Verastem focused on discovering and developing drugs to treat cancer, has announced several changes to the company’s board of directors. Michael Kauffman, M.D., Ph.D., who has served as a director since November 2012, will become lead director and Bruce J. Wendel will join the board as an independent director.
“Bruce is a proven leader whose experience building companies and bringing oncology drugs to market will prove invaluable as we work to unlock the potential of our pipeline,” said Robert Forrester, president and chief executive officer of Verastem. “His work in the development and commercialization of Abraxane as CEO of Abraxis will provide important insight as we move forward.”
As the company and board transitions, Henri Termeer and Christoph Westphal, M.D., Ph.D., will step down from their roles as directors. Separately, Stephen Sherwin, M.D., will transition from his role as director to become a member of Verastem’s clinical and scientific advisory board.
Forrester said, “As we welcome Bruce to the board, we also deeply thank Christoph and Henri, both industry leaders, who helped shape our vision and strategy, for their many years of service. We also welcome Steve to his new role and look forward to working closely with him on our clinical and scientific advisory board.”
“Verastem is positioned to play a leading role in oncology by enhancing the key mechanisms that drive responses to cancer,” said Wendel. “This science driven approach is what has attracted me to Verastem, and I look forward to contributing to the company’s growth and future value creation as a director.”
Bruce Wendel currently serves as chief strategic officer of Hepalink USA, the U.S. subsidiary of Shenzhen Hepalink Pharmaceutical Company. Prior to Hepalink, Wendel served as vice chairman and chief executive officer at Abraxis BioScience, where he oversaw the development and commercialization of Abraxane. He also led the negotiations that culminated in the acquisition of Abraxis by Celgene in a deal valued at over $2.9 billion. Prior to Abraxis, Wendel served in business and corporate development roles of increasing responsibility at American Pharmaceutical Partners, IVAX and Bristol-Myers Squibb. He began his 14 years with Bristol-Myers Squibb as in-house counsel before shifting to global business and corporate development. He currently serves as a director of ProMetic Life Sciences.