Blueprint Neurotherapeutics Network: Projects, Consultants, and Contractors

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Current Drug Development Projects

Disorder Title PI Institution
Hearing Loss
Rubel, Edwin W.
University of Washington
Familial Dysautonomia
Slaugenhaupt, Susan A.
Massachusetts General Hospital
Macular Degeneration
Petrukhin, Konstantin
Columbia University
Humphries, Paul Stuart
Reset Therapeutics, Inc
Parkinson’s Disease
Surmeier, Dalton James
Northwestern University at Chicago
Alzheimer's Disease
Wagner, Steven Lee
UC San Diego
Alzheimer's Disease
Gurney, Mark E.
Tetra Discovery Partners, LLC
Lark, Michael William
Trevena, Inc

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


Drug Development Consultants

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.

Philip S. Burton, Ph.D.

Dr. Burton is President of PSB ADME Associates, LLC, a consulting company supporting primarily smaller biotechnology companies with issues related to absorption/PK problems. He spent 20 years in drug discovery support at Upjohn/Pharmacia/Pfizer working on varied programs including CNS, cardiovascular, anti-infectives, metabolic diseases, among others.  While there he contributed to development of the Caco-2 cell model for exploring transport mechanisms and was an early contributor to characterization of efflux pathways in Caco-2 cells. Dr. Burton was awarded two AAPS Meritorious Manuscripts (1994, 1998), and elected AAPS Fellow in 1999, in part for this work.  He also formed and led Pharmacia Computational Biopharmaceutics Group focused on development and implementation of in silico property prediction and physiology based pharmacokinetic (PBPK) models.  In 2003 he founded ADMETRx, a contract research company providing high quality in vitro ADME services to small, medium and large drug discovery companies.  He remained CEO and CSO until 2010 when the company was operationally merged with CeeTox, a specialty in vitro toxicology company, where he reestablished the ADME experimental services and managed the group until early 2011.  Dr. Burton has published 51 peer-reviewed papers, 6 book chapters and served on the editorial or advisory boards of  Journal of Pharmacology and Experimental Therapeutics, Journal of Pharmaceutical Sciences, and Chemical Biology and Drug Design.

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).

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.

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.

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.


Steering Committee

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

Dr. Detke, Chief Medical Officer and Director of MedAvante Research Institute, is a psychiatrist with more than 20 years of research experience and extensive clinical and drug development expertise. Before joining MedAvante, he served as Executive Director for Neuroscience Medical Research at Lilly Research Laboratories in Indianapolis. In that position, he oversaw all CNS assets in early phase development, including all psychiatric, neurologic, and pain indications. Previously at Lilly, Dr. Detke was Senior Medical Director responsible for Phase III development for Cymbalta (duloxetine HCl) and Phase IV for Prozac (fluoxetine). This included registration and regulatory commitment trials for Cymbalta indications, including major depressive disorder, diabetic peripheral neuropathic pain, generalized anxiety disorder, fibromyalgia and chronic pain, as well as pediatric trials. Dr. Detke also teaches and supervises medical students and residents in patient care as Associate Clinical Professor of Psychiatry at Indiana University School of Medicine. He is a current research affiliate at McLean Hospital and Harvard Medical School. Dr. Detke graduated summa cum laude with a BA and MS in Psychology at Yale University, and later 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. Dr. Detke has published more than 60 manuscripts in peer-reviewed journals since 1989. He serves as a reviewer for numerous such journals, and is a member of selective scientific organizations such as the ACNP, ASCP, ISCTM and SOBP.

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:


Research Service Contractors

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


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