SOUTH SAN FRANCISCO, Calif. – South San Francisco-based Frontier Medicines today announced three key additions to its executive team with the hiring of Chief Scientific Officer Kevin Webster, Chief Technology Officer Johannes Hermann and Head of Degrader Technologies James Winkler. Frontier Medicines is a new pre-clinical stage biopharmaceutical company using chemoproteomics to develop breakthrough medicines to redefine the course of debilitating diseases, starting with cancer.
“We are thrilled to welcome Kevin, Johannes and Jim to Frontier Medicines as we continue to build a best-in-the-business team to address previously inaccessible disease-causing proteins,” said Chris Varma, Ph.D., co-founder and CEO of Frontier Medicines. “Kevin, Johannes and Jim bring deep science, biopharma and technology expertise to Frontier at a time when we’re focusing our next phase of growth on research and development, talent acquisition and advancement of our proprietary chemoproteomics platform.”
Kevin Webster, Ph.D., is a senior leader in biopharma with broad expertise in cancer biology and driving the discovery of new therapeutics for patients. He most recently was at eFFECTOR Therapeutics, where he served as senior vice president of cancer biology. Previously, Kevin was vice president of oncology research at AstraZeneca Pharmaceuticals, where he built and led the oncology discovery organization. During that time, he oversaw the progression of 12 programs into preclinical and clinical development, with four programs achieving clinical proof of concept and one now being a marketed drug. At Frontier Medicines, Kevin will oversee drug discovery and pre-clinical development of the therapeutic programs and the continued development of its proprietary chemoproteomics platform. “This is an exciting opportunity to be part of Frontier Medicines’ collaborative team in an invigorating and forward-thinking environment,” Kevin said. “What inspires me every day is to work with great people on great science and ultimately to make a difference for patients.”
Johannes Hermann, Ph.D., is a technology and data science expert on a mission to leverage data to accelerate drug discovery and development and advance healthcare. Most recently, Johannes was the global head for data science at Johnson & Johnson Medical Devices Technology. Prior to this, he led the machine learning and advanced analytics IT department at Janssen Pharmaceuticals, driving AI initiatives across the pharmaceutical value chain from R&D to production and commercialization. At Frontier Medicines, he oversees the integration of computational approaches into all aspects of the platform technology and drug discovery and development. “What differentiates Frontier Medicines is that we are generating unique data and, from the beginning, are integrating cutting edge computational approaches to substantially enhance our proprietary chemoproteomics platform,” Johannes said. “This gives us the advantage of developing better drugs, faster – in order to change the lives of patients.”
Jim Winkler, Ph.D., is a seasoned science executive with more than 40 years’ experience in the field of drug discovery and development. Jim was chief scientific officer of Arvinas, a clinical-stage biopharmaceutical company that creates new drugs based on targeted protein degradation. Jim’s expertise spans target validation, early drug discovery, translational medicine and clinical development. He directs protein degradation efforts at Frontier Medicines, including a novel approach to degradation that has the potential to be superior to current approaches.
Last month, Frontier Medicines announced the closing of a Series A Preferred Stock financing round of $67 million led by Deerfield Management, Droia Oncology Ventures and MPM Capital, with participation from DCVC Bio (an affiliated fund of DCVC), RA Capital Management and other investors. The company is using chemoproteomics – an innovative approach to chemically interrogate proteins in living systems – to discover and pharmacologically target new binding pockets (or “hotspots”) on proteins, making them accessible to small-molecule drug discovery and development.