Who We Are

External Advisory Board

Michigan Drug Discovery

External Advisory Board

The External Advisory Board is a volunteer group of industry experts who share a commitment to the University of Michigan. The Board provides strategic guidance to Michigan Drug Discovery leadership in order to advance research projects toward the clinic and strengthen the drug discovery enterprise at U-M.

Limor Ben Har

COO Prilenia Therapeutics; U-M MPP (’07); Tel Aviv University MA and BA ('00)

 

Limor Ben Har runs operations, corporate functions and corporate planning and strategy for Prilenia Therapeutics, a clinical-stage biotech whose lead asset is a first-in-class candidate in multiple movement disorders and neurodegenerative diseases. Limor also serves as CEO of Prilenia’s Israeli entity, Prilenia Neurotherapeutics Ltd. Previously she led R&D planning and operations as Chief of Staff of Teva R&D. Before Teva, Limor spent several years in the national security and foreign policy field. She served in the Israeli National Security Council including as Chief of Staff and also served as Senior Fellow at a Washington DC policy think tank. Limor is currently based in Tel Aviv.

L. Kay Chandler

Partner, Cooley LLP; U-M JD (‘88) and BA (‘85)

 

Kay Chandler founded Cooley LLP’s San Diego office in 1992 and is a partner in the business department of Cooley LLP and a member of the life sciences practice group. She represents public and private life sciences companies in a wide range of corporate and commercial matters, advising biotechnology, diagnostic, medical device and other healthcare companies on complex commercial transactions, including technology licenses and acquisitions, research and development collaborations, supply, distribution and manufacturing agreements, and profit-sharing and co-promotion arrangements. She has been named to the 2006-2013, 2016 and 2017 editions of Best Lawyers in America in the category of Biotechnology and was named San Diego Biotechnology Lawyer of the Year by Best Lawyers of America in 2011. She has been recognized in Chambers USA:  America’s Leading Lawyers for Business 2009-2018 editions in Life Sciences. Kay is currently based in San Diego.

Richard Douglas

Board leadership, including Novavax, Aldeyra and MaxCyte; Advisor at Red Sky Partners; Chair of U-M OTT NAB; University of California, Berkeley PhD (’79); U-M BS (’74) Chemistry

 

Richard Douglas is on the board of directors of Novavax, is Chairman of the Board of Aldeyra Therapeutics, an advisor to Red Sky Partners in Cambridge, and Executive Director of Labyrinth Choir. Until 2011, Richard was the Senior Vice President of Corporate Development and a Corporate Officer at Genzyme Corporation. He has over 30 years of biotechnology experience. Richard was a postdoctoral fellow in Leroy Hood’s laboratory at the California Institute of Technology. He chairs the University of Michigan Technology Transfer National Advisory Board. Richard is currently based in Boston and Florida.

Rick Fair

CEO, Bellicum Pharmaceuticals, Inc; Columbia MBA (’92); U-M BS (’90)

 

Rick Fair is CEO of Houston-based Bellicum Pharmaceuticals, a clinical-stage biopharmaceutical company focused on cellular IO. Previously he was Senior Vice President, Head of Oncology Global Product Strategy at Genentech/Roche where he oversaw the global launch of 5 new molecular entities and numerous line extensions. He also contributed to a substantial expansion of investment into cancer immunotherapy and precision medicine. Previously, he held several commercial leadership positions within Genentech, including franchise leadership with P&L responsibility for its oral oncolytics and thrombolytics businesses. Prior to Genentech, Rick spent 9 years at Johnson & Johnson, holding leadership roles in marketing, managed care and reimbursement strategy, and managed care customer management. He is currently based in San Francisco. 

Brian Gallagher

Partner, Abingworth; U-M PhD (’98) Organic Chemistry; University of Massachusetts Amherst BS (’92) Chemistry

 

Brian Gallagher has more than 20 years of investing, business development, operational and R&D experience in biotech and large pharmaceutical companies. He joined Abingworth in 2018 and sources and supports deals across a wide range of therapeutic areas and stages of development from start-ups to late-stage venture capital investments. Previously, Brian was a partner at SR One for nine years and established SR One’s Boston office.;Before SR One, he was at Sirtris Pharmaceuticals where he was responsible for corporate development, operations and post-merger integration after the company’s acquisition by GSK. Earlier in his career, Brian held key roles in R&D and operations at Alantos Pharmaceuticals (acquired by Amgen) and at Eisai. He currently serves on the board of eFFECTOR Therapeutics and has previously served as a board member at Nimbus Therapeutics, Navitor Pharmaceuticals, River Vision (acquired by Horizon Pharma), Translate Bio (NASDAQ: TBIO), Aileron (NASDAQ: ALRN), Constellation (NASDAQ: CNST), Dicerna (NASDAQ: DRNA), and other companies. Brian is currently based in Boston.

Lawrence G. Hamann

Head of Drug Discovery, Takeda; U-M PhD (’91) Organic Chemistry; University of Detroit BS (’86) Chemistry

 

Prior to assuming the role of Head of Drug Discovery Sciences for Takeda in June 2020, Larry was Corporate VP for Chemistry at Celgene/BMS, where he oversaw medicinal and computational chemistry, biochemistry, structural and chemical biology and screening. In his 28 years in drug discovery, his teams have advanced 18 molecules into the clinic in oncology, immunology, metabolic diseases, virology, and neurology. Included among these are the anti-diabetic drug ONGLYZA™, the anti-hepatitis-C drug DAKLINZA™, and the RNA splicing modulator branaplam for treating spinal muscular atrophy.  Prior to Celgene, he was Executive Director, Global Discovery Chemistry at Novartis, after stints at Bristol-Myers Squibb and Ligand Pharmaceuticals.  In August of 2017, he was awarded he American Chemical Society’s Heroes of Chemistry Award. Larry is currently based in Boston.

Christopher Kirk

Founder and CSO, Kezar Life Sciences; U-M PhD (’99) Cellular and Molecular Biology; University of California, Davis BS (’94) Biochemistry

 

Chris Kirk co-founded Kezar Life Sciences, a clinical-stage biotechnology company developing treatments for autoimmune diseases and cancer. KZR-616, a first-in-class immunoproteasome inhibitor, is currently in three Phase 2 trials across five separate autoimmune diseases. Previously, Chris was VP of Research at Onyx Pharmaceuticals and also served as Director of Pharmacology and Biology at Onyx and at Proteolix, Inc. He is a member of the Scientific Advisory Board at Karyopharm Therapeutics, Inc., C4 Therapeutics, Inc. and Avidity Biosciences LLC. Chris is currently based in San Francisco.

Bruce Leuchter

President and CEO, Neurvati; Wayne State University MD (’00); U-M BA (’96)

 

Bruce Leuchter has deep-rooted, wide-ranging experience in neuroscience, clinical neuropsychiatry, biotechnology equity research, healthcare investment banking, and entrepreneurship. Currently President and CEO of Neurvati, he focuses on building and leading neuroscience companies to help patients suffering from diseases of the brain and nervous system. He completed residency training in neurology and psychiatry at New York Presbyterian Hospital and Weill Cornell Medical College and is a Diplomate of the American Board of Psychiatry and Neurology; he served as Director of Clinical Neuropsychiatry at Weill Cornell Medical College and maintains a voluntary faculty appointment in the Department of Psychiatry. Dr. Leuchter has also held multiple financial services roles including biotechnology equity research at Goldman Sachs, healthcare investment banking at Credits Suisse, and biotechnology mergers and acquisitions at PJT Partners. He is also co-founder of a digital therapeutics company, Click Therapeutics, and serves as a member of the Scientific Advisory Committee for the Daedelus Fund for Innovation at Weill Cornell Medical College, as a member of the Life Science Institute Leadership Council at the University of Michigan, and as a Business Advisory Board member at FOXG1 Research Foundation. He is currently based in New York.

Leah Makley

President and CEO, ViewPoint Therapeutics; U-M PhD (’14) Medicinal Chemistry; University of Dayton BS (’09) Biochemistry

 

Leah Makley founded ViewPoint Therapeutics, focused on developing first-in-class small molecule therapeutics for protein misfolding diseases in ophthalmology, in 2015 after developing ViewPoint’s flagship technology as a graduate student in the lab of Jason Gestwicki at U-M Life Sciences Institute and later at UCSF. While at U-M, she participated in the Pharmacological Sciences Training Program, was a fellow of the American Foundation for Pharmaceutical Education, and was named an Alzheimer’s Drug Discovery Foundation Young Investigator. Leah has expertise in biophysical methods, protein biochemistry, high-throughput screening, and medicinal chemistry. She is currently based in San Francisco.

Joel Martin

CEO and President, IntrepidaBio; U-M MBA (‘93) and BS (‘78) Chemistry; University of California, San Diego PhD (‘83)

 

Before founding IntrepidaBio, a preclinical biotechnology company dedicated to developing cures for cancer through drugs that alter the body’s first line of defense, innate immunity, Joel Martin was the President and CEO of Cebix Incorporated, a company that advanced a diabetes drug rapidly through a large, international Phase 2b trial, and President and CEO of Altair Therapeutics, a Phase 2 asthma company that was acquired in 2010. Joel was also a partner at Forward Ventures from 2001 through 2008, where he led successful investments in neuroscience and cancer companies such as Hypnion, Predix, and Cellective Therapeutics. He began his career as assistant professor of radiology at UCSD. Joel is currently based in San Diego.

Josh Ney

Partner, Barnes & Thornburg LLP; U-M JD (‘09) and PhD (‘07) Chemistry; Dartmouth College BA (’02) Chemistry

 

Josh Ney is a partner in the intellectual property department of Barnes & Thornburg LLP and a member of the firm’s life sciences practice group.  He is a registered patent attorney and counsels pharmaceutical and biotechnology companies in patent portfolio creation and management, product life-cycle planning, and intellectual property due diligence.  Josh has also represented pharmaceutical companies in patent litigation under the Hatch-Waxman Act.  He has been named as a Top Young Lawyer by DBusiness Magazine in 2014; an IP Star by Managing Intellectual Property magazine in 2013, 2014, 2016, and 2017; and an Up & Coming Lawyer by Michigan Lawyers Weekly in 2018.  Josh is currently based in Ann Arbor and Washington, DC.

Mark Noe

VP, Pfizer Worldwide R&D; Harvard University PhD (‘96); U-M BS (‘91) Chemistry

 

Mark Noe is Vice President, Discovery Sciences at Pfizer. The Discovery Sciences group includes structural biology, analytical chemistry, primary pharmacology, compound management, HT ADME and HTS supporting drug design on the East Coast. The department also has an experimental design and computational chemistry group focused on targeted protein degradation technology and vaccine design. Mark has pursued projects as a medicinal chemist in the Oncology, Inflammation and Antibacterials groups at Pfizer. As leader of the Antibacterials Chemistry group, his team delivered clinical candidates from the macrolide, penem, oxazolidinone and monobactam classes along with a new class of LpxC inhibitors. He serves on multiple scientific advisory boards for academic institutions and the biotechnology industry. Mark is currently based in Connecticut.

Barry Sherman

Retired from Genentech; U-M MD ('66) and AB (‘64)

 

Barry Sherman has had more than 30 years of experience in academic and pharmaceutical biomedical research. He was Genentech’s first Senior Vice President and Chief Medical Officer, served as President and CEO of Anergen Inc., and was a founder of Pain Therapeutics and BiPar Sciences. He is a board member and consultant to several biotechnology and pharmaceutical companies. Prior to joining Genentech in 1985, Barry was Professor of Medicine and Endocrinology at the University of Iowa-College of Medicine, where he served as Associate Chairman of the Department of Internal Medicine and Director of the National Institutes of Health-sponsored Clinical Research Center. He is currently based in San Francisco.

Steve Worland

President and CEO, eFFECTOR Therapeutics; University of California, Berkeley PhD (‘84); U-M BS (‘79) Biological Chemistry

 

Steve Worland co-founded eFFECTOR, a clinical stage biotherapeutics company developing selective translation regulator inhibitors for cancer and other serious diseases, based on technology originally developed at UCSF. Steve is also a board member of Tracon Pharmaceuticals and Forge Therapeutics. Steve was CEO of Anadys (Hepatitis C and cancer) until its acquisition by Roche in 2011. Previously, he was VP and head of antiviral research at Pfizer and VP responsible for worldwide anti-infectives strategy at Warner-Lambert. Steve is currently based in San Diego.

 

For questions related to the MDD External Advisory Board, contact Laura J. Williams (laurajw@umich.edu), Life Sciences Institute Director of Development.