Merck vet steps in to lead Third Rock's immuno-oncology upstart

  Richard Murray

Third Rock Ventures partner Cary Pfeffer is stepping aside as the start-up CEO at Jounce Therapeutics in favor of Merck ($MRK) veteran Richard Murray. Murray's most recent post was as senior vice president, biologics & vaccines research at Merck, where he was a member of the Merck Research Laboratories leadership team. Back in early 2013, Third Rock spread the word that it had assembled a stellar group of specialists in the field to tackle the science of immunotherapy from three different directions. The VC group agreed to put in $47 million, one of the biggest rounds of the first half of 2013, and staffed it with three of their top in-house operatives--including Cary Pfeffer as acting CEO, Dr. Robert Tepper (the former Millennium R&D chief) as interim chief scientific officer and Bob Kamen, former president of Abbott Bioresearch Center, as the interim chief technology officer. Jounce was named a Fierce 15 company last year. Release