CAMBRIDGE, Mass., July 23, 2018 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) -- Epizyme, Inc. (NASDAQ:EPZM), a clinical-stage company developing novel epigenetic therapies, today announced the appointment of Dr. Shefali Agarwal as chief medical officer, effective July 23, 2018. In this role, Dr. Agarwal will oversee all of the company's activities related to the global strategic development of tazemetostat, a potent, selective, orally available EZH2 inhibitor, as well as additional pipeline candidates. A trained physician with expertise in medical oncology, Dr. Agarwal brings nearly two decades of clinical research and regulatory experience to Epizyme.
“Dr. Agarwal’s distinguished career in both academia and the biotech industry make her an ideal candidate to lead our clinical organization and oversee the development of innovative therapies to potentially treat a range of solid tumor and hematological malignancies for which significant needs exist,” said Robert Bazemore, president and chief executive officer of Epizyme. “Her proven leadership and understanding of the patient community, as well as the healthcare providers who care for them, will be instrumental as we continue to advance our lead product candidate, tazemetostat.”
“I look forward to joining this dynamic management team, and leading the next phase of clinical development for tazemetostat, as well as for EZM8266, our novel agent that targets G9a for the treatment of sickle cell disease, as we prepare it to enter the clinic,” said Dr. Agarwal. “I believe that Epizyme’s scientific vision and innovative approach will drive the continued success of the company, as we work together to deliver promising new options for underserved patients.”
Over the span of her career, Dr. Agarwal has held leadership positions across medical research, clinical development, clinical operations, and medical affairs. She has led clinical and regulatory engagements for small molecules, biologics, liposomal and cell therapy products across the full spectrum of drug development, from pre-IND work to filing. Dr. Agarwal most recently served as chief medical officer at SQZ Biotech, where she built and led the clinical development organization, which included clinical research operations and the regulatory function. She brings significant oncology experience to Epizyme, having held leadership positions at Curis and Tesaro. At Curis, Dr. Agarwal oversaw the Phase 2 study for its dual HDAC/PI3K inhibitor in diffuse large B-cell lymphoma, and the Phase 1 study in solid tumors for its oral checkpoint inhibitor. At Tesaro, Dr. Agarwal led the NDA and EMA submissions for ZEJULA® (niraparib) in ovarian cancer. She has also held positions of increasing responsibility at Covidien, AVEO Oncology and Pfizer.
In addition to receiving her MBBS medical degree from Karnataka University’s Mahadevappa Rampure Medical School in India, Dr. Agarwal earned a master’s of public health from Johns Hopkins University, where she led clinical research in the Department of Anesthesiology and Critical Care Medicine. She also holds a master’s of science in business from the University of Baltimore’s Merrick School of Business.
About Epizyme, Inc.
Epizyme, Inc. is a clinical-stage biopharmaceutical company committed to rewriting treatment for cancer and other serious diseases through novel epigenetic medicines. Epizyme is broadly developing its lead product candidate, tazemetostat, a first-in-class EZH2 inhibitor, with studies underway in both solid tumors and hematological malignancies, as a monotherapy and combination therapy in relapsed and front-line disease. The company is also developing a novel G9a program with its next development candidate, EZM8266, which is targeting sickle cell disease. By focusing on the genetic drivers of disease, Epizyme's science seeks to match targeted medicines with the patients who need them. For more information, visit www.epizyme.com.
Cautionary Note on Forward-Looking Statements
Any statements in this press release about future expectations, plans and prospects for Epizyme, Inc. and other statements containing the words "anticipate," "believe," "estimate," "expect," "intend," "may," "plan," "predict," "project," "target," "potential," "will," "would," "could," "should," "continue," and similar expressions, constitute forward-looking statements within the meaning of The Private Securities Litigation Reform Act of 1995. Actual results may differ materially from those indicated by such forward-looking statements as a result of various important factors, including: uncertainties relating to the Company’s ability to resume enrollment in its tazemetostat trials and the timing of such resumption, and the impact of the safety finding on enrollment of patients in ongoing and future trials of tazemetostat following the lifting of the partial clinical hold and the resumption of enrollment; uncertainties inherent in the initiation of future clinical studies and in the availability and timing of data from ongoing clinical studies; whether interim results from a clinical trial will be predictive of the final results of the trial; whether results from preclinical studies or earlier clinical studies will be predictive of the results of future trials; whether results from clinical studies will warrant meetings with regulatory authorities, submissions for regulatory approval or review by governmental authorities under the accelerated approval process; whether Fast Track Designation and Orphan Drug Designations will provide the benefits for which tazemetostat is eligible; expectations for regulatory approvals to conduct trials or to market products; whether the company's cash resources will be sufficient to fund the company's foreseeable and unforeseeable operating expenses and capital expenditure requirements; other matters that could affect the availability or commercial potential of the company's therapeutic candidates; and other factors discussed in the "Risk Factors" section of the company's most recent Form 10-Q filed with the SEC and in the company's other filings from time to time with the SEC. In addition, the forward-looking statements included in this press release represent the company's views as of the date hereof and should not be relied upon as representing the company's views as of any date subsequent to the date hereof. The company anticipates that subsequent events and developments will cause the company's views to change. However, while the company may elect to update these forward-looking statements at some point in the future, the company specifically disclaims any obligation to do so.
Erin Graves, Epizyme, Inc.
Jason Fredette, Epizyme, Inc.