Ribon Therapeutics Strengthens Scientific Advisory Board with Appointment of Neal Rosen, M.D., Ph.D.
Cambridge, MA – Dec. 18, 2019 – Ribon Therapeutics, a clinical stage biotechnology company developing first-in-class therapeutics targeting novel enzyme families activated under cellular stress conditions, today announced the appointment of Neal Rosen, M.D., Ph.D., to its scientific advisory board (SAB). Dr. Rosen is a Member of the Molecular Pharmacology Program and the Department of Medicine at Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center (MSK).
“Neal’s experience identifying and elucidating new molecular signaling pathways and understanding how to transform these early discoveries into effective drug development strategies fits perfectly with the work we’re undertaking at Ribon,” said Victoria Richon, Ph.D., President and Chief Executive Officer, Ribon Therapeutics. “We see great untapped potential for the development of novel, first-in-class therapeutics that target the novel stress response pathways that many cancers rely on for survival, and working with experts such as Neal, who have successfully forged new paths in drug development will be invaluable.”
“Targeting stress response pathways to treat cancer has great potential, and shares similarities with the discovery and therapeutic targeting of kinase pathways, an area I have spent much of my career working to better understand and advance,” commented Dr. Rosen. “It is now understood that stress response pathways play a wide range of roles aiding cancer development and growth. I look forward to working with this truly pioneering team.”
“Ribon has done tremendous work taking its foundational discoveries and translating them into development programs, as evidenced by how quickly the Company was able to advance their lead program, RBN-2397, into the clinic,” said Jim Audia, Ph.D., Chairman of the Ribon SAB. “At this point in the Company’s development, Neal is a fantastic addition to Ribon’s already stellar SAB, bringing his vast experience in the development and understanding of novel cancer targets and therapeutics to Ribon’s developing pipeline.”
Dr. Rosen’s major interests involve identification and study of the key molecular events and growth signaling pathways responsible for the development of human cancers, and the use of this information for the development of mechanism-based therapeutic strategies. Dr. Rosen has pioneered the concepts that feedback inhibition of physiologic signaling is an important consequence of oncogene activation that shapes the phenotype of cancer cells and that relief of this feedback in tumors treated with inhibitors of oncoprotein-activated signaling causes adaptive resistance to these drugs. Recent work from the Rosen laboratory includes the elucidation of the underlying mechanisms whereby mutated BRAF genes cause cancer and the discovery that these mutations may be divided into three different classes that determine the effective strategies for their treatment. These studies predicted several of the cellular mechanisms whereby tumors develop acquired resistance and adaptive resistance to standard therapy and the discovery and development of new drugs that will reverse this resistance. Recently, the Rosen laboratory has also focused on the development of the first direct inhibitor of RAS, a gene involved in the development of 25% of human cancers. This work, in addition to other recent studies by the Rosen laboratory on the consequences of relief of negative feedback by oncoprotein inhibitors, has led to multiple clinical trials of combination therapies at Memorial Sloan Kettering and other cancer centers in the United States and internationally that have shown promising early results. He is the incumbent of the Enid A. Haupt Chair in Medical Oncology at MSK and the recipient of the Lifetime Achievement Award from the Society for Melanoma Research.
Dr. Rosen received his undergraduate degree in chemistry from Columbia College and an M.D. and Ph.D. in Molecular Biology from the Albert Einstein College of Medicine. He completed a residency in Internal Medicine at the Brigham and Women’s Hospital, and postdoctoral training and a fellowship in Medical Oncology at the National Cancer Institute. He was on the senior staff of the Medicine Branch at the NCI prior to joining the faculty of MSK.
RBN-2397 – Inhibiting PARP7, a Key MonoPARP Cancer Dependency
Ribon’s lead program, RBN-2397, is focused on inhibiting overactive PARP7 in tumors, which has been shown to play a key role in cancer survival. Ribon’s research has discovered that many cancer cells rely on PARP7 for intrinsic cell survival, and that PARP7 allows cancer cells to “hide” from the immune system. Ribon has demonstrated that inhibition of PARP7 with RBN-2397 can potently inhibit the growth of cancer cells and restore interferon signaling, effectively releasing the “brake” cancer uses to hide from the immune system and suppress both innate and adaptive immune mechanisms. In several cancer models, RBN-2397 demonstrated durable tumor growth inhibition, potent antiproliferative activity and restoration of interferon signaling. Ribon plans to initially develop RBN-2397 in squamous cell carcinoma of the lung, where research has shown PARP7 to be genetically amplified. The company also plans to explore RBN-2397 for the treatment of additional cancers, including cancers of the aerodigestive tract, pancreatic cancer and ovarian cancer.
PARP7 is a member of the monoPARP family of proteins, which are key regulators of stress responses that enable cancer cells to survive and also evade immune detection, and emerging science has linked their activity with disease development. MonoPARPs are a family of 12 enzymes that are functionally and structurally distinct from the more well-known polyPARPs, such as PARP1/2. MonoPARPs function across a variety of stress responses relevant to disease development in cancer, inflammatory conditions and neurodegenerative diseases. Ribon has built an integrated technology platform to interrogate monoPARPs to develop first-in-class, small molecule therapeutics.
About Ribon Therapeutics
Ribon Therapeutics is a biotechnology company developing first-in-class therapeutics targeting novel enzyme families activated under cellular stress conditions that contribute to disease. We are exploring novel areas of biology to develop effective treatments for patients with limited therapeutic options. Leveraging a chemical biology approach and our proprietary discovery platform, we are building a pipeline of selective, small molecule inhibitors to numerous NAD+ utilizing enzymes, beginning with monoPARPs, which have applications across multiple therapeutic areas. Our lead program is RBN-2397, a first-in-class PARP7 inhibitor in development for the treatment of cancer. Ribon is located in Cambridge, Massachusetts. For more information, please visit www.ribontx.com.