Syndax Pharmaceuticals Appoints Luke Evnin, Ph.D. to Board of Directors

News | 05. 16. 2012

WALTHAM, Mass., May 16, 2012 /PRNewswire/ -- Syndax Pharmaceuticals, Inc., an oncology company moving into phase 3 having completed randomized, placebo controlled phase 2 studies, announced Luke Evnin, Ph.D. will join the board of directors replacing Steven St. Peter, M.D. 

"We are thankful to Steven for his commitment over the past few years and we are excited to have Luke join the board given his experience and track record of building cutting-edge biotechnology companies since 1990," said Dennis Podlesak, chairman of the Syndax board of directors.  "Syndax is well positioned to bring its lead product entinostat into phase 3 testing and to continue building out the company to support this growth phase."

Dr. Evnin has served as a managing director at MPM Capital since he co-founded MPM's asset management business in 1997.   Dr. Evnin focuses on global healthcare investing for MPM. Prior to joining MPM, Dr. Evnin was at Accel Partners for over seven years including four as a general partner. He was involved in biopharmaceutical, medical device and healthcare service companies for several of Accel's funds.  Dr. Evnin currently serves as a director of Enteromedics, Inc. (ETRM) and Pacira (PCRX),  publicly-traded companies, as well as private companies, NeuroTherapeutics Pharma, Inc. and Oxagen Limited.  Dr. Evnin earned his Ph.D. in the department of biochemistry at the University of California-San Francisco, and received his A.B. in molecular biology magna cum laude from Princeton University.

"With entinostat, a promising late-stage oncology product candidate, and a talented management team in place, our vision at MPM that we invested in several years ago is now being realized," said Dr. Evnin.  "If the randomized phase 2 data is confirmed in a phase 3 trial, entinostat, an oral HDAC, will be a new and compelling option to allow women to remain successfully treated with  hormone therapy, the standard of care for metastatic breast cancer.   Entinostat has shown in preclinical trials the ability to reverse or delay the emergence of epigentically driven resistance to targeted therapies in solid tumors.  I am looking forward to contributing to moving this promising oncology product candidate forward and building a company that can maximize its impact for patients."

About Syndax Syndax is a late-stage oncology company initiating pivotal programs in solid tumors based on employing epigenetic strategies to overcome the problem of resistance in oncology care. Syndax holds worldwide rights to entinostat, an oral, highly selective histone deacetylase (HDAC) inhibitor, which inhibits the cancer-relevant class 1 HDAC enzymes that contribute to epigenetic alterations driving cancer growth and drug tolerance. Entinostat's unique pharmacokinetic properties, convenient oral dosing and HDAC selectivity, maximize the opportunity to safely combine with and potentially extend the benefit of proven cancer therapies. Entinostat has been studied in more than 600 cancer patients with clinical activity in solid tumors and hematologic malignancies. Randomized, placebo-controlled phase 2 studies with entinostat have demonstrated promising results in combination with aromatase inhibitors in breast cancer (ENCORE 301) and with the EGFR-TKI erlotinib (ENCORE 401) in non-small cell lung cancer. Results from the ENCORE clinical program have provided the basis for moving entinostat into pivotal, phase 3 testing across a platform of solid tumor indications. NCI and Syndax are collaborating on the development of entinostat under a Cooperative Research and Development Agreement.

The company is supported by top venture capitalists and led by industry experts developing treatments for large markets including metastatic breast and lung cancer. Formed in 2005, Syndax's intellectual property is based on work from scientific founder Ronald Evans, Ph.D., recipient of the 2004 Albert Lasker Prize for Basic Medical Research, a Member of the National Academy of Sciences, a professor at the Salk Institute for Biological Studies and a Howard Hughes Medical Institute Investigator. For more information please visit