Blueprint Medicines, a Cambridge, Mass.-based company that’s developing cancer therapies, has made Chris Varma, its founding president and an entrepreneur-in-residence at Third Rock Ventures, its permanent president and CEO. The company has also named Daniel Lynch as executive chairman of its board. Lynch spent nearly five years at ImClone Systems, including as CEO and CFO.
Blueprint Medicines, a company harnessing the understanding of the molecular blueprint of cancer to develop personalized, highly-selective cancer therapies, today announced the addition of Daniel S. Lynch as executive chairman of its board of directors. In addition, Blueprint Medicines announced that Chris Varma, Ph.D., founding president and chief executive officer of Blueprint Medicines and entrepreneur-in-residence (EIR) at Third Rock Ventures, has been appointed as permanent president and chief executive officer.
“I am delighted to welcome Dan to our board as executive chairman and excited to continue to lead the exceptional team we have assembled at Blueprint Medicines,” said Dr. Varma. “Blueprint Medicines is well positioned to leverage our proprietary genomics platform and extensive chemical library to transform the current treatment paradigm for cancer and develop truly personalized cancer medicines for patients of high unmet need.”
Mr. Lynch brings more than 25 years of experience serving in management and board positions in the biotechnology and pharmaceutical industries. Mr. Lynch spent nearly five years at ImClone Systems, serving as chief executive officer and chief financial officer. As CEO, he led ImClone through a significant turnaround, including securing FDA approval of ERBITUX(R) (cetuximab), an important new cancer treatment. As CFO, Mr. Lynch led negotiations to form the major partnership between ImClone and Bristol-Myers Squibb. Earlier in his career, he served in various financial positions at Bristol-Myers Squibb over a 15-year tenure. He served on the board of directors and the audit committee of U.S. Oncology, Inc. for five years until December 2010 when it was acquired by McKesson. More recently, Mr. Lynch was executive chairman of the board for Avila Therapeutics and Stromedix, which were successfully acquired by Celgene and Biogen Idec Inc., respectively. In addition to Blueprint Medicines, Mr. Lynch is currently a member of the board of directors for bluebird bio, Edimer Pharmaceuticals, Ember Therapeutics and BIND Biosciences. Mr. Lynch received his B.A. in mathematics from Wesleyan University and his MBA from the Darden Graduate School of Business Administration at the University of Virginia.
“I believe there is great promise in the company’s ability to identify and validate potential drivers of cancer and leverage these insights to develop highly selective therapies,” said Mr. Lynch. “It is an exciting time to join the company’s board and be part of its growth and development under Chris’ leadership.”
Dr. Varma co-founded Blueprint Medicines at Third Rock Ventures, a Boston based life sciences venture capital firm, where he joined the firm to develop and build new companies as an entrepreneur-in-residence. While at Third Rock Ventures, Dr. Varma also helped to create Warp Drive Bio. Prior to Third Rock Ventures, Dr. Varma was a partner at Flagship Ventures focusing on life science investments. During his last year at Flagship, he also served as the president, chief executive officer and director of Selventa (formerly known as Genstruct, Inc.), a Flagship portfolio company, where he led a rapid turnaround that achieved profitability in less than a year. Before joining Flagship, he oversaw efforts spanning clinical development, business development and sales and marketing at Novartis AG. Prior to Novartis, he was at Millennium Pharmaceuticals, and before that worked for the U.S. Food and Drug Administration. Dr. Varma holds a Ph.D. in biomedical engineering from the Harvard-MIT Division of Health Sciences & Technology, a M.S. in management from Stanford University, and both a M.S. and B.S. in computer science from Stanford University.
Mark Levin, partner, Third Rock Ventures and board member, Blueprint Medicines added, “While we are sad to lose Chris at Third Rock, the appointment of Chris to CEO of Blueprint Medicines is an excellent example of our approach to building great companies with the best talent. We look forward to working with Chris, Dan and the rest of the team to realize the full potential of the Blueprint Medicines approach to personalized cancer medicine.”
About Blueprint Medicines
Blueprint Medicines is driving the development of personalized, highly selective cancer therapies that harness the growing understanding of the molecular blueprint of cancer. Using its powerful Insights-to-Validation(TM) Platform and proprietary chemical library, Blueprint Medicines is working to develop new therapeutic compounds and combination therapies that target the molecular aberrations that cause cancer and the emerging resistance mechanisms that make it increasingly difficult to treat. Blueprint Medicines was founded in 2011 by a proven team of scientists, including Nicholas Lydon, Ph.D., and Brian Druker, M.D., entrepreneurs with world-renowned expertise in the development of targeted cancer therapies, cancer genomics, and rational drug development, and Third Rock Ventures. Fidelity Biosciences joined as an investor in 2012. Blueprint Medicines is poised to realize the promise of the cancer data “revolution”: truly personalized therapies that improve outcomes and shift cancer to a manageable condition. For more information on Blueprint Medicines, please visit the company’s website at www.blueprintmedicines.com .
SOURCE: Blueprint Medicines