Senior Management

Nancy Simonian, M.D., Chief Executive Officer
Syros is led by Nancy Simonian, M.D. Nancy has an established track record of value creation in biotechnology, most recently as chief medical officer at Millennium Pharmaceuticals and, previously, as vice president of clinical development at Biogen. Under Nancy’s leadership at Millennium, Velcade became a mainstay of treatment for multiple myeloma, and a billion dollar commercial blockbuster. Nancy also built and advanced Millennium’s promising pipeline of clinical stage drugs for cancer and inflammatory diseases. At Biogen, Nancy played a central role in developing and commercializing Avonex, Biogen’s blockbuster product for multiple sclerosis. Nancy started her career as a member of the faculty at Harvard Medical School and neurology staff at Massachusetts General Hospital. She trained in neurology and internal medicine at the MGH and graduated with a degree in biology from Princeton. She is a member of the board of directors of Seattle Genetics, Inc., the Personalized Medicine Coalition and formerly Arqule, Inc.

 

Eric R. Olson, Ph.D., Chief Scientific Officer
Eric has over 25 years experience in the life sciences industry, most recently as Research Vice President for respiratory diseases at Vertex Pharmaceuticals. During his 12 years at Vertex, he led research, development and commercial teams in bringing to patients the first cystic fibrosis (CF) treatment resulting from discovery of the CF gene. In addition to his work at Vertex Pharmaceuticals, Dr. Olson has also held positions as the Director of Antibacterials and Molecular Sciences departments at Warner-Lambert/Pfizer, as well as a research scientist focused on gene expression systems with The Upjohn Company. Dr. Olson earned his B.S. in microbiology from the University Minnesota and a Ph.D. in microbiology and immunology from the University of Michigan. He is published in over 40 academic journals.

 

Scott Rakestraw, Ph.D., Chief Business Officer
Scott is Founder and Managing Director of The Branta Group LLC, a healthcare capital investment and strategic advisory firm known for taking an active management role with its clients and portfolio companies in the biotechnology, medical device, diagnostics, venture capital, and private equity sectors. Prior to founding The Branta Group LLC, Scott was a co-founder and principal of Orchid GeneShield, a subsidiary of Orchid BioSciences (Nasdaq: ORCH), and served as Corporate Vice President of Business Development and a member of the Board of Directors of Altus Pharmaceuticals, Inc. (Nasdaq: ALTU). Earlier in his career, he held a variety of executive roles at DuPont Ventures. Scott received his B.S. from the University of Illinois and his Ph.D. from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. He serves on the Chemical & Biomolecular Engineering Advisory Board of the University of Illinois, the Biomedical Engineering Advisory Board of Rutgers University, and formerly the board of directors of CellScape Corporation.

 

Gregg Beloff, J.D., Chief Financial Officer
Over his 20 year career, Gregg has worked for both public and private companies and in capital markets in the life sciences sector.  Gregg brings expertise in financial management, corporate strategy, business development, mergers and acquisitions and fundraising.  Gregg is the co-founder and managing director of Danforth Advisors, a firm that specializes in providing outsourced financial, operational, and strategic consulting services to life science companies.  Gregg joined Syros as part-time CFO in 2012. From 2003 to 2009, Gregg served as the CFO of Archemix, a venture-backed life sciences company. During his tenure, he oversaw all aspects of financial operations and accounting, and participated in raising more than $100 million from venture capitalists and strategic investors. Prior to that, he served as the CFO at ImmunoGen (2001-2003). His diverse background includes successful investment banking and corporate law careers. Gregg holds a J.D. from University of Pittsburgh School of Law, and M.B.A. from Carnegie Mellon University and a B.A. from Middlebury College.

 

Christian Fritz, Ph.D., Vice President, Biology
Christian joins Syros from Infinity Pharmaceuticals and brings with him more than 15 years of drug discovery experience. At Infinity, he was in charge of biochemistry, cell biology and pharmacology working on compound mechanism of action, novel indications/combinations and the early drug pipeline. He also was instrumental in establishing a molecular pathology group that has developed multiple clinical biomarkers to help predict patient response to Infinity drug candidates. Before Infinity, Christian was at Millennium Pharmaceuticals where he was involved in target discovery and validation, HTS, hit-to-lead and lead optimization. Christian obtained his degree in biochemistry from the University of Hannover and his Ph.D. in molecular biology/genetics from the University of Cologne, working at the Max-Planck Institute. He did postdoctoral work at Harvard and UMass Medical School.

 

Kevin Sprott, Ph.D., Senior Director, Chemistry
Kevin brings over 10 years of small molecule drug discovery experience in the biotech industry, having spent the majority of his career in inflammation and cancer. He and his teams have delivered 5+ novel chemical entities from discovery phase into human clinical development. Most recently, Kevin was the head of Chemistry at Verastem, where he helped establish the scientific unit, driving preclinical-stage programs and executing diligence on 4 compounds (ranging from preclinical to Phase II) acquired through licensing. Prior to Verastem, Kevin had medicinal chemistry and program leadership roles at Ironwood Pharmaceuticals (previously Microbia) and Millennium Pharmaceuticals. Prior to his work in the pharmaceutical industry, Kevin earned his Ph.D. in synthetic chemistry from the University of Kansas and was an NIH-sponsored post-doctoral fellow with E.J. Corey at Harvard University. Kevin is an inventor on over 25 patent and patent applications.