Scientific Research

Dr. Lynda Morrison
Expert Virologist

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Dr. Morrison is a professor in the Department of Molecular Microbiology and Immunology at Saint Louis University School of Medicine.  She is an expert in herpes simplex virus pathogenesis, and applies an understanding of the viral genetic origins of disease in the pursuit of methods to prevent and treat herpesvirus infections.
Dr. Morrison’s current research focuses on drug development for herpesviruses based on her recent discovery of small molecules with profound antiviral activity. Like the growing concern over antibiotic resistance, herpesviruses resistant to current therapies are becoming more prevalent, especially in immunocompromised persons such as transplant recipients and cancer patients.  Her lab discovered classes of molecules that profoundly suppress herpes simplex virus replication, and are highly effective against viruses resistant to current nucleoside analog therapy.
Lynda Morrison received her Ph.D. in immunology from Washington University and conducted post-doctoral research in virology at Harvard Medical School. She has more than 80 peer reviewed publications in the fields of immunology, microbiology, and drug discovery.

Dr. John Tavis
Expert Virologist

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Dr. Tavis is a professor in the Department of Molecular Microbiology and Immunology at Saint Louis University School of Medicine. His lab has focused on HBV since its inception and is currently pursuing basic biochemistry and antiviral drug discovery targeting the viral ribonuclease H. Additional interests include HCV genetics and anti-herpesvirus drug discovery. He has served terms on an American Cancer Society peer review panel and the NIH VirB study section. He is currently a member of the American Cancer Society’s Council on Extramural Grants, a member of the Governing Board for the ICE-HBV consortium seeking to guide evidence-based efforts to cure HBV, and chairs the Scientific Advisory Council for the annual International HBV molecular Biology meeting. John Tavis received his Ph.D. in molecular biology from Penn State in 1990 and did post-doctoral studies with Dr. Don Ganem at the University of California, San Francisco.

Dr. Ryan Murelli
Expert Synthetic Organic Chemist

dr-murelliDr. Murelli is an associate professor in the department of chemistry at Brooklyn College of the City University of New York (CUNY). He also holds a joint appointment at the CUNY Graduate Center as part of the PhD Program in Chemistry, where he currently serves as chair of the organic chemistry subdivision. His expertise is in the areas of synthetic organic chemistry, medicinal chemistry, and chemical biology. Over his career he has participated in a dynamic range of biomedical research projects related to inflammation, immunology, cancer, bacteria, viruses, and pathogenic fungi.

Dr. Murelli’s independent research career at CUNY has been broadly aimed at developing medicinal chemistry-enabling synthetic methods and strategies, and leveraging these in collaborative drug-development pursuits. His research lab has been particularly interested in troponoids, including 7-hydroxytropolones, which are dinuclear metalloenzyme-inhibiting molecules with a broad range of therapeutic potential. The Murelli lab has pioneered new synthetic strategies to access these molecules, which have been leveraged in over a dozen biomedical research publications.

Dr. Murelli obtained his PhD in synthetic organic chemistry from Boston College in 2007, and carried out postdoctoral research in chemical biology at Yale University between 2007-2010. He has published over 30 manuscripts that span a broad range of research topics including reaction development, target-oriented synthesis, medicinal chemistry, and chemical biology.

Business Development

Martin D. Williams

Martin is an entrepreneurial executive and leader with thirty years of global biopharmaceutical experience. He has achieved senior leadership positions in several multinational pharmaceutical companies, and public and private biotechnology companies. He has successfully closed over $3 billion in corporate development transactions and involvement in $265MM in financings. Martin is experienced in founding new ventures, building companies, private and public fundraising, and exits, including M&A and IPOs. He has broad experience in strategy, operations, financing, corporate development, providing leadership and business insight to discovery, preclinical and clinical programs, and commercial, including new product launches.

Martin is currently the Co-Founder and Executive Chairman of Yuma Therapeutics, an early-stage biopharmaceutical company developing small molecule drugs for neurodegenerative conditions, such as Alzheimer’s disease. He has served on the board of directors of Paloma Pharmaceuticals, Tokai Pharmaceuticals, Diotima Pharmaceuticals and USMarketer.com, Inc.

Martin was the President and CEO of Tokai Pharmaceuticals, an oncology company with a small molecule in Phase 2 for prostate cancer. He was the Founder, President and CEO of USMarketer.com, Inc. a business-to-business marketing services and software development venture. Martin served as chief business officer at Dicerna Pharmaceuticals, an RNA interference platform technology company, where he closed a $1.4 billion partnership with Kyowa Hakko Kirin. He was chief business officer at Synta Pharmaceuticals, a small molecule oncology and inflammatory company, where he completed the company’s IPO and closed a $1 billion collaboration with GlaxoSmithKline for its lead oncology product. Earlier in his career, Martin directed the development and commercialization of several blockbuster brands, including GSK’s Zantac and Zofran; Roche’s Xenical; and Wyeth’s (now Pfizer) Zosyn/Tazocin.

Martin has an M.B.A. from Harvard Business School, an M.S. from the University of Manchester, England and a B.A. in biology from the University of Humberside in Hull, England.

Clinical Development

Timothy S. Leach, MD, MPH

Dr. Leach is an infectious diseases physician with approximately 20 years of experience in the biopharmaceutical industry.  He is the president of InterimMD, Inc., a private biopharmaceutical consulting firm in the greater Boston area.  His business focus is providing medical support of start-up biopharmaceutical firms.  He has direct experience in all phases of clinical trial development of both antibacterials and antivirals, including filing of INDs to phase 3 clinical trials of both small molecules and biologics.  He has contributed to the successful registration programs of several new molecular entities across several therapeutic areas (Zyvox, Elaprase, Entyvio, Anthim). Timothy Leach received his MD degree (cum laude) from Creighton University and a Master’s Degree in Public Health (cum laude) from Tulane University.