SAN DIEGO, Calif.–(BUSINESS WIRE)–Kinnate Biopharma Inc., a precision oncology company focused on the discovery and development of novel kinase inhibitors, today announced the appointment of Nima Farzan as Chief Executive Officer, and a member of the Board of Directors. Farzan brings nearly two decades of executive leadership and commercial and development experience in the biopharmaceutical industry to the Kinnate team, most recently as president and CEO of PaxVax. Company co-founder and former CEO Stephen Kaldor, PhD, has been appointed Chairman.
Kinnate is developing best- and first-in-class small molecule therapies targeting kinases for genetically defined and hard-to-treat cancers. The company’s current portfolio includes a RAF dimer inhibitor targeting Class II and III mutations and an FGFR2/3 inhibitor. The company is also advancing a number of other programs, including a CDK12 inhibitor, which is a potentially first-in-class candidate.
“Kinnate has built unparalleled strength in structure-based drug design coupled with a deep understanding of the genetic mutations driving cancer progression through its internal expertise and scientific collaborations,” said Keith T. Flaherty, MD, Director of Clinical Research at the Massachusetts General Hospital Cancer Center, Professor of Medicine at Harvard Medical School and Kinnate Board member and Scientific Advisor. “Nima’s demonstrated leadership in building innovative science-focused commercial organizations will add invaluable experience to the Kinnate team as they continue to accelerate their portfolio of precision medicines towards clinical testing.”
At PaxVax, Farzan successfully led a team of 250 people through a number of commercial product launches and negotiated the acquisition of the company by Emergent BioSolutions in 2018. Prior to PaxVax, he held a series of roles with increasing responsibility at Novartis AG, most recently as Vice President of US Marketing in the company’s Vaccines & Diagnostics division. Prior to Novartis, Farzan worked at DoubleTwist, a pioneering genomics company, and was a consultant with Boston Consulting Group. He is currently a member of the Keros Therapeutics (NASDAQ: KROS) Board of Directors. Farzan holds a BA in Human Biology from Stanford University and an MBA from the Harvard Business School.
“With less than 10 percent of cancer patients benefiting from precision therapies, there remains a huge unmet medical need for genetically targeted medicines,” said Farzan. “It is a privilege to join a company of this caliber and work with such a seasoned group of drug discovery leaders and our world-class partners who, like us, are driven by the urgency of cancer patients who need more effective therapies.”
Kinnate has also announced today the appointment of Mark Meltz as Chief Operating Officer and General Counsel. Meltz joins Kinnate from Audentes Therapeutics where he was Senior Vice President and General Counsel and helped lead the sale of the company to Astellas Pharma in January 2020. Prior, he was Executive Vice President and Chief Business Development and Legal Officer at PaxVax where he helped lead the sale of the company to Emergent BioSolutions, served as Associate General Counsel at Biogen and was Head of Legal for North America at Novartis in its Vaccines & Diagnostics division. He holds a BA with Departmental Honors in Psychology from Yale University and a JD, Magna Cum Laude, from Boston College Law School.
In December 2019, Kinnate announced a $74.5M Series B financing and the expansion of its Board of Directors which in addition to Farzan and Dr. Kaldor, includes Dr. Flaherty (Massachusetts General Hospital, Harvard Medical School), Carl Gordon, PhD (OrbiMed), Michael Rome, PhD (Foresite Capital), and Brett Zbar, MD (Foresite Capital).
About Kinnate Biopharma Inc.
Kinnate Biopharma Inc. is a precision oncology company driven by our mission to deliver better outcomes for patients with limited treatment options. Our focused portfolio of best-in-class and first-in-class small-molecule candidates targeting kinases aims to deliver better outcomes by providing the right drug to the right patient. Headquartered in San Diego, the Kinnate team is composed of drug discovery experts supported by world-class investors and scientific advisors. For more information, please visit www.kinnate.com and follow Kinnate on LinkedIn.