless of KRAS status after one or more prior lines of therapy, including platinum-based chemotherapy.1
Verastem Oncology is conducting Phase 2 registration-directed trials of VS-6766 alone and with defactinib in patients with recurrent LGSOC and in patients with recurrent KRAS-G12V mutant NSCLC as part of its RAMP (Raf And Mek Program) clinical trials, RAMP 201 and RAMP 202, respectively. Verastem Oncology has also established clinical collaborations with Amgen and Mirati to evaluate LUMAKRAS™ (sotorasib) and adagrasib in combination with VS-6766 in KRAS-G12C mutant NSCLC as part of the RAMP 203 and RAMP 204 trials, respectively.
About Verastem Oncology
Verastem Oncology (Nasdaq: VSTM) is a development-stage biopharmaceutical company committed to the development and commercialization of new medicines to improve the lives of patients diagnosed with cancer. Our pipeline is focused on novel small molecule drugs that inhibit critical signaling pathways in cancer that promote cancer cell survival and tumor growth, including RAF/MEK inhibition and focal adhesion kinase (FAK) inhibition. For more information, please visit www.verastem.com.
Forward-Looking Statements Notice
This press release includes forward-looking statements about Verastem Oncology’s strategy, future plans and prospects, including statements related to the potential clinical value of various of its clinical trials, and potential for additional development programs involving Verastem Oncology’s lead compound. The words "anticipate," "believe," "estimate," "expect," "intend," "may," "plan," "predict," "project," "target," "potential," "will," "would," "could," "should," "continue," “can,” “promising” and similar expressions are intended to identify forward-looking statements, although not all forward-looking statements contain these identifying words. Each forward-looking statement is subject to risks and uncertainties that could cause actual results to differ materially from those expressed or implied in such statement.
Applicable risks and uncertainties include the risks and uncertainties, among other things, regarding: the success in the development and potential commercialization of our product candidates, including VS-6766 in combination with other compounds, including defactinib, LUMAKRASTM and others; the occurrence of adverse safety events and/or unexpected concerns that may arise from additional data or analysis or result in unmanageable safety profiles as compared to their levels of efficacy; our ability to obtain, maintain and enforce patent and other intellectual property protection for our product candidates; the scope, timing, and outcome of any legal proceedings; decisions by regulatory authorities regarding labeling and other matters that could affect the availability or commercial potential of our product candidates; whether preclinical testing of our product candidates and preliminary or interim data from clinical trials will be predictive of the results or success of ongoing or later clinical trials; that the timing, scope and rate of reimbursement for our product candidates is uncertain; that third-party payors (including government agencies) may not reimburse; that there may be competitive developments affecting our product candidates; that data may not be available when expected; that enrollment of clinical trials may take longer than expected; that our product candidates will experience manufacturing or supply interruptions or failures; that we will be unable to successfully initiate or complete the clinical development and eventual commercialization of our product candidates; that the development and commercialization of our product candidates will take longer or cost more than planned; that we or Chugai Pharmaceutical Co., Ltd. will fail to fully perform under the VS-6766 license agreement; that we or our other collaboration partners may fail to perform under our collaboration agreements; that we may not have sufficient cash to fund our contemplated operations; that we may be unable to obtain adequate financing in the future through product licensing, co-promotional arrangements, public or private equity, debt financing or otherwise; that we will be unable to execute on our partnering strategies for VS-6766 in combination with other compounds; that we will not pursue or submit regulatory filings for our product candidates; and that our product candidates will not receive regulatory approval, become commercially successful products, or result in new treatment options being offered to patients.
Other risks and uncertainties include those identified under the heading “Risk Factors” in the Company’s Annual Report on Form 10-K for the year ended December 31, 2020 as filed with the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) on March 18, 2021 and in any subsequent filings with the SEC. The forward-looking statements contained in this press release reflect Verastem Oncology’s views as of the date hereof, and the Company does not assume and specifically disclaims any obligation to update any forward-looking statements whether as a result of new information, future events or otherwise, except as required by law.
1 Verastem Oncology Press Release. Verastem Oncology Receives Breakthrough Therapy Designation for VS-6766 with Defactinib in Recurrent Low-Grade Serous Ovarian Cancer. May 24, 2021. Available at: https://investor.verastem.com/news-releases/news-release-details/verastem-oncology-receives-breakthrough-therapy-designation-vs. Accessed October 2021.
Source: Verastem Oncology