Blueprint Neurotherapeutics Network: Projects, Consultants, and Contractors

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Current Drug Development Projects
 

Disorder Title PI Institution
Familial Dysautonomia
Slaugenhaupt, Susan A.
Massachusetts General Hospital
Age-Related Macular Degeneration
Petrukhin, Konstantin
Columbia University
Narcolepsy
Humphries, Paul Stuart
Reset Therapeutics, Inc
Alzheimer's Disease
Maynard, George Daniel
Axerion Therapeutics, Inc.
Alzheimer's Disease
Wagner, Steven Lee
UC San Diego
Alzheimer's Disease
Gurney, Mark E.
Tetra Discovery Partners, LLC
Drug Addiction
Kenny, Paul J.
Eolas Therapeutics, Inc.
Macular Degeneration
Ostanin, Kirill
Navigen, Inc.


Investor and partner contact information for the above projects. (PDF)

 

Drug Development Consultants 

Paul C. Anderson, Ph.D.

Dr. Anderson is an independent pharmaceutical research consultant, specializing in medicinal chemistry. He has more than 25 years experience in drug discovery research and management, including more than 15 years in executive positions in large pharma and biotech. Dr. Anderson began his career at Merck Frosst then he spent more than 20 years at Boehringer Ingelheim where he held positions of increasing scientific and managerial responsibility, including head of research for the Boehringer Ingelheim research centers in Canada and the United States. He subsequently held senior chemistry management positions at Syndexa Pharmaceuticals and Ra Pharmaceuticals. Dr. Anderson has worked in many therapeutic areas including virology, cardiovascular and metabolic diseases, immunology and inflammation, and CNS diseases. He and his collaborators have advanced numerous compounds into preclinical and clinical development, including ciluprevir (BILN 2061), the first HCV NS3 protease inhibitor to demonstrate anti-viral activity in humans. Dr. Anderson has served on the Board of Directors of the Canadian Society for Chemistry and the Montréal Joint Center for Structural Biology, and on the Editorial Advisory Board of the Canadian Journal of Chemistry. He has 40 scientific publications and patents in the areas of synthetic and medicinal chemistry, and anti-viral research.

Gian Luca Araldi, Ph.D., Pharm.D., M.B.A.

Dr. Araldi is a pharmaceutical and biotechnology executive with more than 25 years of experience having responsibilities ranging from basic research through clinical development at major pharmaceutical companies including Glaxo, Forest Laboratories and Merck-Serono. Dr. Araldi has been involved in the development of key medicines such as Teflaro®, Dutogliptin®, Gavestinel®, Sanfetrinem® and Sanfetrinem® Cilexetil and is inventor of 113 granted patents. His areas of expertise span from medicinal chemistry to process development, manufacturing, and project management. Throughout his career, he has worked in diverse therapeutic areas which include oncology, cardiovascular disease, neurological disorders and immunology where he has obtained many breakthrough results.  He has fostered constructive relationships with many academic labs, biotech, pharma companies and government institutions both domestic and foreign. Dr. Araldi has a doctorate degree in Organic Chemistry and a doctorate degree in Pharmacy awarded both from the University of Parma (Italy) and recently received his M.B.A. in Finance from Long Island University Post and Project Management certification from Stony Brook University.

Marc Bailie, D.V.M., Ph.D.

Dr. Bailie is the Chief Development Officer at Integrated Nonclinical Development Solutions Inc., a drug development consulting company, and the Director of the In Vivo Facility in the Department of Pharmacology and Toxicology at Michigan State University. Prior to his current roles, he spent 11 years at Parke-Davis/Pfizer, building and directing the Safety Pharmacology Group within Drug Safety Research and Development. Dr. Bailie also has extensive experience in a broad array of animal models for the evaluation of pharmacologic and toxicologic activity of compounds. Over his tenure at Parke-Davis/Pfizer, he served on numerous Discovery and Development project teams across a variety of therapeutic areas, provided scientific direction for safety pharmacology both locally and on a global basis, and served as expert council for cardiovascular and general safety pharmacology within and outside of Pfizer. Dr. Bailie has published over 30 papers in peer-reviewed journals, and has led or participated in several expert working groups sponsored by the ISLI Health and Environmental Sciences Institute.

Vince Groppi, Ph.D.

Dr. Groppi is the Vice President and Chief Scientific Officer at Essen BioScience where he has built a strong research team that develops high value assays, instruments and reagents to advance drug discovery projects. Earlier, Dr. Groppi worked 20 years at Upjohn, Pharmacia and Pfizer leading efforts in all aspects of drug discovery and development through Phase 2 clinical trials. Among the projects Dr. Groppi has advanced from concept to clinical development include α7 nicotinic acetylcholine receptor agonists for cognition, use-dependent blockers of voltage-dependent sodium channels for mood stabilization and pain, and two novel antipsychotic drugs for bipolar disorder and schizophrenia. Prior to these positions, Dr. Groppi worked at NovelTech to help develop the FLIPR, an instrument that became the industry standard for measuring functional pharmacology of G-protein coupled receptor and ion channel targets. His research has resulted in 11 issued patents, 38 peer reviewed publications and the receipt of the Upjohn Award. Dr. Groppi has experience in many therapeutic areas including CNS, pain, inflammation, metabolism, cardiovascular disease, oncology, and infectious diseases.

Graham Johnson, Ph.D.

During an extensive medicinal chemistry career, Dr. Johnson held a number of senior leadership positions in biotech, large pharmaceuticals and in pharmaceutical consulting.   These roles have included: President of NuPharmAdvise LLC, Senior Vice President, Preclinical Development and Research for AVI BioPharma, Chief Research Officer for Rib-X Pharmaceuticals, Vice President of Bristol-Myers Squibb Discovery Chemistry for Connecticut and Canada, and Director of Neuroscience Chemistry for Parke-Davis Pharmaceuticals.  Over his 33-year career, Dr. Johnson has worked in such diverse areas as neuroscience, infectious and genitourinary diseases, inflammation and in RNA therapeutics. Dr. Johnson is an inventor on more than 54 patents and has co-authored more than 60 peer-reviewed publications.  Dr. Johnson was a permanent steering committee member and scientific advisor for the Spinomuscular Atrophy Project, an NINDS-sponsored collaborative program to accelerate therapeutics development for spinal muscular atrophy and until recently, an Independent Observer for the European Union’s Innovative Medicine Initiative.  He currently sits on the scientific advisory board for and is a drug discovery consultant to Galenea Corporation (Cambridge, Mass).

Jon P. Lawson, Ph.D.

Dr. Lawson is owner of J. P. Lawson Consulting LLC, advising the small molecule drug discovery community with drug development expertise. His experience includes over 10 years in discovery-related research and over 20 years in pharmaceutical process development at Monsanto, G. D. Searle, Pharmacia, and Pfizer. With Monsanto, Dr. Lawson was engaged in the discovery of new agricultural chemicals and in the synthesis of product metabolites to support Monsanto’s regulatory efforts. After transitioning to G. D. Searle’s chemical development group, he developed commercial processes for an important cardiovascular drug and led a team chartered with rapid identification of commercial manufacturing routes for a variety of drug candidates. With Pharmacia, he focused on early development, leading a team that developed initial manufacturing processes for compounds entering development. With Pfizer, he provided development guidance to the Inflammation Research group, and led the development and transfer of enabling processes into Pfizer’s global manufacturing facilities. Following the closure of Pfizer’s St. Louis research site, he founded J. P. Lawson Consulting and provides consulting services to a variety of drug discovery organizations as they move their candidates into early phase clinical trials. Dr. Lawson has 39 patents and publications in the development of synthetic methodology and drug manufacture.

Jiunn Lin, Ph.D.

Dr. Lin is an independent consultant who specializes in pharmacokinetics and drug metabolism. He currently provides consultation services for numerous Fortune 500 biotechnology companies in support of their drug discovery and development programs of small molecular compounds as well as large molecular biologics. He was formerly Executive Director at Merck Research Laboratories in charge of drug discovery and preclinical development. During his 26 year career at Merck, Dr. Lin made significant contributions to the FDA approval of 7 blockbuster drugs (Pepcid, Singulair, Fosamax, Crixivan, Trusopt, Cozaar, and Cancidas). Dr. Lin’s vast research experience and interests include dose- and species-dependent pharmacokinetics, in vitro-in vivo drug metabolism, renal handling of drugs, CNS drug delivery, and the role of drug transporters in tissue distribution and CNS transport. Recently, his research interest has focused on the pharmacokinetics of large molecules, including therapeutic monoclonal antibodies, proteins, and peptides. Dr. Lin has published more than 175 peer-reviewed research papers, 28 review articles, 10 book chapters, and 3 patents since 1978.

William H. Martin, Ph.D.

Dr. Martin is a consultant for biotechnology companies with a focus on early drug discovery programs. Dr. Martin started his career in the pharmaceutical industry at Pfizer where he directed groups that focused on biochemical and cell-based assay development, high throughput screening and compound characterization for both potency and mechanism of action. Dr. Martin also led a group that developed high speed safety assays to evaluate the suitability of chemical series for pursuit in drug discovery programs. After leaving Pfizer, he joined Cara Therapeutics where he led a group responsible for in vitro biochemical and cell-based assays for several drug discovery programs. Dr. Martin is highly experienced in developing and applying biochemical and cell biological assays for high throughput screening, structure-activity relationships and safety assessment as well as leading cross-discipline projects to implement new processes and software.

Lisa Minor, Ph.D.

Dr. Minor is President of In Vitro Strategies, LLC, a consulting company involved in assay development and screening strategies, technology evaluation and development, and product marketability assessment. Prior to this, Dr. Minor was a long-term employee of Johnson and Johnson where she managed projects and developed strategies across multidisciplinary teams in areas such as target identification, screening strategy and lead optimization. At Johnson and Johnson, Dr. Minor developed cell-based and biochemical assays for high throughput screening as well as safety screens (hERG patch, hepatotoxicity and functional G-protein coupled receptor assays) for compound profiling. In other roles, she advised therapeutic area teams on data interpretation and follow-up, and participated in technology development projects resulting in marketed products, including Seahorse metabolic profiling instrumentation and Quantigene mRNA detection technology. Dr. Minor is a past board member of the Society for Laboratory Automation and Screening, is on the Board of Scientific Counselors for the National Toxicology Program, and has published the Handbook of Assay Development for Drug Discovery. Dr. Minor is well recognized in the field of high throughput screening, especially for cell-based assays, and has broad drug discovery experience including therapeutic area research, target validation, assay development, high throughput screening and safety profiling.

Neil Moss, Ph.D.

Dr. Moss operates Drug Discovery Solutions, a medicinal chemistry and drug discovery consulting business. He was formerly a Distinguished Research Fellow in the Department of Medicinal Chemistry at Boehringer-Ingelheim Pharmaceuticals. During Dr. Moss’s 23 years in the industry, he led projects covering a range of molecular targets (kinases, proteases, GPCRs, ion channels, enzymes, nuclear receptors, protein-protein association) deploying multiple drug discovery approaches (structure-based design, fragment-based drug discovery, high throughput screening lead identification and optimization, literature to lead). He was a member of the management team responsible for program and portfolio review and prioritization. Dr. Moss is recognized as a strong scientific mentor and was a founding member of the Boehringer-Ingelheim Medicinal Chemistry Consultants Network responsible for reviewing and consulting on drug discovery projects at all four Boehringer sites worldwide.

Paul G. Pearson, Ph.D.

Dr. Pearson is President and Chief Executive Officer of Pearson Pharma Partners, a consulting organization that specializes in pharmacokinetics, drug metabolism and translational science for biopharma and venture capital companies. In prior positions, he served as Global Head and Vice President of Pharmacokinetics and Drug Metabolism at Amgen and as Executive Director of Preclinical Drug Metabolism at Merck Research Laboratories where he was responsible for drug metabolism support for drug discovery and development programs. Dr Pearson has published extensively in the areas of pharmacokinetics, drug metabolism, reactive drug metabolites, drug-drug interactions and drug-induced toxicities, as well as co edited the Handbook of Drug Metabolism. His research interests are focused on pharmacokinetics and drug metabolism, including the understanding of factors that influence the pharmacokinetics, metabolism, efficacy and safety of novel therapeutic agents in humans. For a period of almost 20 years, Dr Pearson has made major contributions to the approval of important new therapeutics to treat cancer (Camposar, Vectibix), Parkinson’s disease, hematological disorders (Nplate), HIV (Isentress) and fatal fungal infections (Cancidas).

Donna Romero, Ph.D.

Dr. Romero is President of Pharma-Vation Consulting, LLC, which provides medicinal and synthetic chemistry expertise to small biotechnology companies, venture capital firms and the NIH Spinal Muscular Atrophy project. Trained as a synthetic chemist, Dr. Romero has over 20 years of experience working in positions ranging from lab leader to senior director in the pharmaceutical industry, including Upjohn, Pharmacia and Pfizer. While at Pharmacia, she led the Bacterial Genome project team which was responsible for the identification of novel antibacterial targets and subsequent identification of leads that inhibited those targets. Dr. Romero discovered Rescriptor®, a non-nucleoside reverse transcriptase inhibitor marketed for treating AIDS, has published 43 peer-reviewed articles, and is an inventor on many patents. She has experience working in a variety of therapeutic areas including infectious diseases, oncology, cardiovascular, and the central nervous system.

John M. “Jay” Sisco, Ph.D.

Dr. Sisco is a well-seasoned pharmaceutical executive with extensive experience in the pre-clinical IND-enabling and Chemistry, Manufacturing, and Controls (CMC) arenas of pharmaceutical product development.  Currently he is President and Founder of the consulting firm, JM Sisco Pharma Consulting, LLC.  In his most recent industrial position, he was Senior Vice President of Preclinical and Pharmaceutical R&D at King Pharmaceuticals/Pfizer. He also has held executive positions at Nektar Therapeutics, Pfizer, Parke-Davis/Warner Lambert, and Oread, as well as scientific positions at Glaxo, Boehringer Ingelheim, and Schering. Over the course of his career, he has contributed to nearly 100 IND and 15 approved NDA filings.  Dr. Sisco has a broad industry background, having worked for start-up companies and large multi-national pharmaceutical companies.  His managerial experience includes overseeing colleagues and programs at multiple sites in multiple countries.  He has worked on both sides of the fee-for-service industry and has experience with various R&D business models ranging from purely virtual to highly inward-focused.  Dr. Sisco has been involved in the leadership of the American Association of Pharmaceutical Scientists (AAPS), holding elected positions as AAPS President and Executive Council Member-at-Large.  He remains active in the association with his participation in the AAPS Mentoring Program. Dr. Sisco received his Ph.D. in pharmaceutical chemistry from the University of Kansas where he studied the mechanisms responsible for the unexpected stability and pharmacokinetics of a bis-imide anti-neoplastic agent under Dr. Valentino J. Stella.

Ronald E. White, Ph.D.

Dr. White is President of White Global Pharma Consultants, LLC in Cranbury, New Jersey. He was formerly Distinguished Research Fellow, Pharmaceutical Candidate Optimization at Bristol-Myers Squibb and Vice President at the Schering-Plough Research Institute in charge of all ADME, pharmacokinetics and bioanalytical in both discovery and clinical development. In that position, he developed Noxafil® (posaconazole), PEG-Intron® (pegylated interferon-alpha), Victrellis® (bocepravir), Vorapaxar® (thrombin receptor antagonist), and Zetia® (ezetimibe). Prior to joining industry in 1987, he was Associate Professor of Pharmacology at the University of Connecticut School of Medicine. He is a past member of the Pharmacology Study Section of the National Institutes of Health and of the Drug Metabolism Technical Group of Pharmaceutical Research Manufacturers of America and was Chair of the Gordon Research Conference on Drug Metabolism. He is currently a member of the Editorial Board of the journal Drug Metabolism and Disposition and Adjunct Professor of Chemical Biology in the Rutgers University School of Pharmacy. Dr. White holds a Ph.D. in Organic Chemistry from the University of Wisconsin and completed post-doctoral research in biochemistry at the University of Michigan. He has lectured and published extensively in the areas of drug metabolizing enzymes, pharmacokinetics and drug discovery, and is the holder of five United States patents.

Steven D. Young, Ph.D.

Dr. Young is a retired Vice President, Basic Research and former Head of the Department of Medicinal Chemistry at West Point, and currently Acting Head of Chemistry for BeiGene LTD, an innovative oncology-focused biotech in Beijing, China. During his tenure at Merck, the Medicinal Chemistry Department’s programs worked on drug candidates for a variety of diseases, including HIV/AIDS, Hepatitis C, endocrine problems, sleep disorders, depression, pain, migraine, schizophrenia, and Alzheimer’s disease. Dr. Young’s research at Merck, which began in 1982, focused on designing and synthesizing small molecule antivirals targeting the HIV protease, reverse transcriptase, and integrase enzymes. This led to efavirenz (StocrinTM, Merck; SustivaTM, Bristol-Meyers-Squibb), a widely prescribed non-nucleoside reverse transcriptase inhibitor. In conjunction with the antiviral research group, his work toward an effective HIV integrase inhibitor to treat HIV/AIDS led to the first clinical proof of concept for this mechanism . Continued work led to altegravir (IsentressTM, Merck), which gained regulatory approval in 2007. Dr. Young completed his Ph.D. in organic chemistry in Professor Clayton Heathcock’s laboratory at the University of California, Berkeley, after graduating from Stevens Institute of Technology. He has published extensively in journals on synthetic organic chemistry and drug design, and has 34 U.S. patents covering an array of drug candidates. He is a member of the Editorial Board for the journal ChemMedChem, and is a member of the Medicinal Chemistry Section of the American Chemical Society, AAAS, Sigma Xi and Scientific Advisory Boards for the University of Pennsylvania and University of California, Berkeley.

 

Steering Committee
 

Michael J. Detke, M.D., Ph.D.

Mike Detke is a board-certified psychiatrist with over 25 years of research, clinical and drug development experience. Through his company, he consults to multiple pharma, biotech, and NIH customers regarding all aspects of CNS clinical trial design and conduct, serves on scientific advisory boards, data & safety monitoring boards, etc. As MedAvante CMO, he led a team dedicated to improving signal detection in CNS clinical trials, collaborating with almost all CNS pharmas & biotechs, NIMH, the VA, etc. Products included centralized ratings, central audio/video review, rater training, etc. As head of early phase CNS development at Eli Lilly, he oversaw all assets targeting psychiatric, neurological, and pain indications from candidate selection to proof-of-concept. Previously at Lilly, he was Senior Medical Director for Phase III development for Cymbalta and Phase IV for Prozac. This included all lifecycle indications for Cymbalta globally. Both roles also included general management of large teams of physicians/scientists and significant budgetary responsibilities. Dr. Detke has taught and supervised medical students and residents in patient care as an adjunct Clinical Professor of Psychiatry at Indiana University School of Medicine since 2000. He graduated summa cum laude with a BA and MS in Psychology at Yale University, and received his MA, MD, and PhD degrees at the University of Pennsylvania, where he was awarded NIH and NIMH fellowships. His training in medicine and psychiatry were conducted at Harvard Medical School, at the Mt. Auburn, McLean, and Massachusetts General Hospitals, and he completed a fellowship in psychopharmacology at Harvard Medical School and McLean Hospital. He has published over 70 manuscripts in peer-reviewed journals, serves as a reviewer for numerous such journals, and is a member of selective scientific organizations such as ACNP, ASCP, ISCTM and SOBP.

Peter Farina, Ph.D.

Dr. Peter Farina is an Executive in Residence at Canaan Partners, a venture capital firm he advises on pharma/biotech/healthcare investments, and is the managing partner of a consulting firm, Salient Science & Technology, LLC, which advises US and Chinese biotech firms on strategic and technical matter in pharmaceutical R&D. Dr. Farina currently serves as the Co-Chairman and Board Member of Connecticut United for Research Excellence (CURE); the Advisory Board of the University of Connecticut School of Pharmacy, Emory University DRIVE Advisory Board, and was a Founder and CEO of Developing World Cures, a nonprofit company working on neglected diseases. Dr. Peter Farina retired in 2008 as Senior Vice President of Development at Boehringer Ingelheim Pharmaceuticals, Inc. in Ridgefield, CT where he was responsible for North American development of drugs in the therapeutics areas of Immunology/Inflammation, Virology and Cardiovascular Disease. During his tenure as SVP at BI, his interdisciplinary team worked on the development and successful registration of Aptivus®, an HIV protease inhibitor, Viramune XR® for HIV and Atrovent HFA® for COPD and emphysema. Prior to this position he served as Vice President of Research at the Ridgefield Center. He has also held positions as Director of Inflammatory Diseases and Director of Biochemistry over his 28 year career with Boehringer Ingelheim. Prior to joining BI he spent 6 years in the Corporate Research Laboratories and Medical Products Division of Union Carbide Corporation in Tarrytown, NY where he did research and development of immunodiagnostics. Dr. Farina’s research interest has been generally at the interface of chemistry and biology. He has worked over his research career on inflammatory and immunological mechanisms, particularly cytokines and arachidonic acid mediators. In addition, he was engaged in HIV virology research which led to discovery and successful registration of one of the first non-nucleoside reverse transcriptase inhibitors Viramune® (nevirapine). He is the author of over fifty publications and patents. Dr. Farina has a Ph.D. in organic chemistry from SUNY Buffalo and did postdoctoral work in bioorganic chemistry at Pennsylvania State University with Dr. Stephen Benkovic.

John McCall, Ph.D.

Dr. McCall’s expertise is drug discovery, risk minimization, and medicinal chemistry. He has worked in a number of disease areas including acute and chronic neurologic disorders.  He is currently President, PharMac LLC.  He began his career as a medicinal chemist with Upjohn and has subsequently held positions with Pharmacia and Upjohn, Pharmacia, and Pfizer.  Dr. McCall was Director of CNS Research with Upjohn, Vice President and Global Head of Chemistry for both Pharmacia and Pharmacia & Upjohn and Vice President Research with Pfizer.  Dr. McCall is currently the chair of the development team for the NINDS Spinal Muscular Atrophy Project, serves on nineteen administrative and scientific advisory boards, consults, and has co-founded ReveraGen, a company that is developing new therapies for muscular dystrophy. 

Jeffrey Conn, Ph.D.

Dr. Conn is the Lee E. Limbird Professor of Pharmacology at Vanderbilt University and Director of the Vanderbilt Center for Neuroscience Drug Discovery.  Dr. Conn received the Ph.D. degree in Pharmacology from Vanderbilt in 1986 and pursued postdoctoral studies at Yale University.  Dr. Conn joined the faculty of the Department of Pharmacology at Emory University in 1988 where he where he established himself as a leader in studies of neurotransmitter receptors and their roles in regulating brain function.   In 2000, Dr. Conn moved to Merck and Company in West Point, PA, where he served as head of the Department of Neuroscience.  Dr. Conn moved to Vanderbilt University in 2003 where he is the founding director of the Vanderbilt Canter for Neuroscience Drug Discovery (VCNDD), with a primary mission of facilitating translation of recent advances in basic science to novel therapeutics.  The VPDD now consists of approximately 100 full time scientists and has advanced novel molecules from four major programs as development candidates for clinical testing in major brain disorders with industry partners.  Dr. Conn is Editor in Chief of Molecular Pharmacology and serves on the editorial boards of 6 other international journals.   He has served the Scientific Advisory Boards of multiple foundations and companies in the pharmaceutical and biotech industries;   He has received numerous awards, including the NARSAD Essel Distinguished Investigator Award, the ASPET-Astellas Award in Translational Pharmacology, the PhRMA Foundation Award for Excellence in Pharmacology and Toxicology, among others.  He was named as an ISI Most-Cited Scientists in Pharmacology & Toxicology and the Lee University 2008 Distinguished Alumnus of the Year.  Dr. Conn’s current research is focused on development of novel treatment strategies for schizophrenia, Parkinson’s disease, and other serious brain disorders.

Bryan Roth, M.D., Ph.D.

Dr. Roth is the Michael Hooker Distinguished Professor of Pharmacology and the Director of the National Institute of Mental Health Psychoactive Drug Screening Program at the University of North Carolina Chapel Hill Medical School.  Dr. Roth also is a psychiatrist, and in both his preclinical and clinical activities has participated in all phases of CNS drug discovery.

Roth lab web page: http://pdsp.med.unc.edu/rothlab/

 

Research Service Contractors 

  • AMRI: medicinal chemistry and in vitro ADMET
  • Southern Research: ADMET
  • SRI International: ADMET
  • Collaborative Drug Discovery: data management

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