BOULDER, Colorado—August 3, 2021 — OnKure, Inc., a clinical-stage biopharmaceutical company pioneering a novel Class-1 selective histone deacetylase inhibitor for the treatment of solid tumor cancers, today announced the appointment of James Winkler, Ph.D. and Duncan Walker, Ph.D. as Chief Scientific Officer and Chief Development Officer, respectively.
Dr. Winkler brings over 35 years of experience in preclinical and clinical research as well as expertise in translational analysis for novel precision medicine therapeutics in oncology. Prior to joining OnKure, Dr. Winkler worked for several successful oncology-focused organizations. He joined Arvinas as the Chief Scientific Officer, helping the new company focus on a novel technology, validating and further advancing this technology, and building a growing preclinical pipeline, enabling Arvinas to go public. At Array BioPharma, Dr. Winkler served as Vice President of Biology, leading a discovery and early development organization with an impressive record of accomplishment, placing over 16 drugs into the clinic, several of which moved to Phase 3 and registration. He has also held roles in companies of varying size, including Johnson & Johnson, SmithKline Beecham, GlaxoSmithKline and FORMA Therapeutics, where he gained extensive experience building and leading teams, and managing programs from target validation and early drug discovery through to translational medicine and clinical development. He received his Ph.D. in Pharmacology from the Medical College of Pennsylvania and did his postdoctoral training with Dr. Stanley Crooke at SmithKline Beecham.
“I am thrilled to be joining forces with such an experienced team of drug discovery and development scientists,” said Dr. Winkler. “We hope to leverage this experience to quickly create and advance a pipeline of drugs that we expect will benefit cancer patients.”
Dr. Walker has a proven track record in cancer drug discovery and development, including contributions to the discovery and development of three FDA-approved medicines. Prior to joining OnKure, Dr. Walker was Head of Oncology at Kymera, and prior to that, he worked at FORMA Therapeutics, where he built and led the preclinical and early development groups. Prior to FORMA, he was head of Translational Medicine and Development Project Lead at Array BioPharma, where he played key roles in the development and partnering of several molecules. Dr. Walker has held senior roles in several other pharma and biotech companies, including Sunesis, Roche and Glaxo. He received a Ph.D. in Molecular Biology and Biochemistry from Washington University in St. Louis and did his postdoctoral training in the lab of Dr. Jim Maller at the University of Colorado.
“I am delighted to be joining OnKure and being part of an incredibly experienced team that has a long track record of discovering and advancing novel medicines to the market,” said Dr. Walker. “I look forward to the opportunity to help drive value for patients through the effective development of OKI-179, a best-in-class HDAC inhibitor, that is poised to expand the spectrum of indications for patients with both hematological and solid tumor cancers.”
“OnKure has reconstituted a management team that has previously worked together to create breakthrough precision cancer medicines,” said Tony Piscopio, Ph.D., Co-Founder, President and Chief Executive Officer of OnKure. “In the wake of our recent Series B financing, we are well positioned to replicate our past successes.”
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.