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Tarus Therapeutics beefs up its board of directors with a pair of pharmaceutical industry veterans

The firm added David Epstein, the former CEO of Novarits Pharmaceuticals, and David Nicholson, who has served in leadership roles at Allergan, Bayer CropScience and elsewhere

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Tarus is developing small molecule inhibitors of A2AR, A2BR, and Dual A2AR/A2BR inhibitors for cancer immunotherapy and select non-oncology indications

Tarus Therapeutics Inc, a biotechnology company developing adenosine receptor antagonists for cancer immunotherapy and other indications, added a pair of industry experts to its board of directors.

One new face is David Epstein, who served as CEO of Novartis Pharmaceuticals, a division of Novartis AG (NYSE:NVS) from 2010 to mid-2016. He started and led the company’s oncology and molecular diagnostic units, and under his leadership the oncology business grew to the second largest in the world. 

He is currently an executive partner at Flagship Pioneering and the Chairman of Axcella Health, Rubius Therapeutics and Evelo Biosciences. All told, he brings more than 25 years of experience in drug development, deal-making, commercialization and leadership experience on a global scale.

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"I am most impressed with the potential of Tarus's adenosine antagonist compounds to be proven to be best in class," Epstein said in a statement. "I look forward to the filing of these near term [Investigational New Drug applications] and the start of clinical programs."

The other new addition is David Nicholson, who has spent more than 40 years in pharmaceutical research and development, including leadership stints at Allergan, Bayer CropScience, Schering-Plough, Organon and Merck.

Nicholson joined Allergen, then Actavis, in 2014 as senior vice president of global brands R&D, and he was chief R&D officer before the company’s acquisition by AbbVie in May. 

He previously served as head of R&D on the executive committee of Bayer CropScience, and he currently sits on the board of directors of Science Exchange and Actinium Pharmaceuticals.

"I am delighted to join the board of Tarus Therapeutics and look forward to seeing the full potential of their range of adenosine receptor antagonists being developed," Nicholson said. 

The New York-based company is developing small molecule inhibitors of A2AR, A2BR, and Dual A2AR/A2BR inhibitors for cancer immunotherapy and select non-oncology indications.

"We are very pleased to welcome David Epstein and David Nicholson, with their highly distinguished careers in the life sciences industry, to our board of directors," CEO Sushant Kumar said. "We look forward to their valuable contributions as we advance the company's adenosine receptor antagonist programs towards clinical trials for cancer immunotherapy and other select non-oncology indications."

Contact Andrew Kessel at andrew.kessel@proactiveinvestors.com

Follow him on Twitter @andrew_kessel

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