Verastem Appoints Jonathan Pachter as Head of Research

BOSTON--(BUSINESS WIRE)-- Verastem, Inc., a biopharmaceutical company focused on discovering and developing drugs to treat breast and other cancers by targeting cancer stem cells, announced today the appointment of Jonathan Pachter, Ph.D., as Vice President and Head of Research.

Dr. Pachter joins Verastem with more than 20 years of experience leading discovery programs in small molecule and monoclonal antibody therapeutics for the treatment of cancer. He previously served as Head of Cancer Biology at OSI Pharmaceuticals (acquired by Astellas). His team was responsible for the development of EMT (epithelial-mesenchymal transition) models to discover drugs that inhibit this process and the cancer stem cells that result. Dr. Pachter has an impressive record of successfully translating novel discoveries into the clinic for the treatment of cancer.

“Jon has been instrumental in progressing the science of EMT and cancer stem cells into the clinic,” said Robert Weinberg, Ph.D., Verastem co-founder and co-chair of the Scientific Advisory Board. “His ability to drive research will help Verastem deliver on the promise of new treatments for patients with incurable cancer.”

Previously, Dr. Pachter has advanced seven small molecule agents into development including OSI-906, currently in Phase III trials in cancer patients, and one monoclonal antibody, robatumumab, which advanced to Phase II clinical trials. Dr. Pachter has also made key contributions to the regulatory approval of Temozolomide for treatment of glioblastoma. He is an author of more than 40 peer-reviewed publications and inventor on numerous patents. Dr. Pachter did his postdoctoral work in pharmacology at Yale University School of Medicine and holds a Ph.D. from Baylor College of Medicine.

“Jon’s impressive research experience, coupled with his leadership in the field of cancer drug discovery, makes him the ideal candidate to guide Verastem in its next stage of growth,” said Eric Lander, Ph.D., Verastem co-founder and co-chair of the Scientific Advisory Board.

In addition to scientific co-founders Piyush Gupta, Eric Lander and Robert Weinberg, Dr. Pachter will be supported by Verastem’s Scientific Advisory Board. Members of the board have a track record of innovative academic discoveries, novel therapeutics and successful companies. The board includes Julian Adams, Ph.D. (discovered and developed Velcade®); George Daley, M.D., Ph.D. (Director of the Stem Cell Transplantation Institute at Children's Hospital); Daniel Haber M.D., Ph.D. (Director of the Massachusetts General Hospital Comprehensive Cancer Center); Yossi Schlessinger, Ph.D. (co-founder of Sugen (now Pfizer) and Plexxikon (now Daiichi-Sankyo)); Phillip Sharp, Ph.D. (co-founder of Biogen and Alnylam); Roger Tung, Ph.D. (co-inventor of Lexiva® and Agenerase®); Christopher Walsh, Ph.D. (scientific advisory co-founder of Genzyme); and Eric Winer, M.D. (Director of the Breast Oncology Center at DFCI).

“Verastem is committed to developing novel drugs targeting cancer stem cells, in order to meaningfully improve cancer treatments. Joining the best science with strong leadership is critical to our success,” said Christoph Westphal, M.D., Ph.D., Chairman of Verastem. “Jon brings a wealth of experience in discovery and development, which will accelerate Verastem’s mission to develop transformative treatments for patients with breast and other cancers.”

About Verastem, Inc.

Verastem, Inc. is a private biopharmaceutical company focused on discovering and developing drugs to treat breast and other cancers by targeting cancer stem cells. Cancer stem cells are an underlying cause of tumor recurrence and metastasis. Verastem is translating breakthrough discoveries in cancer stem cell research into new medicines for the treatment of major cancers such as breast cancer.

Verastem was founded by Rich Aldrich, Michelle Dipp, Piyush Gupta, Satish Jindal, Eric Lander, Robert Weinberg and Christoph Westphal. Verastem is backed by Advanced Technology Ventures, Astellas Venture Management, Bessemer Venture Partners, Cardinal Partners, Longwood Founders Fund, and MPM Capital. For more information, please visit


For Verastem, Inc.
Lacy Roosevelt, 617-520-7052
[email protected]

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