CAMBRIDGE, Mass. — SciFluor Life Sciences, a drug discovery and development company harnessing the transformational power of fluorine to accelerate the development of innovative new therapeutics, announced that Ben C. Askew, Ph.D., has joined the company as vice president, research. In this newly created position, Dr. Askew will oversee the development and expansion of the company’s pipeline of Fluoropeutics™ – a proprietary portfolio of new chemical entities (NCEs) consisting of fluorinated versions of small molecule drugs with substantial human clinical or post-marketing experience.
“We are very excited to welcome Ben to SciFluor, and to add his extensive pharmaceutical industry experience and scientific knowledge to our management team,” said Arthur Hiller, chief executive officer of SciFluor Life Sciences. “His proven background in drug discovery and development – including successfully bringing multiple drugs to market and leading multi-national discovery and development partnerships – will expand our base of expertise at SciFluor and be a tremendous asset to the company as we advance our portfolio of novel fluorine-enabled drug candidates across a wide range of therapeutic areas.”
Dr. Askew joins SciFluor with more than 20 years of experience in senior research positions in the biotechnology and pharmaceutical industries, where he specialized in building high functioning medicinal chemistry organizations, defining early IP and long-term R&D strategy, and leading NCE discovery programs. Most recently, Dr. Askew served as entrepreneur-in-residence for Third Rock Ventures, a venture capital firm focused on building life sciences companies, where he provided strategic input and scientific leadership for several of Third Rock’s portfolio companies, including Blueprint Medicines and Sage Therapeutics. Prior to that role, Dr. Askew served as vice president of research, global head of NCE Technologies for EMD Serono, the biopharmaceutical division of Merck KGaA in Darmstadt, Germany and held positions of increasing responsibility at Merck & Co. and Amgen, where he played a key role in building the company’s Small Molecule Research Organization. He holds a B.A. from Gannon University and a Ph.D. in organic chemistry from the University of Pittsburgh.
“I am excited to be a part of the SciFluor team and to play an integral role in the growth of this company and its innovative R&D programs,” said Dr. Askew. “As a passionate drug hunter, I was attracted to SciFluor because of the inherent opportunities within their portfolio of proprietary, fluorine-enhanced NCEs and the potential to make an impact on not just one, but a variety of therapeutic areas, including cardiovascular disease, central nervous system disorders and infectious disease. With a rapidly growing pipeline, the SciFluor team has achieved great progress in a short amount of time, and I look forward to continuing to advance these efforts to deliver high quality clinical candidates in critical areas that will make meaningful differences in patients’ lives.”
About SciFluor Life Sciences, LLC
SciFluor Life Sciences is the emerging leader in innovative fluorine-enabled drug discovery and development. The company is applying its expertise in fluorine chemistry, including breakthrough technology developed at Harvard University, to create Fluoropeutics™ – a proprietary portfolio of novel and differentiated small molecule drugs with improved pharmacological profiles based on approved medicines or clinical stage compounds targeting a range of therapeutic indications. SciFluor is also applying its capabilities to the development of novel 18F radiotracers that serve as imaging biomarkers to better inform decision-making throughout the development of the Fluoropeutics pipeline. SciFluor is funded by Allied Minds, a U.S. investment firm that deploys private equity to form, fund, manage and build start-ups based on early-stage technologies developed at renowned U.S. universities and federal research institutions. The company was founded in 2011 and is based in Cambridge, Mass.