Forma Therapeutics nabs long-time Genentech commercial executive as CEO

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Lee has held several roles at Genentech over the past 13 years, including VP of its HER2 breast cancer business covering Herceptin, Perjeta and Kadcyla, as well as VP of oral cancer treatments. (Pixabay)

Forma Therapeutics has poached a Genentech senior vice president to be its new CEO, effective March 27.

Frank Lee will take the reins of the private, Watertown, Massachusetts-based small molecule developer from its founder, Steve Tregay, as the company moves its early-stage clinical pipeline closer to approvals and commercialization.

Lee was SVP of global product strategy at Genentech, helping to guide a portfolio with more than $11 billion in sales, and also served as a therapeutic area head for the Big Biotech’s immunology, ophthalmology and infectious disease work. Tregay, meanwhile, will continue on as a senior adviser to the new CEO.

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“After leading the company for over 10 years, I believe now is the ideal time for a transition,” he said in a statement, citing Lee’s background in commercialization and later-stage development.

“I plan to work with the board, Frank and Forma’s leadership team to ensure a smooth transition and equally look forward to my next journey in continuing to transform the paradigm of drug discovery,” added Tregay, who also serves as chairman of the board of 2018 Fierce 15 winner Compass Therapeutics, and is a founding board member of LabCentral.

RELATED: Celgene-partnered Forma teams with Arpeggio to understand drug-target interactions

Lee has held several roles at Genentech over the past 13 years, including VP of its HER2 breast cancer business, covering Herceptin, Perjeta and Kadcyla, as well as VP of oral cancer treatments. He also served as franchise head for transplant and Tamiflu, and director of marketing for ophthalmology and respiratory products, as well as on the board of the Genentech Foundation.

Going forward, Lee will inherit Forma’s pipeline of clinical and preclinical assets in oncology, hematology and inflammatory diseases, and a company that has spent the past years evolving from a platform-based drug discoverer into the research phase.

Currently, the company has four ongoing phase 1 and 2 studies, evaluating three separate assets in sickle cell disease, leukemias and non-Hodgkin lymphoma, and solid tumors and gliomas harboring an IDH1 mutation.

“I’m excited to lead such a remarkable organization through the next growth phase including product approval and launch, while continuing to sustain an innovative pipeline for the long-term,” Lee said.

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