Leigh Zawel, Ph.D. headshot

Leigh Zawel, Ph.D.

Executive Partner

Executive Partners

Cambridge Office

Dr. Leigh Zawel is the CSO of Small Molecules for Cullinan Oncology (NASDAQ: CGEM), a portfolio company of the UBS Oncology Impact Fund managed by MPM. Leigh is an oncology expert with significant pharmaceutical experience overseeing large and small-molecule projects He is also a Board Member of Rekindle Therapeutics, an MPM Capital portfolio company.

Prior to joining MPM, Leigh was Vice President and East Coast Site Head for Pfizer’s Centers for Therapeutic Innovation where he managed a portfolio of large and small-molecule projects spanning oncology, immunology and rare disease from which five clinical stage programs emerged in five years. Prior to Pfizer, he was the oncology site lead at Merck Research Laboratories in Boston. In this role, he was responsible for drug discovery efforts focused on the identification of development candidates for programs in the oncology franchise. He also formerly held posts at Sanofi-Aventis, where he was Director of Cancer Biology, and at Novartis Institutes for Biomedical Research, where he was an Oncology Group Leader and led the team credited with discovering LCL161, an industry leading IAP inhibitor. He has a deep background in identifying and validating oncology drug targets and in transitioning drug discovery programs through lead optimization to Phase 1 clinical trials. Leigh has published more than 35 scientific papers. He is also an inventor on 45 patents covering chemical matter, drug combinations, biomarker utility and gene function in areas of apoptosis, inflammation and TGFB signaling.

Leigh earned his Ph.D. in the laboratory of Danny Reinberg where he identified and characterized components of the RNA Polymerase II basal transcription machinery. His postdoctoral training was in the laboratory of Bert Vogelstein and Ken Kinzler and focused on dysregulation of TGFB signaling in cancer. Leigh also holds a M.S. in Bacteriology from the University of Wisconsin, as well as a B.S. in Biology from Rutgers University.