Press Release Details

Mersana Therapeutics Forms Scientific Advisory Board to Support Development of Next-Generation Antibody-Drug Conjugates

October 21, 2013

Mersana Therapeutics, Inc. , a biopharmaceutical company developing its Fleximer® antibody-drug conjugate (ADC) platform, today announced the creation of a Scientific Advisory Board (SAB) comprised of five recognized leaders in the fields of oncology and antibody therapeutics. The SAB will provide critical strategic and scientific insight as the company advances its pipeline of next-generation ADCs.

“We are honored to work with these esteemed scientists, gathering additional scientific perspectives that we can leverage in our pipeline and partnerships,” said Nicholas Bacopoulos, Ph.D., President and Chief Executive Officer of Mersana. “The members’ collective broad knowledge of our space is invaluable as we solidify our unique position to capitalize on ADC drug development opportunities and the industry’s surging strategic interest in the field.”

Mersana’s SAB brings together five key opinion leaders with expertise in oncology and antibody therapeutics:

Greg Adams, Ph.D., is an Associate Professor and a Co-Leader of the Developmental Therapeutics Program at the Fox Chase Cancer Center. Dr. Adams heads an active research group focused on developing engineered antibodies using phage display and knowledge-based (rational) design. His current research is focused on developing antibodies and antibody-drug conjugates for the treatment of breast and ovarian cancers, characterizing the properties required for efficient tumor-targeting by engineered antibody-based molecules and the detection of circulating tumor antigens using piezoelectric immuno-nanocantilevers. He graduated with a Ph.D. in Immunology from the University of California at Davis, where he researched preclinical tumor targeting with radiolabelled monoclonal antibodies, focusing on the interactions between the antibodies and receptors on the liver. Dr. Adams also serves on the scientific advisory boards of Symphogen, Viventia Biotech, Endo Health Solutions (Oncology Advisory Board), Avipep and Avid Biologics and has served in the past on the advisory boards of YM Biosciences, Arana Therapeutics, Absalus and Xerion Pharmaceuticals. Dr. Adams is a member of the Editorial Boards of Cancer Immunology Research, MAbs and Cancer Biotherapy Radiopharmaceuticals and recently rotated off of the editorial board of Cancer Research.

David Colcher, Ph.D., is Deputy Director of the Division of Radioimmunotherapy, Director of the Investigational Radiopharmacy and Professor in the Department of Cancer Immunotherapeutics and Tumor Immunology at the City of Hope National Medical Center’s Beckman Research Institute in Duarte, Calif. Dr. Colcher has been a pioneer in the field of developing antibodies to tumor associated antigens. He holds a number of patents on antibodies reactive with human malignancies as well as radiolabelling methods, which have led to three products being approved by the FDA, including a blood test for a tumor biomarker, a radiolabelled antibody imaging agent and a radiolabelled antibody therapeutic. He has consulted for, or been on the Scientific Advisory Board of a number of companies including Neoprobe, Molecular Oncology, Sterling Drug, Centocor, Coulter Pharmaceutical and Corixa Corporation. Dr. Colcher received his Ph.D. and M.Ph. from Columbia University and an S.B.L.S. in Life Sciences from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology.

Robert A. Copeland, Ph.D., is the Executive Vice President and Chief Scientific Officer of Epizyme, Inc. Prior to joining Epizyme, Dr. Copeland was Vice President, Cancer Biology, of the Oncology Center of Excellence in Drug Discovery at GlaxoSmithKline (GSK). Before joining GSK, Dr. Copeland held scientific staff positions at Merck Research Laboratories of Merck and Bristol-Myers Squibb Company, and a faculty position at the University of Chicago Pritzker School Of Medicine. Dr. Copeland received a B.S. in Chemistry from Seton Hall University, a Ph.D. in Chemistry from Princeton University and did postdoctoral studies as the Chaim Weizmann Fellow at the California Institute of Technology.

Christoph Lengauer, Ph.D., MBA, is the Chief Scientific Officer of Blueprint Medicines. Dr. Lengauer has a proven track record in cancer drug discovery, including contributing to 17 development candidates, 11 drugs/programs that reached first in human clinical trials and two registered drugs. Prior to joining Blueprint Medicines, he was Vice President and Global Head of Oncology Drug Discovery and Preclinical Development at Sanofi. While at Sanofi, he grew a promising discovery and early development portfolio including small molecules and biologics. Before joining Sanofi, Dr. Lengauer was Executive Director & Senior Unit Head, Oncology Discovery at the Novartis Institutes for Biomedical Research (NIBR). Prior to Novartis, Dr. Lengauer served as Associate Professor of Oncology at the Sidney Kimmel Comprehensive Cancer Center at Johns Hopkins University. Together with Drs. Bert Vogelstein and Ken Kinzler he established the paradigm that all cancers are genetically unstable and was involved in the discovery and characterization of important cancer driver genes such as PIK3CA and BRAF. Dr. Lengauer obtained his Ph.D. from the University of Heidelberg, Germany and received his MBA from Johns Hopkins University Business School.

David R. Parkinson, M.D., is acting CEO of Zyngenia, Inc., and a Venture Partner at New Enterprise Associates (NEA). From 2007 until 2012, Dr. Parkinson served as President and CEO of Nodality, a South San Francisco-based biotechnology company focused on the biological characterization of signaling pathways in patients with malignancy to enable more effective therapeutics development and clinical decision-making. Prior to 2007, Dr. Parkinson was Senior Vice President of Oncology Research and Development at Biogen Idec, Vice President of Oncology Development at Amgen and Vice President of Global Clinical Oncology Development at Novartis. Dr. Parkinson also worked at the National Cancer Institute from 1990 to 1997, serving as Chief of the Investigational Drug Branch, then as acting Associate Director of the Cancer Therapy Evaluation Program. He has also held academic positions at the M.D. Anderson Cancer Center, University of Texas and New England Medical Center of Tufts University School of Medicine. Dr. Parkinson is a past Chairman of the Food & Drug Administration (FDA) Biologics Advisory Committee and is a recipient of the FDA's Cody Medal. He is a past President of the International Society of Biological Therapy, and past Editor of the Journal of Immunotherapy. He has served on the FDA's Science Board, the National Cancer Policy Forum of the Institute of Medicine, and the Board of Directors of the American Association of Cancer Research (AACR) as well as the Ontario Institute for Cancer Research (OICR). Dr. Parkinson received his M.D. from the University of Toronto and received training in Internal Medicine and Hematology/Oncology at McGill University and at New England Medical Center. Dr. Parkinson serves on the boards of the public companies Threshold Pharmaceuticals and Ambit Biosciences, as well as the non-profit Multiple Myeloma Research Foundation (MMRF).

About Mersana

Mersana engineers novel drug conjugates that maximize the potential of new and established therapeutic classes. Utilizing its proprietary conjugation technology, which is comprised of the Fleximer® polymer and a broad array of customizable linker chemistries, Mersana is developing its next-generation antibody-drug conjugate (ADCs) platform with superior properties not found with other ADC technologies. Mersana is currently working with a number of top Pharma companies to develop next generation Fleximer-ADCs and most recently announced a $270 million collaboration with Endo Pharmaceuticals in March, 2012. The company is also advancing its own pipeline of next-generation drugs with best-in-class potential to address unmet needs and improve patient outcomes in multiple oncology indications.

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