CAMBRIDGE, Mass., Aug. 6, 2015 /PRNewswire/ -- Merrimack Pharmaceuticals, Inc. (Nasdaq: MACK) today announced that Yasir Al-Wakeel, MA, BM BCh will be appointed Chief Financial Officer and head of Corporate Development on August 11, 2015. Dr. Al-Wakeel will serve a key role in continuing to build Merrimack into a fully integrated cancer company based on a systems engineering approach. Merrimack currently has a pipeline of oncology candidates led by MM-398 (irinotecan liposome injection, also known as "nal-IRI"), which is currently under FDA review for approval in post-gemcitabine metastatic pancreatic cancer.
A physician by training, Dr. Al-Wakeel joins Merrimack from Credit Suisse where he focused on biotechnology as a Director on the healthcare investment banking team. Prior to that role, Dr. Al-Wakeel was one of Credit Suisse's top ranking research analysts covering the biotechnology and specialty pharmaceuticals sectors. In total, Dr. Al-Wakeel spent eight years with Credit Suisse, managing more than $30 billion in strategic and financial transactions while on the banking team and having interacted regularly with institutional investors during his time as a research analyst.
"We are thrilled to have Yasir join our team as we strive to build a fully integrated cancer company. Dr. Al-Wakeel brings deep industry knowledge and leading capabilities in corporate strategy, finance and development, all supported by exceptional clinical and scientific experience. His expertise will be core to the execution of our vision," said Robert Mulroy, President & CEO of Merrimack.
Before joining Credit Suisse, Dr. Al-Wakeel was a practicing physician, holding both clinical and academic medical posts in London and Oxford. Dr. Al-Wakeel received his BM BCh (Doctor of Medicine) degree from Oxford University and also holds a Master's degree in Theology from Cambridge University.
"I'm excited to join Merrimack and participate in their mission to deliver life-changing results to cancer patients. The company's pipeline presents an opportunity to have an impact that spans solid tumors and their systems engineering approach offers the promise of precisely tackling the root causes of cancer while offering a personalized approach for patients," said Dr. Al-Wakeel.
William Sullivan will assume the role of head of Finance and Accounting. As a member of the management team, Mr. Sullivan will continue to play a key strategic role in operations and in preparing for the potential commercialization of MM-398.
The addition of Dr. Al-Wakeel continues Merrimack's expansion of its leadership team over the past several months to prepare for the transition into a commercial entity. Birgit Schoeberl, PhD, was named Merrimack's head of Discovery. In addition, we have brought on four new board members: John Dineen, former CEO of GE Healthcare; Vivian Lee, MD, PhD, CEO of University of Utah Health Care and Dean of the University of Utah School of Medicine; Ulrik Nielsen, PhD, Merrimack co-founder and CEO of Torque Pharmaceuticals; and Russ Ray, former Managing Director and Global Co-Head of Healthcare Investment Banking at Credit Suisse First Boston.
Merrimack is a biopharmaceutical company discovering, developing and preparing to commercialize innovative medicines paired with companion diagnostics for the treatment of cancer. Merrimack seeks to gain a deeper understanding of underlying cancer biology through its systems biology-based approach and develop new insights, therapeutics and diagnostics to improve outcomes for cancer patients. Merrimack has multiple oncology therapeutics in clinical development and additional candidates in late stage preclinical development. Merrimack has a New Drug Application under review for its lead product candidate, MM-398, for the treatment of patients with metastatic adenocarcinoma of the pancreas who have been previously treated with gemcitabine-based therapy. For more information, please visit Merrimack's website at www.merrimackpharma.com or connect on Twitter at @MerrimackPharma.
Any statements in this press release about future expectations, plans and prospects for Merrimack constitute forward-looking statements within the meaning of The Private Securities Litigation Reform Act of 1995, as amended. Actual results may differ materially from those indicated by such forward-looking statements. Merrimack anticipates that subsequent events and developments will cause its views to change. However, while Merrimack may elect to update these forward-looking statements at some point in the future, Merrimack specifically disclaims any obligation to do so.
Geoffrey Grande, CFA
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SOURCE Merrimack Pharmaceuticals, Inc.