Casma Therapeutics Strengthens Leadership Team with Appointment of Chief Operating Officer, Vice President of People & Culture

December 12, 2018
CAMBRIDGE, Mass. – Dec. 12, 2018 – Casma Therapeutics, Inc., a biotechnology company harnessing the process of autophagy to design powerful new medicines, today announced the appointment of two senior executives who will help lead Casma through its next phase of growth.

Caren Block, Casma’s new vice president of people & culture, has extensive experience in developing and leading talent acquisition and development, performance awareness and employee culture programs in the health care space.

Frank Gentile, Ph.D., who has been serving as Casma’s interim chief operating officer, moves into the job on a full-time basis, bringing deep expertise in building and investing in private and public biotech companies.

“Caren and Frank bring wonderful insights and deep skill sets to Casma, and we are delighted to have both on board,” said Keith Dionne, Ph.D., Casma’s chief executive officer. “Their support is integral to our goal of creating an enabling environment where together we can create breakthrough medicines for patients in need.”

Caren Block has more than 20 years of experience working with companies to acquire and retain talent, build a positive culture and sustain growth. She comes to Casma from GNS Healthcare, Inc., where she served as senior vice president of people & culture and developed multiple initiatives contributing to employee well-being. Previously, she served in human resource roles at Neon Therapeutics, Inc., Daktari Diagnostics, Inc., and The RMR Group. Earlier in her career she was director of program management at Core2 Business Consulting, Inc. Since 2000, Block has served as a mentor with Women Unlimited, Inc., an organization that develops female corporate leaders. Block has a bachelor’s degree from Kean University and a master’s in business and organizational communication from Emerson College.

“I’m passionate about nurturing talent, fostering personal growth and sustaining positive cultures,” Block said. “It is inspiring to take on those roles at a company with such a bold scientific vision.”

Frank Gentile, Ph.D. is a venture partner at Third Rock Ventures, LLC, where he works on creating and sustaining biotech companies. Previously, he served as senior vice president at Tekla Capital Management, LLC, where he evaluated and invested in healthcare companies at all stages of development. Gentile has also held leadership roles at Millennium Pharmaceuticals, Curis, Inc. and CytoTherapeutics, Inc. He spent two decades as an adjunct associate professor of pharmacology and biotechnology at Brown University. He has served on numerous boards for biotechnology and medtech companies and has given numerous scientific and investment presentations at conferences and universities. Gentile has a B.E. in chemical engineering from The Cooper Union for the Advancement of Science & Art and a Ph.D. in chemical engineering from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. He completed a postdoctoral fellowship at the Swiss Federal Institute of Technology in Zurich.

“I loved working on Casma since its inception at Third Rock and am thrilled to stay with the team as we work to apply a wave of exciting new autophagy research to our drug discovery programs,” Gentile said. “This field has the potential to make a real difference for patients, and Casma is leading the way.”

About Casma Therapeutics
Casma Therapeutics is harnessing the natural cellular process of autophagy to open vast new target areas for drug discovery and development. Casma uses several approaches to intervene at strategic points throughout the autophagy-lysosome system to improve the cellular process of clearing out unwanted proteins, organelles and invading pathogens. By boosting autophagy, Casma expects to be able to arrest or reverse the progression of lysosomal storage disorders, muscle disorders, inflammatory disorders and neurodegeneration, among other indications. Casma was launched in 2018 by Third Rock Ventures and is based in Cambridge, Mass. For more information, please visit


Ten Bridge Communications
Stephanie Simon, 617-581-9333

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