Cambridge Startup Jounce Therapeutics Snags Ex-Merck & Co., Inc. Exec For CEO Post
Jounce Therapeutics Appoints Richard Murray, Ph.D., to Chief Executive Officer
Strong Leadership Team in Place to Advance Novel Immunotherapy Programs
Cambridge, Mass. – July 10, 2014 – Jounce Therapeutics, Inc., a company focused on the discovery and development of novel cancer immunotherapies, today announced the appointment of Richard Murray, Ph.D., to chief executive officer. Dr. Murray brings to Jounce more than two decades of experience building biologics R&D capabilities and moving exciting science through development for both startup biotechnology and large pharmaceutical companies. Dr. Murray succeeds interim CEO Cary Pfeffer, M.D., a partner at Third Rock Ventures, who will assume the position of chairman of Jounce's board of directors.
Dr. Murray joins Jounce from Merck, where he most recently served as senior vice president, biologics & vaccines research, and was a member of the Merck Research Laboratories (MRL) leadership team. There, he was responsible for the advancement of protein therapeutics and vaccines across a breadth of therapeutic areas, from discovery through development and manufacturing, including Merck's immunotherapy programs.
"Rich has a strong entrepreneurial spirit coupled with deep experience directing basic and translational research of biologic therapeutics," said Dr. Pfeffer. "More specifically, his leadership was instrumental to the successful advancement of Merck's anti-PD-1 program and recent BLA filing. Rich has the strategic skillset and insight to execute on our long-term vision and propel Jounce into the drug development stage."
"This is a seminal time in the field of cancer immunotherapy and I am thrilled to be joining Jounce during this exciting period," said Dr. Murray. "The company's early investment in translational science, including strategic alliances with several major academic centers, along with the active engagement of Jounce's founders, creates a unique opportunity to validate and advance the next generation of cancer immunotherapy targets and drugs. I look forward to working with the board, founders and the rest of the Jounce team to rapidly advance our exciting preclinical pipeline and bring forward new cancer treatments that can significantly improve patients' long-term survival."
Prior to joining Merck, Dr. Murray provided strategic and operational guidance to protein therapeutic biotech companies and served as an advisor to venture capital and life science investors. He was the executive vice president and chief scientific officer at PDL BioPharma, and previously, he was co-founder and vice president of research at EOS Biotechnology, acquired in 2003 by Protein Design Labs. Prior to these executive level roles, he spent more than 10 years on the staff at DNAX Research Institute, which later became Schering Plough Biopharma and now represents the main site for Merck's Biologics discovery efforts. Dr. Murray holds a Ph.D. in microbiology and immunology from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill and a B.S. in microbiology from the University of Massachusetts, Amherst.
About Jounce Therapeutics
Jounce Therapeutics is dedicated to transforming the treatment of cancer. The company is discovering and developing novel cancer immunotherapies designed to harness the immune system to seek out and attack cancerous cells and tumors. Jounce's proprietary product engine is driving this transformational approach, which has the potential to drive significantly more durable responses to treatment, extending and improving patients' quality of life. Founded by world leaders in tumor immunology, cancer biology and clinical and translational medicine, Jounce Therapeutics was launched in 2013 with funding from leading life sciences investor, Third Rock Ventures. For more information, please visit www.jouncetx.com.
Katie Wilson, 910-509-3977