Engine Biosciences Announces Updates in its Research and Development Leadership, Addition of Prominent Industry Drug Discovery and Development Advisor
Biopharma leader and existing Scientific Advisor David Epstein Ph.D. assumes interim role of Head of Research and Development (R&D)
Stephen Harrison Ph.D. transitions from Chief Scientific Officer to Advisor
Engine Bio’s advisory team of industry veterans strengthened by addition of Nicholas Saccomano Ph.D. as Scientific Advisor, Drug Discovery
SINGAPORE & REDWOOD CITY, CA – November 13, 2023 – Engine Biosciences (Engine Bio), a company discovering and developing precision oncology medicines, announced changes to its team, supporting progress on its pipeline and assets to clinical settings through internal development and partnering. Engine Bio has built an extensive development pipeline by leveraging its proprietary NetMAPPR and CombiGEM platforms, integrating machine learning, high-throughput biology, and drug discovery, to identify and validate targets, biomarkers, and therapeutics for clinical unmet needs.
Stephen Harrison Ph.D. has transitioned from Chief Scientific Officer to Scientific Advisor. Working with Engine Bio since 2018, he has played instrumental roles in the establishment and validation of Engine Bio’s target, biomarker, and drug discovery platforms to support a pipeline of prospective programs. David Epstein Ph.D., who has served as Scientific Advisor to Engine Bio since 2017, has assumed the additional role of Head of R&D, effective November 1, 2023, during this next stage of growing the company’s drug development capabilities and advancing its oncology pipeline.
“We are glad to have several proven drug development leaders recognize the potential of Engine Bio’s programs and platform and deeply engage with the company. David has been a key thought partner for Engine Bio since our early days, and I am excited to work with him in this more involved capacity, benefitting from his relevant expertise and leadership during Engine Bio’s next phase of advancement,” said Jeffrey Lu, Co-Founder and CEO of Engine Bio. “We sincerely thank Steve for his extensive contributions over the past five years as Engine Bio has grown considerably and is strongly positioned for drug development and partnerships to advance impact for patients.”
Epstein is a biopharmaceutical leader and executive who has successfully led large and small R&D teams in academic, start-up, mid-size, and global large-pharmaceutical settings. His teams have progressed more than a dozen novel agents through clinical development in oncology, cardiovascular disease, and retinal degeneration; and this work has led to one approved medicine and the formation of four venture-backed healthcare companies. Epstein is the former President & CEO of Black Diamond Therapeutics where he served from its scientific founding in 2016 through clinical proof-of-concept in 2023. He cumulatively raised over $475 million in private and public financing, including IPO on NASDAQ in 2020. He has also served as Chief Scientific Officer at OSI Pharmaceuticals (acquired by Astellas for over $4 billion), Vice-Dean (Innovation & Entrepreneurship) at Duke-NUS Medical School, and scientific founder and executive at Archemix, where he was inventor of Izervay™, an anti-C5 aptamer for treatment of geographic atrophy (GA) secondary to age-related macular degeneration (AMD). Izervay™ was acquired by Iveric Bio and sold to Astellas for $5.9 billion in 2023.
“Engine Bio’s pipeline of novel synthetic lethal programs addresses unmet needs for cancer patients,” said David Epstein Ph.D. “Having known Engine Bio and its team well for several years, I am delighted to work deeply with the company to move its programs forward into clinical development.”
In addition, Nicholas (Nick) Saccomano Ph.D., a seasoned drug hunter and chemistry leader with 35 years of experience, joined Engine Bioas Scientific Advisor, Drug Discovery. In this capacity, he is working closely with Engine Bio’s teams on its oncology programs advancing targeted therapies in selective genetic contexts. Saccomano was most recently Chief Scientific Officer and Site Head of Pfizer’s Boulder site, where he led a 170-person team that advanced a portfolio of small molecule programs from inception to proof-of-concept, and previously served as Chief Scientific Officer at Array Biopharma, where he was responsible for creating and advancing ten clinical-stage compounds, with seven drug approvals to date.
Saccomano joins additional experts relevant to the therapeutic and clinical translation of its novel biology insights on Engine Bio’s advisory board. These include George Trainor Ph.D. (Drug Discovery Advisor), who brings over 30 years of industry experience including as VP Oncology and Early Discovery Chemistry at BMS and previously at Dupont/Merck; and Jose Iglesias M.D. (Clinical Advisor), who brings over 30 years of oncology experience including leading clinical development as at Boston Biomedical, Celgene, Biothera, and Eli Lilly.
In October 2023, Engine Bio announced the completion of a $27 million Series A extension financing from a strong syndicate of existing and new institutional investors. The financing was led by Polaris Partners, and joined by ClavystBio (a life sciences venture investor set up by Temasek), Invus, Singapore-based global investor EDBI, Coronet Ventures (a Singapore-based investment entity of Cedars Sinai Intellectual Property Company) and SEEDS Capital (investment arm of Enterprise Singapore). The additions of proven industry veterans further execution towards Engine Bio’s goals.
About Engine Biosciences
Engine Biosciences is a venture-backed Singapore and Silicon Valley based company discovering and developing impactful precision medicines by deciphering complex biology with integrated computation and experimentation, with particular depth in oncology gained over several years of substantial investment and focus. Having pinpointed many promising drug targets and predictive biomarkers for patients most likely to benefit, Engine is advancing its pipeline of oncology therapeutics towards the clinic internally and with collaborators, and in other disease areas through partnerships. Engine’s team is motivated by opportunities to address significant unmet needs with more selective and effective precision medicines. For more information, please visit www.enginebio.com, and follow Engine on LinkedIn