Looks like an exciting 2013 from the J.P. Morgan Healthcare Conference

26 of 40

Robert Forrester, COO of Verastem

Robert Forrester, the COO of Verastem, was extremely optimistic and encouraged when speaking to FierceBiotech on Tuesday in the Four Seasons hotel. He told us to expect a huge year from the company, which develops small-molecule drugs to kill cancer stem cells. One of its lead programs is an FAK inhibitor to combat mesothelioma, a rare cancer caused by exposure to asbestos--the compound is entering a pivotal trial midyear. The trial will stratify patients based on Merlin status--a critical biomarker--and has an adaptive enrichment design. Forrester also advocated a prominent trend that emerged in many meetings during our time in SF--maintaining small in-office staffs (and in Verastem's case, Forrester assured us, a small office) and using the money available for drug development. The model "speaks to the mentality of our company," he said, "which is all about the science.