CAMBRIDGE, Mass.--(BUSINESS WIRE)-- Syros Pharmaceuticals (NASDAQ:SYRS), a biopharmaceutical company pioneering the discovery and development of medicines to control the expression of disease-driving genes, today announced the appointment of Srinivas Akkaraju, M.D., Ph.D., to the Company’s board of directors.

"Srini is a recognized leader who brings a unique strategic perspective, combining deep scientific knowledge with strong business acumen to help innovative biotechnology companies create value for patients and shareholders,” said Nancy Simonian, M.D., Chief Executive Officer of Syros. “His experience and insights will be tremendous assets to Syros as we continue to evolve into a fully integrated biopharmaceutical company driven to delivering medicines that control the expression of disease-driving genes to provide a profound and durable benefit for patients. We are thrilled to welcome Srini to our board.”

Dr. Akkaraju has nearly 20 years of investment and operational experience in the life sciences sector. He is a Founder and Managing General Partner at Samsara BioCapital. Prior to founding Samsara BioCapital, he served as a General Partner of Sofinnova Ventures from April 2013 to June 2016, Managing Director of New Leaf Venture Partners from January 2009 to April 2013, and Managing Director of Panorama Capital, a private equity firm that he helped found, from September 2006 to December 2008. Before co-founding Panorama Capital, he was a Partner at J.P. Morgan Partners, and earlier in his career, he was in Business and Corporate Development at Genentech (now a wholly owned member of The Roche Group). Dr. Akkaraju currently serves as chairman of the board of Versartis and as a director of Intercept Pharmaceuticals, Seattle Genetics and aTyr Pharma. Previously, he served on the boards of Barrier Therapeutics, Eyetech Pharmaceuticals, ZS Pharma, Synageva Biopharma Corp. and Amarin Corp. Dr. Akkaraju received an M.D. and a Ph.D. in Immunology from Stanford University and undergraduate degrees in Biochemistry and Computer Science from Rice University.

“Syros’ gene control platform has enormous potential to create medicines across a broad spectrum of diseases that have eluded other genomics-based approaches, starting with its lead drug candidate SY-1425,” said Dr. Akkaraju. “In just four years, its platform has produced a robust pipeline of clinical and preclinical programs, fueling the Company’s growth from a start-up with a novel idea to a public company with two drug candidates in clinical trials. I look forward to working with the board and leadership to build a great and enduring company that transforms patients’ lives and creates value for investors.”

As previously announced, Stéphane Bancel did not stand for reelection to the Company’s board of directors at the annual stockholders meeting held on June 8, 2017.

“On behalf of our board of directors and management team, I also want to thank Stéphane for his years of service to Syros as a director,” Dr. Simonian said. “His experience building and financing early-stage companies contributed greatly to our development as a Company, and we are grateful for his thoughtful guidance over the years.”

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 in a Phase 1 clinical trial for patients with advanced solid tumors, including transcriptionally dependent cancers such as triple negative breast, small cell lung and ovarian 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 clinical utility of Syros’ drug candidates and the benefits of Syros’ gene control platform. The words ‘‘anticipate,’’ ‘‘believe,’’ ‘‘continue,’’ ‘‘could,’’ ‘‘estimate,’’ ‘‘expect,’’ ‘‘intend,’’ ‘‘may,’’ ‘‘plan,’’ ‘‘potential,’’ ‘‘predict,’’ ‘‘project,’’ ‘‘target,’’ ‘‘should,’’ ‘‘would,’’ and similar expressions are intended to identify forward-looking statements, although not all forward-looking statements contain these identifying words. 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, including SY-1425 and SY-1365, under the timelines it projects in current and future clinical trials; 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 a companion diagnostic test to identify patients with biomarkers associated with the RARA super-enhancer; obtain and maintain patent protection for its drug candidates and the freedom to operate under third party intellectual property; 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 Syros’ Quarterly Report on Form 10-Q for the quarter ended March 31, 2017, which is on file with the Securities and Exchange Commission; and risks described in other filings that Syros 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.

Syros Pharmaceuticals
Naomi Aoki, 617-283-4298
Stern Investor Relations, Inc.
Hannah Deresiewicz, 212-362-1200

Source: Syros Pharmaceuticals