SAN DIEGO, September 14, 2020 /PRNewswire/ - Viracta Therapeutics, Inc. ("Viracta" or the "Company"), a precision oncology company targeting virus-associated malignancies, today announced the appointment of Roger J. Pomerantz, MD, FACP, as Chairman of its Board of Directors (the "Board"). Dr. Pomerantz succeeds James Woody, MD, PhD, who has served as Chairman of the Board since 2015. Dr. Woody will remain a member of the Board.
"It's been an honor to serve as Chairman and I am pleased to hand my responsibilities to someone with Roger's credentials, enthusiasm and strategic vision," said Dr. Woody. "The immense value of Roger's leadership and clinical development experience has been apparent since he joined Viracta's Board earlier this year and will increase as he assumes his new role as Chairman. As a co-founding investor, I look forward to my continued service on the Board as Viracta positions itself to address a significant unmet medical need by bringing its novel therapeutic product to patients with cancers associated with the Epstein-Barr virus and for continued growth through the advancement and expansion of its clinical pipeline."
"I am greatly looking forward to my expanded role at Viracta as Chairman of the Board. Viracta is well-positioned for significant value creation in the near term, as we are poised to achieve multiple clinical and corporate milestones over the coming months," said Dr. Pomerantz. "As latent viral infections were a significant part of my research career, I am honored to work at Viracta, whose research and development is a culmination of many scientists' discoveries on latent viral infections in humans. Viracta has now brought the basic research to the design of novel and targeted drug candidates for patients suffering with these viral-induced oncological diseases. Viracta is breaking new ground as we better characterize the role of latent viruses in cancer, and I look forward to working with the team to lead the Company forward."
Ivor Royston, MD, President and Chief Executive Officer of Viracta added, "The Company is excited about having on our team a person of Roger's caliber and extensive experience, who has brought so many valuable anti-viral and anti-bacterial drugs to market. We look forward to Roger's expanded role and the continued benefit of his strategic guidance, operational experience, and leadership. I would like to thank Jim for his contributions and support as Chairman and look forward to working with each in their new roles."
Prior to his appointment as Chairman, Dr. Pomerantz was appointed as an independent Director on Viracta's Board in July 2020.
Dr. Pomerantz has extensive experience in the biotech and pharmaceutical industries and is currently the President, Chief Executive Officer (CEO) and Chairman of the Board of Directors of ContraFect Corporation. He also serves on the Board of Directors of Intec Pharma, Collplant Biotechnologies, Silicon Therapeutics and X-Vax Inc., and is the Chairman of the Scientific Advisory Board of Aridis Pharmaceuticals. Dr. Pomerantz was a Venture Partner at Flagship Pioneering from 2014 through 2019. In addition, he served as the President, CEO and Chairman of the Board of Seres Therapeutics from 2014-2019, where he continues to serve as Senior Advisor to its Board of Directors. Previously, Dr. Pomerantz was Senior Vice President, Worldwide Head of Licensing & Acquisition at Merck & Co., Inc. and prior to that was Senior Vice President and Global Franchise Head of Infectious Diseases at Merck. Prior to joining Merck, Dr. Pomerantz was Global Head of Infectious Diseases for Johnson & Johnson Pharmaceuticals. He also served as CEO of Tibotec Pharmaceuticals, Inc.
Dr. Pomerantz has led the development of twelve small and large molecular drugs approved globally in a wide range of important human diseases.
Dr. Pomerantz received his BA in Biochemistry at Johns Hopkins University and his MD at the Johns Hopkins School of Medicine. He received post-graduate training at the Massachusetts General Hospital, Harvard Medical School and M.I.T. Dr. Pomerantz is Board Certified in both Internal Medicine and Infectious Diseases. He was Professor of Medicine, Biochemistry and Molecular Pharmacology, Chief of Infectious Diseases, and the Founding Director and Chair of the Institute for Human Virology and Biodefense at the Thomas Jefferson University and Medical School.
Viracta is a precision oncology company targeting virus-associated malignancies. The Company's proprietary investigational drug, nanatinostat, is currently being evaluated in combination with the antiviral agent valganciclovir as an oral combination therapy in a Phase 2 clinical trial for Epstein-Barr virus (EBV)-positive lymphomas. Viracta is pursuing application of this kick and kill approach in other EBV- associated malignancies, such as nasopharyngeal carcinoma and gastric carcinoma, and other viral-related cancers.
For additional information please visit www.viracta.com.