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.