BOSTON–(BUSINESS WIRE)–Verastem Oncology (Nasdaq:VSTM), a biopharmaceutical company committed to advancing new medicines for patients with cancer, today announced the appointment of Karin Tollefson to its Board of Directors, effective May 15, 2023. Dr. Tollefson is the Senior Vice President and Head of Global Medical Affairs at Seagen Inc. where she has led the medical organization through the successful launches of three practice-changing medicines and established a global medical affairs organization.
“Karin’s deep oncology and pharmaceutical experience and her work bringing groundbreaking new medicines to patients will be important as Verastem moves from late-stage development to commercial preparation,” said Michael Kauffman, M.D., Ph.D., Lead Director of the Verastem Oncology Board of Directors. “I am pleased to welcome Dr. Tollefson to the Board of Directors and to work with her to support the successful progress of Verastem’s avutometinib development program in combinations across RAS pathway-driven tumors.”
“I’m looking forward to bringing my medical affairs and program development expertise to the significant progress at Verastem to address difficult-to-treat RAS pathway-driven tumors as a member of the Board of Directors,” said Dr. Tollefson. “My recent launch experiences and insights in addressing the needs of patients and the healthcare community will be timely as the company works toward potential availability of a treatment for recurrent low-grade serous ovarian cancer, an area of significant unmet need.”
Karin Tollefson has 30 years of experience in the pharmaceutical industry and is a proven leader in global oncology development and medical affairs. Dr. Tollefson spent much of her early career at Eli Lilly and Company serving in progressive leadership roles in clinical operations, clinical development, portfolio & program management, and global medical affairs. She supported Lilly’s acquisition and integration of ImClone Systems in 2008 and was part of the Oncology Business Unit Leadership team until her retirement in 2017. During her career, she has been involved in the launch of eight new medicines and numerous additional indications in the U.S. and international markets, serving patients in over 10 tumor and therapeutic areas. Dr. Tollefson has served on the philanthropic boards of the American Lung Association and the Leukemia and Lymphoma Society Indiana Board of Trustees. She started her undergraduate studies at Kansas State University and earned her Doctor of Pharmacy from the University of Kansas.
About Avutometinib (VS-6766)
Avutometinib is a RAF/MEK clamp that induces inactive complexes of MEK with ARAF, BRAF and CRAF potentially creating a more complete and durable anti-tumor response through maximal RAS pathway inhibition. Avutometinib is currently in late-stage development.
In contrast to other MEK inhibitors, avutometinib blocks both MEK kinase activity and the ability of RAF to phosphorylate MEK. This unique mechanism allows avutometinib to block MEK signaling without the compensatory activation of MEK that appears to limit the efficacy of other inhibitors. The U.S. Food and Drug Administration granted Breakthrough Therapy designation for the combination of Verastem Oncology’s investigational RAF/MEK clamp avutometinib, with defactinib, its FAK inhibitor, for the treatment of all patients with recurrent low-grade serous ovarian cancer (LGSOC) regardless of KRAS status after one or more prior lines of therapy, including platinum-based chemotherapy.
Verastem Oncology is currently conducting clinical trials with its RAF/MEK clamp avutometinib in RAS- driven tumors as part of its (Raf And Mek Program). RAMP 201 is a registration-directed trial of avutometinib in combination with defactinib in patients with recurrent LGSOC. Verastem Oncology has established clinical collaborations with Amgen and Mirati to evaluate LUMAKRAS® (sotorasib) and KRAZATI® (adagrasib) in combination with avutometinib in KRAS G12C mutant NSCLC as part of the RAMP 203 and RAMP 204 trials, respectively. As part of the “Therapeutic Accelerator Award” Verastem Oncology received from PanCAN, Verastem Oncology is conducting RAMP 205, a Phase 1b/2 clinical trial evaluating avutometinib and defactinib with gemcitabine/nab-paclitaxel in patients with front-line metastatic pancreatic cancer.
About Verastem Oncology
Verastem Oncology (Nasdaq: VSTM) is a development-stage biopharmaceutical company committed to the development and commercialization of new medicines to improve the lives of patients diagnosed with cancer. Our pipeline is focused on novel small molecule drugs that inhibit critical signaling pathways in cancer that promote cancer cell survival and tumor growth, including RAF/MEK inhibition and focal adhesion kinase (FAK) inhibition. For more information, please visit www.verastem.com.