Black Diamond Therapeutics Announces the Appointment of Rachel Humphrey, M.D., as Chief Medical Officer
Dr. Humphrey brings more than 20 years of experience as a leader in oncology drug development
CAMBRIDGE, Mass. and NEW YORK, Sept. 08, 2020 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) -- Black Diamond Therapeutics, Inc. (Nasdaq: BDTX), a precision oncology medicine company pioneering the discovery and development of small molecule, tumor-agnostic therapies, today announced the appointment of Rachel Humphrey, M.D., as Chief Medical Officer. Karsten Witt, M.D., who has been Senior Vice President of Clinical Development and acting Chief Medical Officer since May 2019, will continue to serve the Company as Senior Vice President (SVP), Non-Clinical Development.
“Rachel has pioneered the clinical development of numerous first-in-class oncology drugs spanning the broad landscape of oncology therapeutics, including first generation kinase inhibitors and immune checkpoint blockers. Her expertise in the field makes her the ideal person to lead Black Diamond’s strategy of using population-level cancer genome data to develop drugs that target rare and recurrent driver mutations across tumor types,” said David M. Epstein, Ph.D., President and Chief Executive Officer of Black Diamond Therapeutics. “Rachel’s leadership and oncology drug development experience will be essential as we advance BDTX-189 through clinical development and move our early stage pipeline programs into the clinic. I’d also like to thank Karsten for his tremendous contributions to Black Diamond to date, particularly his leadership in advancing BDTX-189 into the clinic, and we welcome his continued insights as he transitions to his new role.”
“Black Diamond’s innovative platform and drug discovery engine, coupled with a tumor-agnostic approach to drug development, has produced a uniquely compelling pipeline with the potential to target a broad range of cancers unaddressed by currently approved therapies,” said Dr. Humphrey. “I’m thrilled to join the dynamic team at Black Diamond to execute on the vision of extending precision oncology therapies for patients with genetically defined cancers for whom limited treatment options currently exist.”
Dr. Humphrey joins Black Diamond from CytomX Therapeutics, Inc., where she served as Chief Medical Officer and as a member of its Board of Directors. While at CytomX, she supervised the clinical development of Probody™ Therapeutics for the treatment of cancer. Previously, she held numerous senior leadership roles in cancer drug development, including Vice President (VP), Head of Immuno-Oncology at Eli Lilly and Company, SVP and Head of Immuno-Oncology at AstraZeneca, Executive VP and Chief Medical Officer at Mirati Therapeutics, and VP, Clinical Development at Bristol-Myers Squibb (BMS). Rachel also held multiple positions in global clinical development at Bayer. Rachel’s career is notable for, among other achievements, her overall supervision of the early and late-stage clinical development of ipilimumab (Yervoy®) at BMS and sorafenib (Nexavar®) at Bayer. Rachel received her M.D. from Case Western Reserve University and her B.A. from Harvard University. She received her training in internal medicine at The Johns Hopkins Hospital and started her career as an oncology fellow and staff physician at the National Cancer Institute in Bethesda, MD. She is also the lead singer and one of the co-founders of the band, The Checkpoints, a blues band made up of luminaries in immuno-oncology, including the Nobel Laureate, Jim Allison, and is featured in the movie “Jim Allison: Breakthrough,” which was released in the fall of 2019.
BDTX-189 is an orally available, irreversible small molecule inhibitor that is designed to block the function of an undrugged family of oncogenic proteins defined by driver mutations across a range of tumor types, and which affect both of the epidermal growth factor receptor (EGFR) and the tyrosine-protein kinase, ErbB-2, or human epidermal growth factor receptor 2 (HER2). These mutations include extracellular domain allosteric mutations of HER2, as well as EGFR and HER2 kinase domain exon 20 insertions, and additional activating oncogenic drivers of ErbB. The ErbB receptors are a group of receptor tyrosine kinases involved in key cellular functions, including cell growth and survival. BDTX-189 is also designed to spare normal, or wild type EGFR, which we believe has the potential to improve upon the toxicity profiles of current ErbB kinase inhibitors.
Currently, there are no medicines approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration to target all of these oncogenic mutations with a single therapy.
About Black Diamond
Black Diamond Therapeutics is a precision oncology medicine company pioneering the discovery of small molecule, tumor-agnostic therapies. Black Diamond targets undrugged mutations in patients with genetically defined cancers. Black Diamond is built upon a deep understanding of cancer genetics, protein structure and function, and medicinal chemistry. The Company’s proprietary technology platform, Mutation-Allostery-Pharmacology (MAP) platform, is designed to allow Black Diamond to analyze population-level genetic sequencing data to identify oncogenic mutations that promote cancer across tumor types, group these mutations into families, and develop a single small molecule therapy in a tumor-agnostic manner that targets a specific family of mutations. Black Diamond was founded by David M. Epstein, Ph.D. and Elizabeth Buck, Ph.D., and, beginning in 2017, together with Versant Ventures, began building the MAP platform and chemistry discovery engine. For more information, please visit www.blackdiamondtherapeutics.com.
Statements contained in this press release regarding matters that are not historical facts are “forward-looking statements” within the meaning of the Private Securities Litigation Reform Act of 1995. Because such statements are subject to risks and uncertainties, actual results may differ materially from those expressed or implied by such forward-looking statements. Such statements include, but are not limited to, statements regarding future plans or expectations for the Mutation-Allostery-Pharmacology platform, including the potential of the Company’s strategy and product candidates, and the continued development and advancement of the Company’s pipeline, including BDTX-189 and early-stage pipeline programs. Any forward-looking statements in this statement are based on management’s current expectations of future events and are subject to a number of risks and uncertainties that could cause actual results to differ materially and adversely from those set forth in or implied by such forward-looking statements. Risks that contribute to the uncertain nature of the forward-looking statements include: the success, cost, and timing of the Company’s product candidate development activities and planned clinical trials, the Company’s ability to execute on its strategy, regulatory developments in the United States, the Company’s ability to fund operations, and the impact that the current COVID-19 pandemic will have on the Company’s clinical trials, supply chain, and operations, as well as those risks and uncertainties set forth in its 2019 annual report on Form 10-K filed with the United States Securities and Exchange Commission and its other filings filed with the United States Securities and Exchange Commission. All forward-looking statements contained in this press release speak only as of the date on which they were made. The Company undertakes no obligation to update such statements to reflect events that occur or circumstances that exist after the date on which they were made.