CAMBRIDGE, Mass., Jan. 22, 2015 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) -- Merrimack Pharmaceuticals, Inc. (Nasdaq:MACK) today announced that Birgit M. Schoeberl, Ph.D. has been named the new head of its Discovery division. Ulrik B. Nielsen, Ph.D. will be stepping down as the head of the Discovery division and has been elected to serve on Merrimack's Board of Directors. Anthony J. Sinskey, Sc.D. will also be resigning from the Board of Directors and will continue as a scientific advisor. All of these transitions will occur on January 30, 2015.
"Birgit has played a critical role at Merrimack for several years in leading the development of the quantitative systems biology foundation that underlies all of our programs. As we continue to grow and mature as an R&D organization, her passion and shared vision for Merrimack's scientific development make her the ideal candidate to serve in this role and lead our Discovery division," said Robert Mulroy, President & CEO of Merrimack. "We are grateful to Ulrik for his leadership and contributions throughout the years, especially for his dedication to building Merrimack from its earliest foundations to where we are today. We are thrilled to have Ulrik's continued leadership as he joins the Board and look forward to his future guidance and insights as Merrimack moves towards this exciting new phase as a commercial organization."
An engineer by training, Schoeberl joined Merrimack in 2003 and has led Merrimack's early discovery efforts while serving as the company leader in applying systems biology to drug discovery and development. In her years at Merrimack, she has held leadership roles in the creation and development of many of Merrimack's clinical programs, most notably MM-121. Prior to joining Merrimack, Schoeberl received her postdoctoral training at Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) where she built some of the earliest computational models of signaling networks. She is an internationally recognized leader in the field of systems biology. Schoeberl holds an M.S. in chemical engineering from the University of Karlsruhe, Germany, and a Ph.D. from the Max-Planck-Institute for Dynamics of Complex Technical Systems, Magdeburg, Germany. Currently, she also serves on the Scientific Advisory Board and as an observer on the Board of Directors of Silver Creek Pharmaceuticals, Inc., a majority owned subsidiary of Merrimack.
Nielsen, a co-founder of Merrimack, has been elected to serve on Merrimack's Board of Directors, effective January 30, 2015. Prior to joining Merrimack, Nielsen trained at University of California, San Francisco, and MIT, where he researched the interfaces between biology, engineering and computational biology. Nielsen holds a Ph.D. in molecular biology and an M.S. in biochemistry from the University of Copenhagen, Denmark. Nielsen is also a founder and serves on the Board of Directors of Silver Creek Pharmaceuticals.
Merrimack also announced today the retirement of Anthony J. Sinskey, Sc.D. from Merrimack's Board of Directors, effective January 30, 2015. Sinskey is a co-founder of Merrimack and a Professor of Microbiology and Engineering Systems at MIT, as well as a Professor of Health Sciences and Technology at the Harvard-MIT Division of Health Sciences. Sinskey has served as a member of Merrimack's Board since 1999 and will continue to serve as a scientific advisor.
"We are grateful to Tony for his dedication to Merrimack since co-founding the company 15 years ago," said Gary Crocker, Chairman of the Board of Merrimack. "Tony's leadership and scientific expertise has helped shape Merrimack and grow it into the success it is today. His scientific thought leadership continues to be a true asset to Merrimack and we look forward to having his continued support and guidance in the years to come."
Nielsen is joining current Board members Gary Crocker, Board Chairman and President of Crocker Ventures; Gordon Fehr, former Chairman and President of Pfizer Canada; Vivian Lee, Ph.D., M.D., Senior Vice President for Health Sciences at the University of Utah, Dean of the University's School of Medicine, and CEO of University of Utah Health Care; John Mendelsohn, M.D., co-director of the new Sheikh Khalifa Bin Zayed Al Nahyan Institute for Personalized Cancer Therapy at MD Anderson and former President of MD Anderson from 1996 to 2011; Michael Porter, Ph.D., Bishop William Lawrence University Professor at Harvard Business School; James Quigley, CEO emeritus of Deloitte Touche Tohmatsu, Limited (the Deloitte Global Network); Russell Ray, Senior Advisor to HLM Venture Partners, and Robert Mulroy, President and CEO of Merrimack.
Merrimack is a biopharmaceutical company discovering, developing and preparing to commercialize innovative medicines paired with companion diagnostics for the treatment of cancer. Merrimack seeks to gain a deeper understanding of underlying cancer biology through its systems biology-based approach and develop new insights, therapeutics and diagnostics to improve outcomes for cancer patients. Merrimack currently has six oncology therapeutics in clinical development and three additional candidates in late stage preclinical development. Merrimack's lead product candidate, MM-398, recently completed a Phase 3 clinical trial in post-gemcitabine pancreatic cancer. Based on the results of this clinical trial, Merrimack is currently preparing a New Drug Application for MM-398. For more information, please visit Merrimack's website at www.merrimackpharma.com or connect on Twitter at @MerrimackPharma.
Any statements in this press release about future expectations, plans and prospects for Merrimack constitute forward-looking statements within the meaning of The Private Securities Litigation Reform Act of 1995, as amended. Actual results may differ materially from those indicated by such forward-looking statements. Merrimack anticipates that subsequent events and developments will cause its views to change. However, while Merrimack may elect to update these forward-looking statements at some point in the future, Merrimack specifically disclaims any obligation to do so.
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