CAMBRIDGE, Mass.--(BUSINESS WIRE)--Verastem, Inc., (NASDAQ: VSTM) a clinical-stage biopharmaceutical company focused on discovering and developing drugs to treat cancer by the targeted killing of cancer stem cells, announced that Robert Weinberg, Ph.D., Verastem scientific cofounder and chair of the Scientific Advisory Board, and Christoph Westphal, M.D., Ph.D., Verastem cofounder, Chairman and CEO, will present at the MIT Technology Breakfast on February 28, 2013, at 8am ET.
The Technology Breakfast series features breakthrough discoveries from research at MIT and brings together the researchers and entrepreneurs who accelerate and commercialize the technology. Drs. Weinberg and Westphal will speak on how they are changing the landscape of the current treatment paradigm in cancer.
Verastem was founded on work in the laboratories of Dr. Weinberg and Dr. Eric Lander, of the Broad Institute of MIT and Harvard, that describes the underlying mechanisms of cancer stem cell development and methods to identify drugs that preferentially target them. Cancer stem cells have been implicated as a cause of tumor resistance to chemotherapy and driver of disease progression.
Verastem has advanced the discoveries made by Drs. Weinberg and Lander into clinical development and is currently testing lead compound, VS-6063, in a Phase 1/2 clinical trial for ovarian cancer in combination with the standard chemotherapy, paclitaxel. VS-6063 is an orally available, small molecule inhibitor of focal adhesion kinase (FAK).
Verastem is planning a potentially pivotal trial of VS-6063 in mesothelioma midyear 2013. In addition to VS-6063, the Company has multiple drugs targeting cancer stem cells in development. Verastem plans to initiate clinical trials of FAK inhibitor VS-4718 and PI3K/mTOR inhibitor VS-5584 during 2013 in patients with advanced cancers.
Dr. Robert Weinberg is a founding member of the Whitehead Institute for Biomedical Research and the Daniel K. Ludwig Professor for Cancer Research in the Department of Biology at MIT. Dr. Weinberg is an internationally recognized authority on the genetic basis of human cancer development and is the author or editor of five books and more than 350 articles. The Weinberg lab is known for its discovery of the first human oncogene -- the ras oncogene that causes normal cells to form tumors -- and the isolation of the first known tumor suppressor gene -- the Rb gene. He earned his S.B. and Ph.D. in biology/life science from MIT. Dr. Weinberg is a member of the National Academy of Sciences, the Institute of Medicine and a Fellow of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences.
Dr. Christoph Westphal cofounded Verastem and is the Chairman and Chief Executive Officer of the Company. Dr. Westphal is a partner of Longwood Fund, which founds and invests in medical companies. He was founder and chief executive officer of Sirtris Pharmaceuticals, which he took public and led as chief executive officer until 2010. Christoph cofounded Alnara Pharmaceuticals (acquired by Eli Lilly in 2010) and was cofounder and chief executive officer of Alnylam Pharmaceuticals and Momenta Pharmaceuticals. Currently, Dr. Westphal serves on the board of directors of Ovascience (which he cofounded), on the Board of Fellows of Harvard Medical School and on the Board of Overseers of the Boston Symphony Orchestra. He earned an M.D. from Harvard Medical School, Ph.D. in genetics from Harvard University and BA, summa cum laude and Phi Beta Kappa, from Columbia University.
About Verastem, Inc.
Verastem, Inc. (NASDAQ: VSTM) is a clinical-stage biopharmaceutical company focused on discovering and developing drugs to treat cancer by the targeted killing of cancer stem cells. Cancer stem cells are an underlying cause of tumor recurrence and metastasis. Verastem is developing small molecule inhibitors of signaling pathways that are critical to cancer stem cell survival and proliferation: FAK, PI3K/mTOR and Wnt. For more information, please visit www.verastem.com.
This press release includes forward-looking statements about the Company’s strategy, future plans and prospects, including statements regarding the development of the Company’s compounds, including VS-6063, VS-4718 and VS-5584 and the Company’s FAK and diagnostic programs generally, the timeline for clinical development and regulatory approval of the Company’s compounds and the structure of the Company’s planned clinical trials. The words “anticipate,” “appear,” “believe,” “estimate,” “expect,” “intend,” “may,” “plan,” “predict,” “project,” “target,” “potential,” “will,” “would,” “could,” “should,” “continue,” and similar expressions are intended to identify forward-looking statements, although not all forward-looking statements contain these identifying words. Each forward-looking statement is subject to risks and uncertainties that could cause actual results to differ materially from those expressed or implied in such statement. Applicable risks and uncertainties include the risks that the preclinical testing of the Company’s compounds may not be predictive of the success of later clinical trials, that the Company will be unable to successfully complete the clinical development of its compounds, including VS-6063, VS-4718 and VS-5584, that the development of the Company’s compounds will take longer or cost more than planned, and that the Company’s compounds will not receive regulatory approval or become commercially successful products. Other risks and uncertainties include those identified under the heading “Risk Factors” in the Company’s Annual Report on Form 10-K for the year ended December 31, 2011 and in any subsequent SEC filings. The forward-looking statements contained in this presentation reflect the Company’s current views with respect to future events, and the Company does not undertake and specifically disclaims any obligation to update any forward-looking statements.