Simcha Therapeutics Accelerates Growth with Key Leadership Appointments, Expanded Research and Option Agreement with Yale School of Medicine

Company Appoints Accomplished Biotech Leaders Sanuj Ravindran, M.D., as Chief Executive Officer and Jake Bauer as Independent Director and Chair

NEW HAVEN, Conn., and SOUTH SAN FRANCISCO, Calif. – August 16, 2022 – Simcha Therapeutics (“Simcha”), a clinical-stage immunobiology company pioneering first-in-class cytokine treatments in cancer, today announced the appointment of Sanuj Ravindran, M.D., as chief executive officer and director, and Jake Bauer as an independent member and chair of its board of directors.

Simcha has also expanded its sponsored research agreement with Yale School of Medicine related to cytokine biology in the laboratory of Aaron Ring, Ph.D., M.D., associate professor of immunobiology and Simcha founder. Through this expanded agreement, the company will support research in the Ring Laboratory focused on overcoming biological limitations of native cytokines. Simcha holds an exclusive option to license multiple therapeutic agents resulting from the expanded research agreement.

“With the support of our successful Series B financing and encouraging progress being made with ST-067 in the clinic, Simcha is entering a stage of dynamic growth with even greater opportunity ahead,” said Bauer. “I’m thrilled to have joined the company earlier this year, and excited to have recruited Sanuj, a skilled and thoughtful leader, to guide Simcha as it navigates its many potential avenues for growth.”

Dr. Ravindran remarked, “Simcha is built on a remarkable scientific foundation and Aaron’s bold vision that patients deserve more than incremental advances. Together these have led to the advancement of a promising first-in-class therapeutic in ST-067, our decoy resistant IL-18 agent; and created a new way forward for IL-18 as a potentially powerful and broadly applicable cancer immunotherapy pathway. As Simcha continues to explore the breadth of ST-067’s potential in the clinic, and as we accelerate the advancement of other engineered cytokines, I feel privileged to build and lead a patient and product focused organization with a commitment to pioneering truly transformational therapies.”

Dr. Ravindran has spent more than 20 years in strategic and operational roles across the life science industry, both as an investor and company builder. Most recently, he served as CEO-in-residence at BridgeBio (BBIO) where he was chief executive officer of PellePharm and executive chair of Phoenix Tissue Repair. In these roles, Dr. Ravindran led the companies’ growth, directed strategy, secured significant partnerships, and advanced pipeline programs in oncology and rare skin diseases through mid- and late-stage clinical trials. Before this, he served as chief business officer at aTyr Pharma (LIFE), a clinical-stage protein therapeutics company focused on tRNA synthetases. Prior to that, Dr. Ravindran was senior vice president of corporate development at The Medicines Company (MDCO), where he led multiple transactions totaling more than $2 billion in potential value. He began his biotech career as a venture capitalist for 10 years with Burrill & Company, Radius Ventures, and Asian Healthcare Fund. Dr. Ravindran was previously a practicing physician, board-certified in Internal Medicine, having completed his residency training at Thomas Jefferson University Hospital. He received his bachelor’s degree from Northwestern University, his doctorate in medicine from Jefferson Medical College, and his master’s of business administration from the Kellogg School of Management.

Dr. Ravindran joins Beatrice McQueen, Ph.D., on the Simcha leadership team, who was recently appointed chief operating officer and has led Simcha’s finance and operations since its inception.  Dr. McQueen has spent over 20 years in various operational roles, working to advance programs at leading organizations such as Amgen, PPD and Pfizer.

Bauer, having previously served as chief business officer of MyoKardia, is currently a venture partner with ARCH Venture Partners and SR One Capital Management. He and Dr. Ravindran join the Simcha board of directors with existing members Simeon George, M.D., CEO of SR One; Sean Li, Ph.D., of WuXi AppTec; Terry Rosen, Ph.D., CEO of Arcus Biosciences; and Aaron Ring, M.D., Ph.D., founder of Simcha Therapeutics.

About Simcha Therapeutics

Simcha Therapeutics is a clinical-stage immunobiology company pioneering the development of first-in-class engineered cytokine therapeutics with transformational promise for patients. The company is built on a foundation of scientific rigor to overcome biological challenges in clinically translatable pathways, exemplified by the first decoy-resistant interleukin-18 (IL-18). By unlocking the potential of IL-18, Simcha is developing its lead program (ST-067) as monotherapy and in combination with potentially several other anticancer agents.  ST-067 is currently being studied in a Phase 1/2 clinical trial, in patients with solid tumors and who have progressed on other immunotherapeutic agents. Beyond IL-18, the company’s underlying approach to immune-biology and cytokine engineering has broader potential to support disease-modifying therapeutic options for a range of significant diseases.  For more information, please visit www.simchatherapeutics.com.

Media Contact

Carolyn Hawley
Evoke Canale
Carolyn.hawley@evokegroup.com
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Terry Rosen, Ph.D.

Terry has been leading successful drug discovery and development organizations in the biotechnology and pharmaceutical industries for more than 30 years. In 2015, he co-founded Arcus, a drug discovery company focused on the treatment of cancer by blocking tumor-induced immunosuppression. Previously, Terry was co-founder and CEO of Flexus Biosciences, focusing on small molecule drugs that reverse tumor immunosuppression. He has held several executive positions at Amgen and Tularik, as well as scientific and management positions at Pfizer and Abbott Laboratories. Terry also serves on the boards of scientific institutions such as the Salk Institute Board of Trustees and the Caltech Biology & Engineering Chair’s Council.