OnKure Builds its Discovery Team and Appoints Heads of Computational Drug Discovery and Pharmacology
BOULDER, Colorado—July 20, 2021 — OnKure, Inc. today announced the appointment of two key members to its drug discovery team, James Blake, Ph.D., Senior Vice President of Computational Drug Discovery, and Richard Woessner, Ph.D., Senior Vice President of Pharmacology.
Dr. Blake will be responsible for leading computational drug discovery projects in close collaboration with medicinal chemists and biologists. Over his thirty-year career, Dr. Blake has been a key member of numerous drug discovery efforts, bringing expertise in structure- and ligand-based design, physical property optimization, virtual screening, and library design, with particular emphasis on oncology targets. Prior to joining the OnKure leadership team, Dr. Blake was Senior Research Fellow at Pfizer Boulder Research & Development and prior to that, he was a key team member at Array BioPharma, where he contributed to the design of multiple clinical candidates and marketed drugs. Dr. Blake began his career at Pfizer Central Research. He received a Ph.D. in Physical Chemistry from Purdue University and did his postdoctoral research at Yale University.
“I am thrilled to join the research and development team at OnKure,” said Dr. Blake. “We have assembled a very talented group of industry veterans, many of whom I have known for most of my career. Our refined approach to drug discovery will enable OnKure to bring urgently needed medicines to patients, and I am honored to be a part of this effort.”
Dr. Woessner will be responsible for in vivo pharmacology for the discovery and development of compounds in OnKure’s portfolio. Dr. Woessner has over 30 years of experience in oncology drug discovery and pre-clinical pharmacology with small molecule kinase inhibitors, as well as biologics and antisense therapeutics, targeting mutational drivers of cancer and modulation of the antitumor immune response. He has experience at biotech and large pharma, including Sanofi, MedImmune, Array BioPharma, AstraZeneca, and Blueprint Medicines. Dr. Woessner has led the preclinical in vivo pharmacology effort on multiple projects that have advanced compounds into the clinic. He received a Ph.D. in Biochemistry from the University of Illinois and did his postdoctoral training at SmithKline Beecham.
“I am excited for the opportunity to join OnKure and work with such a highly experienced and dedicated team that includes several previous colleagues,” said Dr. Woessner. “I look forward to helping move our targeted cancer therapeutic projects quickly through discovery and optimization and into the right patients in clinical trials.”
“I am delighted to be working again with Jim and Rich” commented Tony Piscopio, Ph.D., Co-founder, President and Chief Executive Officer of OnKure. “These world-class scientists, who have contributed to the discovery of several marketed precision oncology drugs, are tremendous additions to OnKure’s drug discovery team.”
OnKure, Inc. is a biopharmaceutical company focused on the discovery and development of targeted small molecule drugs to improve the outcomes of patients afflicted with cancer. OnKure aims to treat patients through restoration of the epigenetic landscape, delaying resistance to other targeted therapies and exploiting synthetic lethalities. OnKure’s candidate, OKI-179, a potent and selective Class 1 HDAC inhibitor, is moving into Phase 2 studies in targeted cancer populations. For more information about OnKure, please visit www.onkuretherapeutics.com.