Cedilla Therapeutics announced on 6/28/2018 the appointment of three vice presidents with extensive experience in drug discovery to advance the company’s mission of harnessing existing protein stability mechanisms to redirect the course of disease.
Dale Porter, Ph.D., a veteran oncology researcher with experience from the Broad Institute and Novartis, has recently joined as vice president of biology. Iván Cornella-Taracido, Ph.D., former director of chemical biology at Merck Research Laboratories, joins Cedilla as vice president of proteomics and chemical biology. Eric Schwartz, Ph.D., former executive director of chemistry at Celgene, will be vice president of drug discovery.
“Dale, Iván and Eric are exceptional additions to the Cedilla team as we work to uncover the mechanisms that govern protein stability and apply those insights to drug development,” said Brian Jones, Ph.D., chief scientific officer at Cedilla. “Their complementary backgrounds in discovery and translational oncology, proteomics, chemical biology and medicinal chemistry, together with a combined 55 years of drug discovery experience, position us very nicely to succeed in developing novel treatments for cancer and other diseases by harnessing the endogenous mechanisms that underpin protein stability.”
Dale Porter, Ph.D. comes to Cedilla from the Broad Institute of MIT and Harvard, where he researched novel approaches for treating cancer. Most recently, he directed oncology drug discovery research in the William Sellers Lab, which is focused on the intersection of cancer biology and cancer genomics. Porter, who previously worked at Novartis, is co-author on more than 30 cancer research publications. He has a B.S. in biology and a Ph.D. in physiology from Cornell University and completed a postdoctoral fellowship in cancer genomics at the Dana-Farber Cancer Institute.
Iván Cornella-Taracido, Ph.D. joins Cedilla from Merck Research Laboratories, where he was the director of chemical biology. Prior to Merck, Cornella-Taracido held leadership positions at AstraZenca, where he established and managed the global chemical biology team; Sanofi, where he founded the company’s chemical genetics and proteomics team; and Novartis, where he was a founding member of the small molecule target identification and mode of action elucidation (TIDMoA) platform. Cornella-Taracido has a B.Sc. in chemistry, an M.Sc. in organic chemistry and a Ph.D. in organic chemistry from the Universidade da Coruña in Spain. He completed postdoctoral work at the Institute of Chemistry & Cell Biology of Harvard Medical School (now the Broad Institute of MIT and Harvard) and in the Boston College chemistry department.
C. Eric Schwartz, Ph.D. most recently served as executive director of chemistry at Celgene, where he led a covalent BTK inhibitor research program and helped establish a chemical biology group at the Cambridge site, while also serving as a core member of the executive team. Prior to Celgene, he held positions at Avila Therapeutics, Resolvyx Pharmaceuticals, Biogen Idec, UCB Research, Inc. and the Eisai Research Institute. Schwartz has a B.S. in chemistry from Ohio State University and a Ph.D. in organic chemistry from the University of Wisconsin-Madison. He also spent two years studying organic synthesis as a postdoctoral fellow at the University of Pittsburgh.
Cedilla is making a concentrated effort to understand the principles that govern protein stability with the goal of applying those principles to target proteins that drive cancer and other diseases. From the moment of protein translation and folding, multiple factors contribute to a protein’s stability, including conformational states, post-translational modifications and protein-protein interactions. Cedilla intends to exploit these mechanisms governing protein stability to redirect the course of disease.
Cedilla was launched in April of 2018 with a $56 million investment from Third Rock Ventures.