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Syndax appoints Dr. Briggs Morrison CEO, Michael Metzger president and COO

Monday, June 15, 2015

Syndax Pharmaceuticals, a privately held oncology company based in Waltham, Mass., has announced that Briggs W. Morrison, M.D., is joining the company as CEO and a member of the board of directors, and Michael A. Metzger is joining the company as president and chief operating officer. Morrison joins Syndax from AstraZeneca, where he was executive vice president, global medicines development and chief medical officer. Metzger joins from Regado Biosciences, where he was president and CEO through the company’s strategic merger with Tobira Therapeutics.

“Syndax is at a major inflection point in its evolution, leveraging recent scientific insights into its lead therapeutic candidate entinostat in the emerging field of immuno-oncology. We are thrilled to have Briggs and Michael assume these critical executive roles,” said Dennis G. Podlesak, chairman of the Syndax board of directors and partner at Domain Associates. “Briggs is a pre-eminent drug developer with an impressive track record of bringing cutting-edge medicines to patients and provides Syndax with the depth and vision to deliver on the promising data with entinostat. Michael comes to Syndax as an accomplished leader and builder of biotechnology companies and has a proven track record of success in creating value through business development and strategic financial transactions. Together they create an extraordinarily strong and complementary team capable of leading Syndax to the next level of success.”

“In 2015, we expect to build on the momentum generated from Syndax’s recent collaborations with Merck and Kyowa Hakko Kirin, with additional partnerships and multiple, near-term clinical milestones. Michael and I look forward to working with the executive team at Syndax to help realize entinostat’s and the company’s full potential,” said Morrison.

As executive vice president, global medicines development and chief medical officer at AstraZeneca from 2012 to 2015, Morrison led the company’s global, late-stage development organization and was a member of the AstraZeneca senior executive team. Previously, Morrison held a number of positions at Pfizer from 2007 to 2012 that culminated in his appointment as head, medical affairs, safety and regulatory affairs for Pfizer’s human health business.

Morrison previously worked in roles of increasing responsibility at Merck Research Laboratories from 1995 to 2007, where he was ultimately appointed to the role of vice president, clinical sciences, oncology, responsible for clinical development of all novel anti-cancer drugs. Morrison is chairman of the board of Transcelerate, a member of the executive committee of CTTI (a Clinical Trials Transformation Initiative sponsored by FDA) and is on the board of ACRES (Alliance for Clinical Research Excellence and Safety).

Metzger brings extensive experience leading and growing companies in the biopharmaceutical industry. Most recently, Metzger held the positions of president, CEO and a member of the board of directors of Regado Biosciences through the company’s strategic merger with Tobira Therapeutics in 2015. Previously, he was executive vice president and chief operating officer at Mersana Therapeutics, a privately held biopharmaceutical company, from 2011 to 2013, and in senior business development positions including leading mergers and acquisitions at Forest Laboratories from 2006 to 2011. Prior to Forest, Metzger was vice president, corporate development at Onconova Therapeutics, from 2001 until 2006, and was a managing director at Mesa Partners, a venture capital firm, from 1997 to 2001. 

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