Erasca Expands Leadership Team with Key Appointments
Experienced hires across multiple functions position Erasca for continued pipeline advancement
SAN DIEGO–(BUSINESS WIRE)–Erasca, a clinical-stage precision oncology company whose mission is to erase cancer and that is singularly focused on advancing therapies for patients with RAS/MAPK pathway-driven cancers, announced the expansion of its leadership team with key hires in finance, business development, operations, legal, regulatory, manufacturing, clinical pharmacology and data science.
“Over the past few years, we have significantly expanded our pipeline of precision oncology product candidates at Erasca,” said Jonathan E. Lim, M.D., Erasca’s chairman, CEO and co-founder. “The expansion of our leadership team and employees throughout our organization will enhance our capacity to continue to advance our novel programs for the potential benefit of patients with cancer. We are delighted to continue to recruit seasoned industry leaders who not only are exceptional at what they do, but also are motivated by our bold mission to erase cancer.”
About Brian Baker, CPA
Mr. Baker joined Erasca as senior vice president of finance. With more than 25 years of industry experience, he has provided executive level financial expertise to both public and private biotechnology companies, including Turning Point Therapeutics (TPTX), Cleave Biosciences and Phenomix Corporation. Prior to Erasca, Mr. Baker most recently served as senior vice president of finance and administration at TPTX, where he led all corporate accounting, finance and planning activities. He played a key role in TPTX’s growth from a small private company into a multibillion-dollar public company and helped complete five financings with combined proceeds in excess of $1.3 billion, including a $191 million initial public offering in April 2019.
Mr. Baker earned his B.S. and M.S. degrees from San Diego State University and is an active certified public accountant in the state of California.
About Rachel Cervantes, Ph.D.
Combining over a decade of experience in business development with a strong science background, Dr. Cervantes is Erasca’s vice president of business development. She joined Erasca from GW Pharmaceuticals, where she was responsible for developing the company’s external innovation strategy and leading its partnering activities from opportunity identification through agreement execution. Prior to GW, Dr. Cervantes held similar roles at Synthetic Genomics, Egalet Corporation and Inovio Pharmaceuticals. In these roles she negotiated buy-side and sell-side R&D deals, led cross-functional teams in developing and implementing therapeutic area strategy and established key commercial partnerships. Dr. Cervantes began her career at Merck, where she held roles of increasing responsibility within project and portfolio management, marketing and business development.
Dr. Cervantes earned a Ph.D. in molecular biology from the University of Cincinnati, an MBA from the Wharton School and a B.A. from the University of Hawai’i at Manoa.
About Nik Chetwyn, Ph.D.
As senior vice president of operations, Dr. Chetwyn brings over 20 years of experience in drug development to Erasca, where he works with our talented scientists and staff in the pharmaceutical development and operations (CMC), information technology, operations and facilities, quality assurance, and portfolio and program leadership groups. Dr. Chetwyn has worked at several major pharmaceutical companies, including GlaxoSmithKline, Pfizer and Genentech, spanning technical development from discovery to new drug application (NDA) filings (Wellbutrin®, Erivedge® and Cotellic®) and transfer to commercial groups. Upon joining Genentech in 2006, he helped build the small molecule drug development organization and drive the significant expansion of technical and drug manufacturing capabilities. During his Genentech tenure, Dr. Chetwyn served on multiple governance committees, was a technical development team leader, and represented Genentech on the board of directors for the Allotrope Foundation. Prior to joining Erasca, he was the co-founder and president of MindScienceConnection, Inc., a strategy and leadership development company that focused on partnering with biopharmaceutical companies to navigate the unique challenges of building and maintaining thriving research cultures while developing the scientific leaders of the future.
Dr. Chetwyn earned his M.S. and Ph.D. in pharmaceutical chemistry from the University of Kansas and his B.Sc. in chemical and pharmaceutical sciences from the University of Sunderland.
About Ebun Garner, J.D.
Mr. Garner is Erasca’s general counsel and corporate secretary. He has represented publicly traded life science companies for over 20 years and has served as an in-house counsel since 2005. During his career, Mr. Garner has been general counsel or assistant general counsel at early-stage biopharmaceutical companies and a medical device company, including Imbria Pharmaceuticals, Neurocrine Biosciences, Acadia Pharmaceuticals and Alphatec Spine. At each company, he provided legal support with respect to product development, business development, corporate finance and public company reporting. Prior to his in-house positions, he was a corporate associate at the New York office of the law firm of Mintz, Levin, Cohn, Ferris, Glovsky and Popeo.
Mr. Garner earned a B.A. in economics from the University of Pennsylvania and a J.D. from New York University School of Law.
About Chandra Lovejoy
Ms. Lovejoy joined Erasca as senior vice president of regulatory affairs, bringing 20 years of global drug development experience, ranging from pre-investigational new drug activities through NDA submission and post-approval. Her career has focused on oncology and has included drug/diagnostic development and novel trial designs and endpoints. She joined Erasca from G1 Therapeutics, where she was vice president of regulatory affairs and led health authority negotiations resulting in US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) breakthrough therapy designation and NDA approval for Cosela™. Ms. Lovejoy previously served as senior vice president, global regulatory affairs and head of quality at Sierra Oncology and vice president of global regulatory affairs at Endocyte. Earlier in her career, she held roles of increasing responsibility at Genentech, including as regulatory lead for Avastin®, and previously was at Avi BioPharma.
Ms. Lovejoy has an M.S. in regulatory affairs from San Diego State University and a B.S. in organizational behavior from the University of San Francisco.
About Minli Xie, Ph.D.
Dr. Xie joined Erasca as vice president of pharmaceutical development and operations bringing more than 20 years of experience in drug development from discovery candidate selection through registration and launch. Prior to Erasca, she was one of the first 20 employees at Myovant Sciences, serving as vice president of pharmaceutical operations and development, where she built the CMC organization and oversaw the CMC activities that helped support the successful development and approval of Orgovyx® and the combination product, Myfembree®, for multiple indications. Previously, Dr. Xie was head of small molecule technical operations at Medivation, and her team’s work enabled the registration and approval of Talzenna®. She also built and led the small molecule pharmaceutics team at Genentech, supporting the small molecule research and development projects, including Erivedge® and Cotellic®. She also worked at Bristol Myers Squibb and DuPont Merck in roles of increasing responsibility.
Dr. Xie has a Ph.D. in pharmaceutical chemistry and a B.S. in chemistry, both from the University of Kansas.
About Dawei Xuan, Ph.D.
Dr. Xuan serves as Erasca’s vice president of clinical pharmacology, bringing over 20 years of experience in drug discovery and development. He joined Erasca from Turning Point Therapeutics (TPTX), where he was vice president of clinical pharmacology and a member of the leadership team. He was responsible for overall strategy and execution of clinical pharmacology plans to support the pipeline at TPTX, where he helped advance repotrectinib into a registrational trial and achieve FDA breakthrough therapy designation for the treatment of patients with TKI-naïve ROS1-positive metastatic non-small cell lung cancer. Prior to TPTX, Dr. Xuan worked at Pfizer for 17 years where he held roles of increasing responsibility, most recently as senior director of clinical pharmacology in the Early Oncology Development and Clinical Research (EODCR) organization. During his tenure at Pfizer, he worked on numerous investigational drugs across small molecules, large molecules, antibody drug conjugates and bispecific antibodies. He contributed to the discovery and development of three marketed medicines, including Eliquis®, Inspra® and Ibrance®. Earlier in his career, he worked for nine years in clinical pharmacokinetics and pharmacodynamics of antimicrobial agents at the Center for Anti-infective Research and Development at Hartford Hospital.
Dr. Xuan earned his Ph.D. in pharmaceutical sciences from the University of Connecticut and his B.S. in pharmaceutical sciences from Peking University Health Science Center.
About Jing Yi, Ph.D.
As Erasca’s vice president of data science, Dr. Yi brings 15 years of experience in biometrics and drug development. Prior to Erasca, she took on a variety of roles of increasing responsibility at Roche/Genentech, most recently as the global development lead and group clinical science director, accountable for the overarching development strategy and program leadership of Tecentriq® in lung cancer and head and neck cancer. Dr. Yi was previously a biostatistics manager and biometrics lead at Roche/Genentech overseeing cancer immunotherapy products across a broad range of cancer types. She helped advance the development of tiragolumab in lung and head and neck cancer and Tecentriq® across various tumor types, including achieving breakthrough therapy designation and global registration for bladder and lung cancer as well as multiple line extensions. She supported Avastin® development and post-marketing programs across multiple oncology disease areas. She also represented biometrics at the Roche lung and cancer immunotherapy portfolio level and co-led multiple cross-oncology and cross-pharmaceutical initiatives.
Dr. Yi received her Ph.D. in statistics from the University of California, Berkeley and her B.S. in computational mathematics from the Qingdao University.
At Erasca, our name is our mission: To erase cancer. We are a clinical-stage precision oncology company singularly focused on discovering, developing, and commercializing therapies for patients with RAS/MAPK pathway-driven cancers. Our company was co-founded by leading pioneers in precision oncology and RAS targeting to create novel therapies and combination regimens designed to comprehensively shut down the RAS/MAPK pathway for the treatment of cancer. We have assembled what we believe to be the deepest RAS/MAPK pathway-focused pipeline in the industry. We believe our world-class team’s capabilities and experience, further guided by our scientific advisory board which includes the world’s leading experts in the RAS/MAPK pathway, uniquely position us to achieve our bold mission of erasing cancer. For more information, please visit www.erasca.com.
Erasca is a trademark of Erasca, Inc.
Heidi Chokeir, Ph.D.