Allen B. Reitz, Ph.D., Chief Executive Officer
Dr. Reitz has had >36 years of demonstrated accomplishment as a medicinal chemist in the pharmaceutical industry, including nearly 26 years with Johnson & Johnson. For 16 years at the Spring House, Pennsylvania facility of Johnson & Johnson he led the medicinal chemistry research effort in the area of the diseases of the central nervous system for both psychiatry and neurology. He is co-inventor as well as Team Leader, in most cases, for eight compounds that have entered human clinical trials, including mazapertine and trigriluzole, currently in Phase II clinical trials. He has >140 scientific publications and 61 issued U.S. patents, and is the Editor-in-Chief of the journal Current Topics in Medicinal Chemistry. He has extensive experience in project and portfolio management, target validation, hit triage, hit to lead and lead optimization medicinal chemistry, eADME profiling, and preclinical candidate selection. He also holds an Executive Masters in Technology Management from the University of Pennsylvania (Wharton, Penn Engineering), and is a Moore Fellow in the Management of Technology (U. Penn.). Dr. Reitz is also a founder and CEO of ALS Biopharma, LLC, focusing on the neurological condition of amyotrophic lateral sclerosis.
Richard W. Scott, Ph.D., Vice President, Research
Dr. Scott has spent over 28 years in the pharmaceutical industry and has extensive experience in multiple disciplines including microbiology, anti-infectives, acute coronary care, neurobiology and animal model development. He began his career as a Principal Investigator in Central Research Development at E.I. Dupont deNemours and then moved to Cephalon, Inc. in 1991 where he held positions of increasing responsibility prior to becoming Vice President of Neurobiology. He led groups involved in recombinant expression of target gene products, establishment of transgenic and gene-targeted animal models of neurodegenerative disease processes, and drug discovery in signal transduction pathways. In 2002, he co-founded PolyMedix, a company focused on the development non-peptidic mimics of the host defense proteins for infectious disease and cardiovascular disorders. He led the research team responsible for the identification and selection of the clinical lead compound, brilacidin, that successfully completed a Phase 2 clinical study for treatment of acute bacterial skin and skin structure infections (ABSSSI) and identified a potent antagonist of heparin and low molecular weight heparins (delparantag) that also reached Phase 2 clinical study. Additional programs in the research group that were supported by grants from the NIH, NSF and Departments of Defense included the development of antimicrobial mimetics for treatment of Gram-negative infections, oral and disseminated Candidiasis, malaria and food-borne infections. Dr. Scott is an author on over 67 peer-reviewed journal articles and book chapters, and is an inventor on 8 US patents.
Jay Wrobel, Ph.D., Vice President, Academic Relations
Dr. Wrobel has spent 28 years as a medicinal chemist in the pharmaceutical industry, 26 years at Wyeth (later Pfizer), with his last position as Senior Director of Medicinal Chemistry at the Collegeville, PA facility. At Wyeth he mentored and guided the efforts of 31 Ph.D./MS medicinal chemists and worked successfully with outside alliance partners. He was directly involved in bringing forward nine development track candidates (phase 0 and beyond) in a variety of therapeutic areas. He has co-authored 65 scientific publications and is an inventor on 75 issued US patents. Jay is specifically responsible for developing new collaborative research relationships and obtaining funding for early stage opportunities in drug discovery and development. Dr. Wrobel may be contacted at JWrobel@fc-cdci.com.
Kathleen Czupich, M.B.A., Chief Financial Officer
Ms. Czupich has over 20 years of experience in business development. Prior to joining FCCDC Ms. Czupich was the Chief Financial Officer of the PA Biotechnology Center, Institute for Hepatitis and Virus Research and the Hepatitis B Foundation and was point of contact for all NIH grants and other government funding totaling more than $5 million. Ms. Czupich holds a B.S. degree in Accounting from the Pennsylvania State University and an M.B.A from Lehigh University, Bethlehem, PA. Ms. Czupich’s strengths are in designing financial reporting systems, managing large projects and training staff. She was the founding administrator for the Institute for Hepatitis and Virus Research and the Pennsylvania Biotech Center and was integral in all aspects of the establishment, funding and growth of those organizations. She is experienced in indirect cost requirements and negotiation. Ms. Czupich managed the financial and administrative aspects of a $7.9 million grant to construct the PBC and the resulting building project totaling more than $14 million. She was also instrumental in the negotiation, financing and purchase of the adjacent building, expanding the PBC to 115,000 square feet.
Scientific Advisory Board
Eileen Jaffe, Ph.D., Fox Chase Cancer Center, Temple University School of Medicine & Drexel University School of Medicine
Eileen Jaffe received her PhD in Biochemistry from the University of Pennsylvania, working with Mildred Cohn. She was then a Postdoctoral Fellow at Harvard University with Jeremy Knowles. Since 2003 she has been at the Fox Chase Cancer Center in Philadelphia, PA, and is currently also an Adjunct Professor of Biochemistry at Temple University School of Medicine and Drexel University College of Medicine. Her research interests lie in understanding protein structure-function relationships using both biochemical and biophysical approaches. Prof. Jaffe is currently focused on the roles of protein quaternary structure and quaternary structure rearrangements in the control of protein function as this relates to phenylalanine hydroxylase and phenylketonuria. She has been associated with FCCDC since the company was founded in 2008.
Melissa Egbertson, Ph.D., Rockefeller University & Drexel University School of Medicine
Melissa Egbertson received her Ph.D. in Organic Chemistry from Yale University under the direction of Sam Danishefsky. Her 25-year career in Medicinal Chemistry at the Merck West Point site included a variety of therapeutic areas, including Cardiology, Infectious Diseases, and Neuroscience. She is one of four inventors of the drug Aggrastat® (tirofiban), a fibrinogen receptor antagonist currently used worldwide in the treatment of acute coronary syndrome, and was a key contributor in the team that created Isentress®, the first-in-class HIV-integrase inhibitor. As a Director in Exploratory Chemistry, she led several teams that prepared neuroscience projects for Lead Optimization. Currently retired from Merck, she works as a chemistry consultant to an exploratory program at Rockefeller University, and is an adjunct professor in the Drexel School of Medicine Pharmacology Department.
Nicholas A. Meanwell, Ph.D., Bristol-Myers Squibb Research & Development, Princeton, NJ
Nicholas A. Meanwell is currently Vice President, Discovery Chemistry Platforms, Small Molecule Drug Discovery. He received his B.Sc. and Ph.D. degrees from the University of Sheffield, the latter under the supervision of Dr. D. Neville Jones. After completing a post-doctoral fellowship with Professor Carl R. Johnson at Wayne State University, Detroit, MI, he joined Bristol-Myers Squibb where he has led drug discovery programs in the cardiovascular, neurosciences and virology therapeutic areas, work that has resulted in the advancement of over 30 clinical candidates for the prevention of thrombosis, the treatment of stroke and therapy for viral infections, including human immunodeficiency virus-1 (HIV-1), hepatitis C virus (HCV) and respiratory syncytial virus (RSV). Significant compounds in the HCV arena include daclatasvir (Daklinza), a pioneering molecule that established NS5A inhibition as a clinically-relevant target and, the HCV NS3 protease inhibitor asunaprevir (Sunvepra), which incorporates the cyclopropyl acylsulfonamide moiety that has been widely adopted. Daklinza and Sunvepra were marketed in Japan in 2014 and Daklinza was approved for marketing by the EMA in 2014 and by the FDA in 2015. In addition, beclabuvir, a thumb site inhibitor of HCV NS5B polymerase, was approved in Japan in December, 2016 marketed as part of the drug combination Xymency. In the HIV-1 area, fostemsavir, a phosphonooxymethyl prodrug of temsavir, has successfully completed Phase 3 clinical trials and the NDA filed at the end of 2019. In addition, an inhibitor of HIV-1 maturation, BMS-955176, has completed Phase 2b clinical trials while GSK-3640254 entered the clinic in 2019.
Dr. Meanwell has authored/co-authored more than 250 publications, review articles, book chapters and editorials and 200 meeting abstracts and is named as an inventor/co-inventor on 138 issued U.S. Patents. He has presented 170 invited lectures at National and International meetings, Universities and Schools on Medicinal Chemistry and is the organizer/co-organizer/presider of more than 50 sessions at National and International Meetings, ACS Webinars in Drug Discovery, ACS Prospectives Meetings and Short Courses on aspects of drug design.
Dr. Meanwell is the co-recipient of a PhRMA Research and Hope Award for Biopharmaceutical Industry Research, 2014 and the recipient of the 2015 Philip S. Portoghese Medicinal Chemistry Lectureship Award. He was inducted into the ACS Division of Medicinal Chemistry Hall of Fame on August 18th, 2015 and he is a member of the team that was recognized by a 2017 “Heroes of Chemistry” Award sponsored by the American Chemical Society.