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CAMBRIDGE, Mass.--(BUSINESS WIRE)--Jan. 30, 2017-- Syros Pharmaceuticals (NASDAQ: SYRS), a biopharmaceutical company pioneering the development of medicines to control the expression of disease-driving genes, today announced the appointment of Peter Wirth as Chair of the Company’s Board of Directors. Mr. Wirth is an industry veteran with a track record of value creation in biotechnology.

"Peter is a recognized leader in the biotech industry whose extensive strategic and deal-making experience will be invaluable in 2017 and beyond as we seek to accelerate our evolution from a clinical-stage, publicly traded enterprise to a fully integrated biopharmaceutical company delivering a new wave of medicines that can control the expression of disease-driving genes,” said Nancy Simonian, M.D., Chief Executive Officer of Syros. “We are thrilled to welcome Peter to our board.”

Mr. Wirth was a senior executive at Genzyme from 1996 until its acquisition by Sanofi in 2011, most recently serving as Executive Vice President, Legal and Corporate Development, Chief Risk Officer and Corporate Secretary. During his time at Genzyme, Mr. Wirth had senior management responsibility for the company’s legal function, corporate development function, molecular oncology division, polymer drug discovery and development division and enterprise risk management function. He was instrumental in helping build Genzyme from a small start-up to a diversified, multi-billion dollar enterprise with more than 12,000 employees in locations spanning the globe. Prior to Genzyme, Mr. Wirth practiced law at Palmer & Dodge LLP, where he was head of the firm’s biotechnology practice group and served as outside counsel for Genzyme as well as numerous other biopharmaceutical companies. He is currently Chairman of FORMA Therapeutics, a small molecule drug discovery company, Executive Chairman of ZappRx, a digital health company, and Senior Advisor to Zai Lab Limited, a Shanghai-based biopharmaceutical company. Mr. Wirth was a 2012 Advanced Leadership Fellow at Harvard University. He received his B.A. from the University of Wisconsin-Madison and his J.D. from Harvard Law School.

"Syros' gene control platform represents an entirely new approach to drug discovery and development, with the potential to provide a profound and durable benefit for patients with diseases that have eluded other genomic-based approaches,” said Mr. Wirth. "The broad applicability of the platform gives Syros the ability to build its own proprietary pipeline and partner in other areas to bring in capital to further fuel the growth of its business. I look forward to working with the leadership team and the board during this important time in the Company’s development."

About Syros Pharmaceuticals

Syros Pharmaceuticals is pioneering the understanding of the non-coding region of the genome to advance a new wave of medicines that control expression of disease-driving genes. Syros has built a proprietary platform that is designed to systematically and efficiently analyze this unexploited region of DNA in human disease tissue to identify and drug novel targets linked to genomically defined patient populations. Because gene expression is fundamental to the function of all cells, Syros’ gene control platform has broad potential to create medicines that achieve profound and durable benefit across a range of diseases. Syros is currently focused on cancer and immune-mediated diseases and is advancing a growing pipeline of gene control medicines. Syros’ lead drug candidates are SY-1425, a selective RARα agonist in a Phase 2 clinical trial for genomically defined subsets of patients with acute myeloid leukemia and myelodysplastic syndrome, and SY-1365, a selective CDK7 inhibitor with potential in a range of solid tumors and blood cancers. Led by a team with deep experience in drug discovery, development and commercialization, Syros is located in Cambridge, Mass.

Cautionary Note Regarding Forward-Looking Statements

This press release contains forward-looking statements within the meaning of The Private Securities Litigation Reform Act of 1995, including without limitation statements regarding the potential of Syros’ product candidates and benefits of its gene control platform. Actual results or events could differ materially from the plans, intentions and expectations disclosed in these forward-looking statements as a result of various important factors, including: Syros’ ability to: advance the development of its programs under the timelines it projects in current and future clinical trials; obtain and maintain patent protection for its drug candidates and the freedom to operate under third party intellectual property; demonstrate in any current and future clinical trials the requisite safety, efficacy and combinability of its drug candidates; replicate scientific and non-clinical data in clinical trials; successfully develop companion diagnostic tests to identify patients for use with Syros’ product candidate; obtain and maintain necessary regulatory approvals; identify, enter into and maintain collaboration agreements with third parties; manage competition; manage expenses; raise the substantial additional capital needed to achieve its business objectives; attract and retain qualified personnel; and successfully execute on its business strategies; risks described under the caption “Risk Factors” in the company’s Quarterly Report on Form 10-Q for the quarter ended September 30, 2016, which is on file with the Securities and Exchange Commission; and risks described in other filings that the company makes with the Securities and Exchange Commission in the future. Any forward-looking statements contained in this press release speak only as of the date hereof, and Syros expressly disclaims any obligation to update any forward-looking statements, whether because of new information, future events or otherwise.

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Source: Syros Pharmaceuticals, Inc.