BOSTON--(BUSINESS WIRE)--Verastem Oncology (Nasdaq:VSTM), a biopharmaceutical company committed to advancing new medicines for patients with cancer, today announced the appointment of Karin Tollefson to its Board of Directors, effective May 15, 2023. Dr. Tollefson is the Senior Vice President and Head of Global Medical Affairs at Seagen Inc. where she has led the medical organization through the successful launches of three practice-changing medicines and established a global medical affairs organization.
“Karin’s deep oncology and pharmaceutical experience and her work bringing groundbreaking new medicines to patients will be important as Verastem moves from late-stage development to commercial preparation,” said Michael Kauffman, M.D., Ph.D., Lead Director of the Verastem Oncology Board of Directors. “I am pleased to welcome Dr. Tollefson to the Board of Directors and to work with her to support the successful progress of Verastem’s avutometinib development program in combinations across RAS pathway-driven tumors.”
“I’m looking forward to bringing my medical affairs and program development expertise to the significant progress at Verastem to address difficult-to-treat RAS pathway-driven tumors as a member of the Board of Directors,” said Dr. Tollefson. “My recent launch experiences and insights in addressing the needs of patients and the healthcare community will be timely as the company works toward potential availability of a treatment for recurrent low-grade serous ovarian cancer, an area of significant unmet need.”
Karin Tollefson has 30 years of experience in the pharmaceutical industry and is a proven leader in global oncology development and medical affairs. Dr. Tollefson spent much of her early career at Eli Lilly and Company serving in progressive leadership roles in clinical operations, clinical development, portfolio & program management, and global medical affairs. She supported Lilly’s acquisition and integration of ImClone Systems in 2008 and was part of the Oncology Business Unit Leadership team until her retirement in 2017. During her career, she has been involved in the launch of eight new medicines and numerous additional indications in the U.S. and international markets, serving patients in over 10 tumor and therapeutic areas. Dr. Tollefson has served on the philanthropic boards of the American Lung Association and the Leukemia and Lymphoma Society Indiana Board of Trustees. She started her undergraduate studies at Kansas State University and earned her Doctor of Pharmacy from the University of Kansas.
About Avutometinib (VS-6766)
Avutometinib is a RAF/MEK clamp that induces inactive complexes of MEK with ARAF, BRAF and CRAF potentially creating a more complete and durable anti-tumor response through maximal RAS pathway inhibition. Avutometinib is currently in late-stage development.
In contrast to other MEK inhibitors, avutometinib blocks both MEK kinase activity and the ability of RAF to phosphorylate MEK. This unique mechanism allows avutometinib to block MEK signaling without the compensatory activation of MEK that appears to limit the efficacy of other inhibitors. The U.S. Food and Drug Administration granted Breakthrough Therapy designation for the combination of Verastem Oncology’s investigational RAF/MEK clamp avutometinib, with defactinib, its FAK inhibitor, for the treatment of all patients with recurrent low-grade serous ovarian cancer (LGSOC) regardless of KRAS status after one or more prior lines of therapy, including platinum-based chemotherapy.
Verastem Oncology is currently conducting clinical trials with its RAF/MEK clamp avutometinib in RAS- driven tumors as part of its (Raf And Mek Program). RAMP 201 is a registration-directed trial of avutometinib in combination with defactinib in patients with recurrent LGSOC. Verastem Oncology has established clinical collaborations with Amgen and Mirati to evaluate LUMAKRAS® (sotorasib) and KRAZATI® (adagrasib) in combination with avutometinib in KRAS G12C mutant NSCLC as part of the RAMP 203 and RAMP 204 trials, respectively. As part of the “Therapeutic Accelerator Award” Verastem Oncology received from PanCAN, Verastem Oncology is conducting RAMP 205, a Phase 1b/2 clinical trial evaluating avutometinib and defactinib with gemcitabine/nab-paclitaxel in patients with front-line metastatic pancreatic cancer.
About Verastem Oncology
Verastem Oncology (Nasdaq: VSTM) is a development-stage biopharmaceutical company committed to the development and commercialization of new medicines to improve the lives of patients diagnosed with cancer. Our pipeline is focused on novel small molecule drugs that inhibit critical signaling pathways in cancer that promote cancer cell survival and tumor growth, including RAF/MEK inhibition and focal adhesion kinase (FAK) inhibition. For more information, please visit www.verastem.com.
Forward-Looking Statements Notice
This press release includes forward-looking statements about Verastem Oncology’s strategy, future plans and prospects, including statements related to its financial condition, its potential borrowings, the potential clinical value of various of its clinical trials, the timing of commencing and completing trials, including topline data reports and interactions with regulators. The words "anticipate," "believe," "estimate," "expect," "intend," "may," "plan," "predict," "project," "target," "potential," "will," "would," "could," "should," "continue," “can,” “promising” 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 and uncertainties, among other things, regarding: the success in the development and potential commercialization of our product candidates, including avutometinib in combination with other compounds, including defactinib, LUMAKRAS® and others; the occurrence of adverse safety events and/or unexpected concerns that may arise from additional data or analysis or result in unmanageable safety profiles as compared to their levels of efficacy; our ability to obtain, maintain and enforce patent and other intellectual property protection for our product candidates; the scope, timing, and outcome of any legal proceedings; decisions by regulatory authorities regarding trial design, labeling and other matters that could affect the timing, availability or commercial potential of our product candidates; whether preclinical testing of our product candidates and preliminary or interim data from clinical trials will be predictive of the results or success of ongoing or later clinical trials; that the timing, scope and rate of reimbursement for our product candidates is uncertain; that third- party payors (including government agencies) may not reimburse; that there may be competitive developments affecting our product candidates; that data may not be available when expected; that enrollment of clinical trials may take longer than expected; that our product candidates will experience manufacturing or supply interruptions or failures; that we will be unable to successfully initiate or complete the clinical development and eventual commercialization of our product candidates; that the development and commercialization of our product candidates will take longer or cost more than planned, including as a result of conducting additional studies; that we or Chugai Pharmaceutical Co., Ltd. will fail to fully perform under the avutometinib license agreement; that we or our other collaboration partners may fail to perform under our collaboration agreements; that we may not have sufficient cash to fund our contemplated operations; that we may be unable to obtain adequate financing in the future through product licensing, co-promotional arrangements, public or private equity, debt financing or otherwise; that Secura will achieve the milestones that result in payments to us under our asset purchase agreement with Secura; that we will be unable to execute on our partnering strategies for avutometinib in combination with other compounds; that we will not pursue or submit regulatory filings for our product candidates; and that our product candidates will not receive regulatory approval, become commercially successful products, or result in new treatment options being offered to patients.
Other risks and uncertainties include those identified under the heading “Risk Factors” in Verastem Oncology’s Annual Report on Form 10-K for the year ended December 31, 2022 as filed with the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) on March 14, 2023 and in any subsequent filings with the SEC. The forward-looking statements contained in this press release reflect Verastem Oncology’s views as of the date hereof, and Verastem Oncology does not assume and specifically disclaims any obligation to update any forward-looking statements whether as a result of new information, future events or otherwise, except as required by law.