Volastra Therapeutics Expands Leadership Team to Tackle Cancer

November 16, 2021

Company brings in experienced biopharma leaders to head translational, data science and business development functions and expands scientific leadership team in biology, immunology and chemistry

NEW YORK, NOVEMBER 16, 2021 – Volastra Therapeutics, a biotechnology company developing novel therapies for the treatment of cancer, today announced the expansion of its leadership team with key new hires in business development and translational science, as well as the promotion and expansion of leaders to helm its biology, immunology, data science and chemistry functions.

The company expanded its business development and translational science leadership teams with two new appointments: Scott Drutman, M.D., Ph.D., joins Volastra as Senior Vice President, Head of Translational Science from Regeneron Pharmaceuticals; and Rachel Zolot Schwartz, MBA, joins as Vice President, Head of Business Development and Commercial from Pfizer.

Along with these appointments, Volastra has rounded out its scientific team under Michael Su, Ph.D., Volastra’s Chief Scientific Officer, to include Sarah Bettigole, Ph.D., as Vice President, Immunology; Derek Cogan, Ph.D., as Vice President, Chemistry; Christina Eng, Ph.D., as Vice President, Biology; Al Swiston, M.S., Ph.D., as Vice President, Head of Data Science; and Rumin Zhang, Ph.D., as Vice President, Head of Biochemistry.

“With our lead program approaching the clinic and a pipeline of targets, we have made tremendous progress in exploiting chromosomal instability to stop cancer,” said Charles Hugh-Jones, M.D., FCRP, Volastra’s Chief Executive Officer. “Together, these appointments make up a leadership team that brings critical expertise to help us accelerate our drug discovery programs and get new therapies to the patients that need them.”

Additional information on Volastra’s new hires

Scott Drutman, M.D., Ph.D., Volastra’s Senior Vice President, Head of Translational Science, joins from Regeneron Pharmaceuticals, where he worked in both early and late oncology clinical development. He drove multiple clinical programs, including the first-in-class clinical program for REGN7075 (EGFRxCD28 bispecific) across multiple tumor types. At Regeneron, Scott simultaneously worked in business development, where he was responsible for scientific and clinical diligence as well as strategy for the solid tumor oncology program. Prior to joining Regeneron, he was an Instructor at The Rockefeller University, where his research program focused on immunology and human genetics. Scott completed his postdoctoral fellowship at The Rockefeller University, his medical oncology clinical fellowship and additional training in early phase immuno-oncology at Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center and his internal medicine residency at New York-Presbyterian/Weill Cornell. He received his bachelor’s from Reed College, his M.D./Ph.D. from New York University School of Medicine and his master’s in Clinical and Translational Investigation from The Rockefeller University.

Rachel Zolot Schwartz, MBA, Volastra’s Vice President, Head of Business Development and Commercial, joins from Pfizer, where she worked in Oncology Business Development, leading commercial assessments for all oncology deals, including notably the acquisition of Array BioPharma. At Pfizer, Rachel also held a variety of senior roles in global strategy, commercial development and marketing, as well as spent time as part of Pfizer’s Portfolio Decision Analysis group, where she supported R&D investment allocation decisions to optimize value and improve R&D productivity across the company’s portfolio. Before Pfizer, Rachel was an associate principal at Trinity Life Sciences Consulting where she focused on licensing and acquisitions, brand strategy and portfolio optimization. She received her MBA from the New York University Stern School of Business and her bachelor’s from the University of Pennsylvania.

Al Swiston, M.S., Ph.D., Volastra’s Vice President, Head of Data Science, joins from Merck, where he led several departments in servicing the company’s data science needs for all discovery, preclinical and early development functions. He managed teams focused on bioinformatics and genomic science, image and signal analytics, natural language processing, optimization and machine learning. Prior to Merck, Al was a Principal Investigator at MIT’s Lincoln Laboratory, where his team led novel medical device development to address unmet medical needs for military service members and fill gaps in public health concerns. His lab’s effort resulted in numerous journal publications which led to critical contributions to the U.S. government’s COVID-19 response. Al earned his bachelor’s and master’s in Materials Science from Johns Hopkins University and his Ph.D. in Polymer Science from MIT.

About Volastra Therapeutics, Inc.

Volastra Therapeutics is pioneering novel approaches to stop cancer by exploiting a key biological process – chromosomal instability (CIN). Co-founders Lewis Cantley, Ph.D., Olivier Elemento, Ph.D. and Samuel Bakhoum, M.D., Ph.D., made seminal discoveries around CIN, a hallmark and critical vulnerability of cancer. Volastra is built on those insights and is rapidly advancing new ways to exploit CIN through two leading therapeutic approaches, synthetic lethality and immune activation. Based in West Harlem, N.Y., Volastra is committed to discovering what drives cancer and stopping it.

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