Senior Vice President, Head of Discovery Research
Dr. Paul Secrist is an accomplished oncology drug hunter, having played a major role in the discovery and development of two of the most innovative targeted cancer therapeutics yet developed. Specifically, while at Aton Pharma, Dr. Secrist spearheaded biology efforts studying histone deacetylase inhibitors, ultimately leading to the FDA approval of the first targeted epigenetic drug, the histone deacetylase inhibitor, Zolinza®. While at AstraZeneca, Dr. Secrist led from conception to realization the effort and the team that successfully brought AZD5991 to the clinic; this molecule is a first-in-class inhibitor of Mcl-1, a key cancer cell-survival protein previously believed to be “undruggable”. Teams working under Paul’s leadership have taken several additional oncology drug discovery projects from initiation through the clinical candidate selection process and IND-enabling studies.Dr. Secrist began his 21-year drug hunting career as a discovery scientist at Cadus and OSI Pharmaceuticals, then transitioned to roles of increasing responsibility at Aton Pharma, Merck, and Archemix Corp. Most recently, prior to joining LifeMine, Dr. Secrist was Director of Cancer Biosciences at AstraZeneca, leading multiple scientific initiatives and drug development programs, including Mcl-1.Dr. Secrist earned his PhD in pharmacology from the Graduate School of the Mayo Clinic, and completed a post-doctoral fellowship at the National Jewish Hospital in cancer biology and oncogenic signal transduction. He received a BA in biology from Wartburg College.