PsychoGenics Further Strengthens its Leadership Team, Adding Three Senior Executives
Daniela Brunner, Chief Innovation Officer; Geoffrey Varty, Executive Vice President, Research Operations; and Leslie Street, Vice President, Medicinal Chemistry
PARAMUS, N.J.–(BUSINESS WIRE)–PsychoGenics Inc. announces the appointment of Daniela Brunner, Ph.D. as Chief Innovation Officer, Geoffrey Varty, Ph.D. as Executive Vice President, Research Operations, and Leslie Street, Ph.D. as Vice President, Medicinal Chemistry.
PsychoGenics has experienced significant growth in 2020: the drug discovery team led by Mark Varney, Ph.D. was established; the research team added more than 20 scientists to support the growth of the service business and drug discovery; and the facility was expanded by 50% with the addition of a new state-of-the-art vivarium. These appointments expand PsychoGenics’ executive team and reflect the Company’s commitment to research and innovation.
Dr. Brunner received her Ph.D. in Experimental Psychology from Cambridge University, UK and completed her post-doctoral training at Columbia University. Over the course of 30 years, Dr. Brunner has brought innovative AI-driven solutions to complex problems. She joined PsychoGenics in 1999 where over 16 years as Director and then Senior VP Behavioral R&D, she designed and led development of PsychoGenics’ Phenotypic Drug Discovery Platforms. These AI platforms for high-throughput drug discovery resulted in the discovery of several novel compounds now in clinical trials including SEP-363856 discovered in partnership with Sunovion, in Phase III for schizophrenia. She also designed and implemented drug discovery pipelines for rare disorders, such as the Preclinical Consortium for the Tuberous Sclerosis Alliance, bringing together industrial and academic collaborators. More recently, she founded Early Signal and Science Forward, organizations focused on digital AI technologies for human health such as clinical platforms for big-data analytics using wearable and home sensor devices. She has authored more than 70 publications including several book chapters and more than 10 patents and patent applications.
“We are delighted Dani has returned to PsychoGenics to lead our growing Data Science group. Her creativity and knowledge are critical to the development of new platforms such as eCube™, our newest EEG-based drug discovery platform, and associated AI analytical tools to support our internal and partnered drug discovery,” said Emer Leahy, Ph.D., President and CEO.
Dr. Varty received his Ph.D. in psychopharmacology from the University of Hertfordshire, UK and post-doctoral training at the University of California, San Diego. Dr. Varty has twenty-two years of experience in the pharmaceutical industry where he worked at Schering-Plough, Sanofi, and more recently, Merck managing large in vivo pharmacology groups and leading efforts to outsource in vivo research with commercial partners. He has led several preclinical research programs resulting in compounds progressing to clinical trials, including the successful approval of the neurokinin NK1 receptor antagonist Varubi (rolapitant) for the treatment of chemotherapy-induced nausea and vomiting. Dr. Varty has authored more than 60 publications.
“Geoff has joined PsychoGenics to lead our research operations during this time of growth to ensure we continue to provide our clients and partners with essential data resulting from robust well executed studies. I am confident that Geoff will bring strategic thinking and vision to the operation while maintaining our high standards and efficiency,” said Emer Leahy, Ph.D., President and CEO.
Dr. Street received his Ph.D. in organic chemistry from the University of Leeds, UK and post-doctoral training in synthetic organic chemistry at the University of California, Los Angeles. Dr. Street has a 30-year career as a medicinal chemist in CNS drug discovery, with over 20 years at the Merck Neuroscience Research Center in the UK, where he discovered the marketed anti-migraine drug, Maxalt and several clinical candidates for the treatment of anxiety disorders. Following Merck, he pursued his interest in CNS drug discovery at Renovis and Cortex Pharmaceuticals, followed by 7 years as Head of Medicinal Chemistry in the Drug Discovery and Development Center at the University of Cape Town where he was involved with the discovery of new treatments for malaria and tuberculosis. Dr. Street is an author on more than 70 chemistry and medicinal chemistry publications and an inventor on 67 patents.
“We are delighted that Leslie has joined PsychoGenics to lead our medicinal chemistry group and bring his valuable experience to support our drug discovery group’s success. His contributions to the PsychoGenics and partnered drug discovery programs are already significant,” said Mark Varney, Ph.D., CSO.
PsychoGenics Inc. and its discovery arm PGI Drug Discovery LLC (collectively known as PsychoGenics) have pioneered the translation of rodent behavioral and physiological responses into robust, high-throughput and high-content phenotyping. PsychoGenics’ drug discovery platforms, SmartCube®, NeuroCube®, PhenoCube®, and eCube™ have been used in shared risk partnerships with biotech pharma companies including Sunovion, Roche, Blue Oak and Karuna resulting in the discovery of five novel compounds now in clinical trials or advanced preclinical development. PsychoGenics’ capabilities also include standard behavioral testing, electrophysiology, translational EEG, molecular biology, microdialysis and quantitative immunohistochemistry. In addition, the Company offers a variety of in-licensed transgenic mouse models that support research in areas such as Huntington’s disease, autism spectrum disorders, psychosis/schizophrenia, depression/anxiety, PTSD, Alzheimer’s disease, Parkinson’s disease, muscular dystrophy, ALS, Rett syndrome, seizure disorders and pain. For more information on PsychoGenics Inc., visit www.psychogenics.com.
Dr. Emer Leahy
President & CEO