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Lawrence W Fitzgerald, PhD, MBA
Co-founder President and Chief Executive Officer
Dr. Fitzgerald is an accomplished “drug hunter” with more than 18 years of drug discovery and executive research leadership experience in the Neurosciences in both pharma and start-up biotech settings. Over this period, his teams have advanced more than 15 drug candidates into clinical development. He has also co-authored more than 50 peer-reviewed research articles, reviews, and book chapters. He is President and Owner of LW Fitzgerald Consulting, LLC, a consulting practice focused on providing operational and strategic expertise and leadership to entities engaged in drug discovery and development. He is also a member of the Scientific and Medical Committee of the Tuberous Sclerosis Alliance, a medical research-based non-profit organization.
Previously, Dr. Fitzgerald was Vice President of Biology of Sage Therapeutics, Inc. where he led discovery biology and translational science efforts. He was also Vice President of Biology at Lundbeck USA where his team focused on innovative therapeutic approaches to treating psychiatric and neurological diseases. Prior to Lundbeck, Dr. Fitzgerald was Director and Head of Neuroscience Biology at AstraZeneca Pharmaceuticals. He also served in multiple discovery leadership roles while at Pfizer, Inc. including Co-founder and Senior Director of Pfizer’s Autism Research Unit, the first unit of its kind in the pharma industry. He was a Senior Scientist at DuPont Merck Pharmaceutical Co. and Associate Fellow at Pharmacia Corp. earlier in his career.
Dr. Fitzgerald is a graduate of Fairfield University where he earned a BA in Psychology. He received his MS and PhD degrees in Pharmacology from the Albany Medical College, and did postdoctoral training at Yale University School of Medicine. He also holds an MBA degree from the University of Michigan, Ross School of Business.
Mahesh Lachyankar, PhD
Co-founder, Chief Operating Officer and Head of Business Development
Dr. Lachyankar was previously Chief Scientific advisor to USAMRIIID, Frederick, MD and President of BiologyConsultants LLC, a firm focused on providing expert strategic and operational services for a variety of clients engaged in drug discovery including pharma, biotech, academia, non-profit organizations and government agencies. Dr. Lachyankar is an accomplished “drug hunter” with more than 12 years of drug discovery and more than 25 years of research/leadership experience in the multiple therapeutic areas in large Pharma, Contract Research Organizations (CRO) and Academic settings. His teams have helped advance more than 5 drug candidates into clinical development.
Previously, Dr. Lachyankar was Director (Biology and Biotherapeutics) at GVKBIO where he led efforts to establish novel platforms in Biology and Biologics to support small and large molecule discovery efforts for internal research as well as external clients. In the previous role, he was Director and Site Lead of External Research Solutions, at Pfizer Inc. where his team focused on developing and maturing external CROs and collaborators to support innovative therapeutic approaches to discover large and small molecule therapeutics to treat autoimmune diseases, rare diseases and Oncology. Dr. Lachyankar was also, a founding member of the first Pharma Autism Research Unit at Pfizer. There, he led teams to establish a virtual network of KOLs, academic researchers, public supporters and CROs to run a global research effort in developing therapeutics for Autism Spectrum Disorders. In the prior role at Pfizer he led teams to streamline high throughput screening efforts both internally and externally, harmonizing workflow as well as global data processing. At Abbott (now AbbVie Inc), Dr. Lachyankar established a robust Target ID/validation group dedicated to autoimmune diseases, Oncology and Neuroscience. He led teams to utilize global network of CROs and academic teams in building a sustainable strategy to acquire high value targets for the existing portfolio. As a broadly trained Biologist, he has published more than 20 research articles, reviews, patents and book chapters in areas such as role of tyrosine kinase receptors in neural development, diseases and stem cells.
Dr. Lachyankar is a graduate of Bombay University where he earned a BSc in Microbiology. He received his MSc (Biotechnology) from MS University, India and PhD degree in Applied Biology (Neuro-Oncology) from the Bombay University. He completed postdoctoral training at UMASS Medical Center and Harvard Medical School (Children’s Hospital and BIDMS).
Theresa L O'Keefe, PhD
Co-founder, Chief Scientific Officer
As a partner at The Research Network LLC, Dr. O’Keefe’s supported the development of biotherapeutics from late Discovery through IND as well as the disease areas of cancer and acute and chronic inflammation. TRN is a global network of drug discovery and development experts whose focus is to assist Start-ups through large Pharma in drug development include external drug development. In addition, she serves as Chief Scientific Advisor (previously Chief Scientific Officer) for Pharma-Cycle Inc., a company focused on cancer prevention in family member of patients undergoing chemotherapy. Dr. O’Keefe has over 15 years of biotech and pharma drug development experience as well as 10 years of academic research during which she co-authored tier 1 papers and co-invented more than 30 patents and patent applications. Highlights include Millennium’s antibody expression system and multiple clinical candidates. She is sole inventor of Vedolizumab, Millennium’s antibody for Crohns and Inflammatory Bowel Disease that was recently submitted to the FDA for registration.
Previous companies include Pfizer, Waltham Technologies, Critical Therapeutics, Millennium and LeukoSite at which she held positions including Director of Protein Biology (Pfizer) and CSO (Waltham Technologies). In addition to biotherapeutic drug discovery and development, Dr. O’Keefe has experience in cataract development, sepsis and water cleaning. She spent 6 years at the Medical Research Council Laboratory of Molecular Biology, Cambridge UK working with Drs. Michael Neuberger and Caesar Milstein.
Dr. O’Keefe has an A.B. cum Laude in Biochemistry and Biologic Sciences from Mount Holyoke College, an M.S. in Veterinary Cardiovascular Physiology from Purdue University and a Ph.D. in Molecular Immunology from Tufts University.
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