Former Sanofi Executive Named CEO of Synta Pharmaceuticals

Synta Pharmaceuticals Corp. has named Anne Whitaker as president, chief executive officer and a member of the company's board of directors, effective September 2, 2014. She has more than 20 years of experience in the pharmaceutical industry, principally at GlaxoSmithKline and Sanofi including, most recently, the role of president, North America Pharmaceuticals, at Sanofi.

Synta Pharmaceuticals Corp, based in Lexington, Massachusetts,. is a biopharmaceutical company focused on discovering, developing, and commercializing small-molecule drugs to treat severe medical conditions, including cancer and chronic inflammatory diseases. Its lead compound is ganetespib, in Phase II/III development  to treat various cancers. In preclinical models, ganetespib was shown to inhibit a molecular chaperone called Hsp90, essential to the function of many of the most fundamental drivers of cancer cell growth and proliferation. Treatment with ganetespib has been shown in preclinical models to reduce some aggressive features of tumors, such as the ability to induce the growth of new blood vessels (angiogenesis), to spread to other organs in the body (metastasis), and to resist attack by traditional therapies (chemo-resistance).

As president, North America Pharmaceuticals, at Sanofi, Whitaker oversaw all pharmaceutical and consumer healthcare operations within the region, including the diabetes, oncology, cardiovascular and other patient centered units, Chattem (CHC), US market access, US medical and regulatory affairs, business strategy, planning and operations and Canada Pharmaceuticals. She also served as a member of Sanofi's Global Leadership Team, Global Commercial Operations Committee, and US regional Management.

She began her career at Delta Communications and joined the Upjohn Company in 1991 as a metabolic disease specialist. She joined GlaxoSmithKline in 1992 as a sales representative and held various leadership positions in the commercial organization. In 2001, she became vice president of critical and supportive care before being appointed senior vice president of leadership and organization development from 2008 to 2009. In 2009, Anne became senior vice president and business unit head, cardiovascular, metabolic and urology (CVMU) at GlaxoSmithKline, where she had full commercial responsibility for leading, developing, and managing strategic performance of the CVMU business. In September 2011, she joined Sanofi as President, North America Pharmaceuticals.

Source: Synta Pharmaceuticals

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