CAMBRIDGE, Mass.--(BUSINESS WIRE)--Constellation Pharmaceuticals, Inc., a clinical-stage biopharmaceutical company focusing on the development of novel tumor-targeted and immuno-oncology therapies based on its pioneering research in cancer epigenetics, today announced it has appointed Jigar Raythatha as president and chief executive officer. He is rejoining Constellation from Jounce Therapeutics, Inc., where he led business strategy and development since December 2012.
In his role, Raythatha will lead the company focused on harnessing its deep scientific expertise in cancer epigenetics, to advance two ongoing clinical programs, CPI-1205 and CPI-0610, targeting EZH2 and BET, respectively. In addition, the company is applying its platform to identify epigenetic regulators of immune programs as complementary therapeutic opportunities to current and emerging immuno-oncology treatments.
“I am pleased to return to Constellation at a time when the company is poised for breakout success,” said Raythatha. “The team has done a fantastic job driving multiple clinical programs through Phase 1, and I look forward to working with everyone here to build on this progress and translate the company’s stellar science into meaningful outcomes for cancer patients.”
Prior to rejoining Constellation, Raythatha served as chief business officer at Jounce Therapeutics. He was the first employee at Jounce and helped build the company from its inception to a publicly-traded 100-person research and development organization. Previously, he served as head of corporate development at Constellation where he led business development, strategy, and program management functions. Earlier in his career, Raythatha held roles of increasing responsibility at Biogen, Red Abbey Venture Partners, and A.T. Kearney. He earned a Master of Business Administration from Columbia University and a Bachelor of Arts in biochemistry and economics from Rutgers University.
Other Leadership Updates
In addition to Raythatha’s appointment, Constellation is bolstering its immuno-oncology expertise with the addition of Padmanee Sharma, M.D., Ph.D., and Robert Schreiber, Ph.D., to the company’s Scientific Advisory Board (SAB). Both distinguished scientists are renowned experts in their respective fields and will work with the Constellation leadership team to help inform research priorities and identify potential opportunities to apply the company’s cancer epigenetics platform in the area of immuno-oncology.
Dr. Sharma currently serves as scientific director and professor in the departments of genitourinary medical oncology and immunology at The University of Texas MD Anderson Cancer Center. She is a medical oncologist and immunologist, and is currently the principal investigator of several immunotherapy clinical trials, which allows her to further investigate immune responses and pathways that are critical for eliciting anti-tumor responses and achieving clinical benefit in cancer patients.
Dr. Schreiber is the alumni-endowed professor of pathology and immunology, professor of molecular microbiology, and co-leader of the Tumor Immunology Program (TIP) of the Siteman Cancer Center (SCC) at Washington University, as well as founding director of the newly formed Washington University Center for Human Immunology and Immunotherapy Programs. His career has focused on elucidating the biochemistry and molecular cell biology of cytokines and defining their role in immune responses to cancer.
Finally, James E. Audia, Ph.D., who has served as chief scientific officer of the company since 2011, will be appointed as an independent member of the Board of Directors and a special scientific advisor to the company. This transition to important new leadership roles within the company will occur in mid-July and allow Dr. Audia to pursue new career opportunities closer to his primary residence while continuing to make significant contributions to Constellation’s R&D programs.
“We are very happy to welcome Jigar back as the CEO of Constellation Pharmaceuticals, a company with which he has a very positive history. Jigar has a proven track record in biotech deal-making and oncology drug development, and he is a compelling choice to lead its next phase of growth and assure that Constellation realizes its full potential,” said Mark A. Goldsmith, M.D., Ph.D., executive chairman of Constellation’s Board of Directors. “I also want to thank Jim Audia for his deep commitment to the company over many years and to acknowledge the tremendous impact he has had on its R&D endeavors. We look forward to continue working closely with Jim through his new role on the Board and as a special scientific advisor.”
About Constellation Pharmaceuticals
Constellation Pharmaceuticals is a clinical-stage biopharmaceutical company focusing on the development of novel tumor-targeted and immuno-oncology therapies based on its pioneering research in cancer epigenetics. With a decade of experience in the field, the company has an unparalleled understanding of how chromatin biology modulates gene expression. Constellation is translating these insights to advance the company’s two lead clinical programs, EZH2 and BET, and in novel targets for which cancer epigenetics plays a central role.
For more information, please visit www.constellationpharma.com.
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