Syndax Pharmaceuticals, the Massachusetts-based oncology company, took on Arlene Morris to its board of directors. Morris was most recently the CEO and board member of Affymax Inc., the biopharma company spun from GlaxoSmithKline. Among Syndax’s backers are Domain Associates, MPM Capital, Avalon, Pappas and Forward Ventures.
WALTHAM, Mass., June 8, 2011 — Syndax Pharmaceuticals, a clinical-stage epigenetics oncology company, announced that Arlene Morris has been elected to the board of directors. Ms. Morris most recently was the chief executive officer and a member of the board of directors of Affymax, Inc., a biopharmaceutical company that was spun out of GlaxoSmithKline (GSK) in 2001 to develop a pipeline of synthetic peptide-based drug candidates for the treatment of anemia in dialysis patients.
“Arlene is bringing to Syndax extensive biotechnology and pharmaceutical experience in general management, marketing, sales, business development and strategic marketing,” said Dennis Podlesak, chairman of the Syndax board of directors. “With entinostat entering a phase 3 program this is a great time for Arlene to leverage her extensive experience and provide guidance as we are moving in to the final stages of clinical development.”
“I am excited to join the board as Syndax moves into pivotal trials with entinostat in women with metastatic breast cancer, an area where resistance poses an ongoing problem,” said Ms. Morris. “Syndax provides a great opportunity for me to contribute to the direction of a company with a promising oncology pipeline aimed at improving survival outcomes with a non-chemotherapy option.”
During her eight years as president and CEO at Affymax, Ms. Morris led the company through the development of peginesatide (Hematide(TM)), a strategic collaboration with Takeda and an Initial Public Offering. Prior to Affymax Ms. Morris was the president and CEO of Clearview Projects, an advisory firm which counsels biopharmaceutical and biotechnology companies on strategic transactions. Before that she was the senior vice president, business development at Coulter, a biotechnology company focused on immunotherapeutic approaches to cancer, autoimmune and infectious diseases, where she completed numerous transactions including a $1.0 billion merger between Corixa and Coulter. Ms. Morris began her career at Johnson & Johnson (J&J) as a sales representative rising to vice president of business development.
Ms. Morris received her bachelor’s degree in biology and chemistry from Carlow College. In addition to Syndax Ms. Morris serves on the board of directors of Neovacs, MediciNova and Humane Society of Silicon Valley.
Syndax Pharmaceuticals, Inc. is a Waltham, MA-based, oncology-focused pharmaceutical company. Syndax is building a portfolio of new oncology products to extend and improve the lives of patients by developing and commercializing novel cancer therapies in optimized, mechanistically driven combination regimens. Syndax’s lead product candidate is entinostat, an orally bioavailable, highly selective, class I histone deacetylase (HDAC) inhibitor with a long half-life that allows for weekly or every-other-week dosing. The robust clinical program for entinostat includes: a randomized, phase 2 clinical trial in patients with advanced non-small cell lung cancer that showed a survival advantage in a subset of the population, a completed randomized, placebo-controlled phase 2 trial in advanced breast cancer that will be presented later this year, nine ongoing trials in various cancers including advanced breast, non-small-cell lung cancer and colorectal cancer and a pivotal program that is being planned for women with advanced metastatic estrogen-receptor positive breast cancer. Formed in 2005 the company’s intellectual property is based on work from scientific founder Ronald Evans, Ph.D., recipient of the 2004 Albert Lasker Prize for Basic Medical Research, a Member of the National Academy of Sciences, a professor at the Salk Institute for Biological Studies and a Howard Hughes Medical Institute Investigator. Syndax has worldwide rights to develop and commercialize entinostat and is backed by top-tier Venture Capital firms: Domain Associates, MPM Capital, Avalon, Pappas and Forward Ventures. For more information please visit www.syndax.com.