Veteran Pharma Oncology Developer Krista McKerracher Appointed as Genialis Board Chairperson

The RNA-biomarker company announced today the appointment of Krista McKerracher as Chairperson of the Board of Directors. McKerracher is a seasoned biopharmaceutical leader with a passion for bringing new medicines to patients with life-threatening diseases. She has nearly three decades of experience at Johnson & Johnson and Novartis Oncology, where she held senior commercial and R&D leadership roles and launched several first-in-class drugs in the hematology/oncology space. McKerracher concluded her drug development career at CRISPR Therapeutics, leading the team that introduced the first CRISPR Cas9 ex-vivo gene editing product to the clinic (HbF edited stem cells for hemoglobinopathies).

Joining the Genialis board, McKerracher will work alongside Cedric Odje, representing Debiopharm Innovation Fund; Ita Lu of Taiwania Capital; independent director Elia Stupka; and Genialis co-founders Rafael Rosengarten, Ph.D. (Chief Executive Officer) and Miha Štajdohar, Ph.D. (Chief Technology Officer).

“Throughout my career, I’ve worked on many pioneering projects. Genialis has a unique opportunity to utilize data from small tumor samples to advance truly personalized medicine – delivering the right drug to the right patient at the right time,” McKerracher stated. “When I was diagnosed with cancer in 2015, tumor sequencing was in its infancy, and many of my colleagues were skeptical about its value for my tumor type due to limited understanding of specific mutations. With Genialis’ approach to RNA-based biomarkers, I envision a future where tumor sequencing becomes standard care for all patients. Genialis is at the forefront of precision medicine, driving innovation and hope for patients worldwide.”

Ms. McKerracher, an experienced public company board member, is known for her strong commercial orientation in the drug development process. She graduated from the University of Waterloo (BSc. Hon. Applied Health Sciences) and earned an MBA from York University.

“When searching for a board chair, we sought someone who embraced our ‘people first’ value and was committed to improving patient outcomes globally,” said Dr. Rosengarten. “Krista’s extensive experience overseeing the entire drug development life cycle for leading pharma companies will help Genialis focus its biomarker algorithms on critical pain points in the process.”

Genialis recently announced a breakthrough in its predictive biomarker for KRAS inhibitor therapies and is currently enrolling select participants in its early access program. Genialis krasID is a new Artificial Intelligence classifier that accurately predicts response and clinical benefit to KRAS inhibitors across preclinical, clinical, and real-world settings. Most biomarkers in the KRAS space measure only KRAS mutation status, which, while necessary to receive the drug, is insufficient to predict or monitor response or inform subsequent therapeutic interventions. By utilizing high-dimensional gene expression data, Genialis krasID captures the unique biological complexity of each patient. Over 50 biopharma companies are developing more than 70 different KRAS-targeted drugs across 12 disease indications. The total KRAS therapy market is estimated at approximately $240 million, with a compound annual growth rate of 36% projected to reach $10 billion by 2032. However, available diagnostics for KRAS-targeted patient care are limited to mutation-based tests.

Genialis is participating in the Festival of Genomics & BioData this week in Boston. Dr. Rosengarten will present “Genialis™ krasID: Biology-Driven Machine Learning to Personalize KRAS Inhibitor Therapy” on Wednesday, June 12, 2024, from 12:10 PM to 12:40 PM EDT. To schedule a meeting at the event or learn more about Genialis biomarker programs, visit Genialis or email [email protected].

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