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Tuesday, October 9th, 3:00pm-3:55pm, Twin Peaks N/S

What should investors be looking for in the crowded space of kinase inhibition? What has been learned from previous failures and recent Phase II/III successes? Are the latest high profile targets (BRAF, JAK, MEK) where the next big drugs will come from? Or is the field hitting a saturation point with new targets and new chemical diversity? Are these new compounds, and the companies behind them, able to navigate specificity, resistance, and tumor heterogeneity any better than compounds against old targets? This panel will address these questions and tell us what it takes to win in the clinic with recent examples and experiences.


  • Steven Edelson, Executive Editor, SciBX:Science-Business eXchange, Senior Editor, BioCentury Publications


  • Robert C. Armstrong, PhD, Vice President, Discovery & Preclinical Development, Ambit Biosciences
  • Jack Singer, MD, Co-Founder & EVP, Global Medical Affairs and Translational Medicine, Cell Therapeutics
  • Nagesh Mahanthappa, PhD, President & CEO, Scholar Rock LLC
  • Pamela N. Munster, MD, Director, Developmental Therapeutics, UCSF

Who's Who


Steven Edelson
Executive Editor, SciBX:Science-Business eXchange, Senior Editor, BioCentury Publications

Steve, who serves as Executive Editor of SciBX for BioCentury, has been a writer and editor for BioCentury since 1998, including as Editor of BioCentury Extra and as Senior Writer responsible for financial markets coverage. Steve has a M.S. in biotechnology from Northwestern University, where he also received a B.A. in biochemistry.

Nagesh Mahanthappa, PhD
President & CEO, Scholar Rock LLC

Dr. Nagesh Mahanthappa is President and CEO of Scholar Rock, LLC – a Boston-area biotechnology start-up focused on the discovery and development of a novel class of biologic therapeutics.  He was most recently a founding employee and Vice President, Corporate Development at Avila Therapeutics, Inc, which was acquired by Celgene Corporation in early 2012.  Avila was a venture-backed, biotech focused on the discovery and development of novel, covalent, small molecule therapeutics for the treatment of cancer, autoimmune, and viral diseases.  Prior to Avila, Dr. Mahanthappa was a founding employee of Alnylam Pharmaceuticals, the first biotech established to discover and develop therapeutics based on RNA interference (“RNAi”) and rose to the position of Vice President, Scientific & Strategic Development.  He was previously Manager, Business Development at Vertex Pharmaceuticals, and held a series of positions with increasing scientific and commercial responsibility at Ontogeny (now a part of Curis, Inc.).  Dr. Mahanthappa entered the biotech industry as a Staff Scientist at Cambridge NeuroScience.  Dr. Mahanthappa was also a founder of TwistDx, a DNA diagnostics company acquired by Inverness Medical Innovations (now Alere, Inc.) in 2010.

Dr. Mahanthappa completed his post-doctoral training at E.K. Shriver Center for Mental Retardation (then an affiliate of Massachusetts General Hospital) and Harvard Medical School after receiving his PhD degree in Neurobiology from the California Institute of Technology.  Dr. Mahanthappa received his BA degree in Biology and Chemistry from the University of Colorado, and his MBA from the F.W. Olin Graduate School of Management at Babson College (Wellesley, Massachusetts).


Pamela N. Munster, MD
Director, Developmental Therapeutics, UCSF

Dr. Munster received her medical degree from the University of Bern, Switzerland; completed her residency in Internal Medicine at Indiana University Medical Center then moved to Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center, New York for her oncology and hematology fellowship. She continued at Memorial Sloan Kettering as a faculty member in the breast cancer program before joining the Division of Breast Oncology and Experimental Therapeutics Program at H. Lee Moffitt Cancer Center and Research Institute, Tampa, Florida. Dr. Munster served as the Scientific Director of Breast Research and Co-Chair of the Phase I Program at Moffitt for six years prior to moving to San Francisco.

Currently Dr. Munster is Professor in Residence at the University of California, San Francisco where she is Program Leader for the Developmental Therapeutics Program and the Director of Early Phase Clinical Trials Program at the Helen Diller Family Comprehensive Cancer Center. Her basic laboratory research interests are in the area of developing novel targeted therapy for the treatment of breast cancer and their integration into current treatment strategies. Dr. Munster’s research interest involves basic research studies on epigenetic modification of DNA repair and therapy resistance. Her laboratory is involved in several projects testing HDAC inhibitors reverse hormone therapy resistance in breast cancer and to potentiate chemotherapy by inhibiting DNA repair. Dr. Munster’s clinical research interests are in the area of early anti-tumor drug development with focus on drugs that target the HER kinase family and PI3k/mTOR pathway.

Dr. Munster has published in numerous scientific journals and has given lectures on topics such as the management of metastatic breast cancer, breast cancer receptors, clinical trials and translational research.