Scientific Leader to Support Nimbus’ IRAK4 and ACC Programs on Path to IND in 2014
CAMBRIDGE, Mass. – February 6, 2013 – Nimbus Discovery LLC, a biotechnology company discovering novel medicines against exciting but previously inaccessible drug targets, today announced the appointment of William “Wes” F. Westlin, Ph.D., as Head of Preclinical Research & Early Development. Dr. Westlin joins Nimbus from Celgene, where he was Vice President, Preclinical Research, following Celgene’s acquisition of Avila Therapeutics in 2012.
“Wes is an outstanding scientific leader who will help us accelerate our IRAK4 and ACC programs towards early proof of concept in the clinic,” said Rosana Kapeller, M.D., Ph.D., Chief Scientific Officer of Nimbus. “He brings broad and highly relevant drug development expertise most recently from Avila’s Bruton’s tyrosine kinase (Btk) and EGFR-mutant selective inhibitor (EMSI) programs. We are tremendously excited to welcome him to Nimbus.”
“Nimbus has clearly demonstrated that it can drug the toughest targets in important, validated pathways and I am convinced that their approach will enable the development of novel therapeutics in oncology, immunology and metabolic disease,” said Dr. Westlin. “I am delighted to join such an outstanding group of collaborative scientists.”
Dr. Westlin has more than 20 years of drug discovery and development experience. During his tenure at Avila, and later Celgene, he was responsible for all of the company’s preclinical efforts, including biology research, pharmacology, toxicology, ADME/PK, and clinical strategic planning. He successfully advanced Avila’s Btk program into Phase 1 development for non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma, B cell chronic lymphocytic leukemia, and rheumatoid arthritis. Dr. Westlin joined Avila in 2007 as the company’s third employee and helped build the R&D department to more than 40 employees. Within this five-year period, Dr. Westlin contributed to more than 10 projects from lead optimization to Phase 1 proof-of-concept, and advanced three programs to IND ready stage.
Prior to joining Avila, Dr. Westlin served as the Senior Vice President for Preclinical Research at Praecis Pharmaceuticals, where he was responsible for preclinical activities in oncology, immunoinflammatory diseases, and Alzheimer’s disease programs. Before joining Praecis, Dr. Westlin held scientific positions of increasing responsibility in the immunology, molecular pharmacology, and oncology research units of Monsanto/Searle and subsequently Pharmacia. He has co-authored more than 40 scientific publications in peer-reviewed journals, has been named a co-inventor on multiple patents and has been invited to deliver scientific presentations around the world. Dr. Westlin also currently serves as a Board member for the Inflammation Research Association. He received his Master’s and Ph.D. in Pharmacology from New York Medical College and his B.S. in Biology from the University of Richmond.
Nimbus Discovery, a biotechnology company, harnesses cutting-edge computational technologies to uncover breakthroughs in small molecule pharmacology. Nimbus focuses on medically important and highly sought-after disease targets that have proven inaccessible to traditional industry approaches. Nimbus’ robust pre-clinical pipeline includes novel agents for the treatment of cancer, metabolic disease and inflammation. The company is organized as a constellation of small, nimble teams of experienced drug-hunters deployed across program-focused subsidiary companies. Each team is freed from conventional barriers to scientific success, chartered to create solutions, and geared for program asset deals with leading pharmaceutical companies. Founded in 2009, Nimbus partnered with Schrödinger to invent and apply a physics-based approach that establishes a new standard for rational drug design. Nimbus is backed by world-class life science investors, including Atlas Venture, SR One, Lilly Ventures and Bill Gates. For more information please visit www.nimbustx.com.