Simon Xi, Ph.D.
Co-Founder and Chief Executive Officer
Simon has 20 years of drug discovery experience in top pharmaceutical companies and academic institutes. Simon helped conceptualize the initial scientific strategy for Rgenta and has led the development of the discovery platform since its launch. Prior to Rgenta, Simon was the head of genomics and computational biology group at Abbvie Foundational Neuroscience Center where he established the genomics platform and computational biology function for target discovery and validation. Before Rgenta, Simon was an accomplished scientist and group leader at Pfizer, where he led multiple novel therapeutic targets into Pfizer’s discovery portfolio and established close collaborations with academic institutions. Simon has co-authored more than 30 research publications and is currently an adjunct faculty at Brandeis University and a principal investigator in the GTEx Consortium
Travis Wager, Ph.D.
Co-Founder, President and CSO
Dr. Wager is a leader in the pharmaceutical industry. In his 20 plus years of leadership experience driving drug discovery programs at Pfizer and Biotech Start-ups, Dr. Wager advanced eight small molecule drug candidates to clinical development. Included in the set of development candidates is the first kinase inhibitor (PF-05251749) for chronic CNS diseases, which was later acquired by Biogen. Dr. Wager is an internationally recognized expert in the field of brain-penetrant small molecule design. His seminal contributions to the understanding of CNS drug physicochemical properties and the development of the CNS MPO desirability tool have enabled both small and large neuroscience pharmaceutical groups to accelerate CNS drug discovery. In addition, he has authored nearly 50 scientific papers, including two most cited papers, and is an inventor on over 35 patents and serves on the Scientific Advisory Board of ACS Chemical Neuroscience.
Heather Sadlish, Ph.D.
Head of Discovery Biology
Heather comes to Rgenta with 16 years of drug discovery experience in both a successful start-up and an international pharmaceutical setting. Prior to Rgenta, Heather was at Yumanity Therapeutics where she led the Target Discovery team through prioritization and validation efforts to identify novel modulators of neurodegenerative disease. She also developed in vitro translational models and drove pre-clinical efforts for lead programs. Prior to Yumanity, Heather was at the Novartis Institute of Biomedical Research in Basel, Switzerland. There, she helped build a world-class chemogenomic profiling platform to elucidate small molecule mechanism of action, as well as lead multiple projects through early target validation.
Jae Lee, Ph.D.
Vice President of Translational Pharmacology
Jae is an accomplished leader in drug discovery and translational research. He brings three decades of experience leading numerous projects in multiple therapeutic areas including neuroscience, immunology, CV, CKD, respiratory, and anti-infective. Prior to joining Rgenta, Jae was an EVP of Research at Panorama Medicine and VP of Preclinical Development at Kintai Therapeutics. Jae was a VP of Drug Discovery Sciences at Boehringer Ingelheim and a Senior Director at Pfizer. Jae contributed to teams that discovered Chantix® (varenicline), Xeljanz® (tofacitinib), and SKyrizi® (risankizumab). Jae completed his postdoctoral research at University of Maryland, College Park after earning his PhD in Pharmaceutical Chemistry at University of California at San Francisco.
Director of People Strategy
Missy Fulton serves as Rgenta’s Chief People Officer. Missy partners with the Team to help build the think bridge between Rgenta’s science strategy and people strategy. Together, we are shaping and fostering a high-performing culture that is making Rgenta a success, with Missy nurturing it as the Company grows from a small startup to a major player in biotech building RNA-targeting medicines to treat previously incurable diseases. Missy is a creative global employment lawyer and senior HR executive, with more than 20 years’ experience providing strategic HR and employment law partnership to biotech, medical device, high tech, and energy companies. She is also the Founder/CEO of Chameleon Strategies, LLC, a niche strategic HR and employment law advisory firm for life sciences companies. In her spare time, Missy partners with multiple professional organizations as a mentor for early to mid-career stage women in life sciences.
Missy holds a BA, summa cum laude, in Communications/Marketing from Suffolk University and her JD from Suffolk University Law School.
Zhiping Weng, Ph.D.
Co-Founder and Head of SAB
Dr. Weng is a Professor and Director of Program in Bioinformatics and Integrative Biology and Endowed Chair at the University of Massachusetts Medical School. She has published more than 250 scientific papers, with a total citation of more than 50,000 and an H-index of 95 as of March 2020. She was elected a Fellow of the American Institute for Medical and Biological Engineering in 2013 and a Fellow of the International Society of Computational Biology in 2020. Dr. Weng’s scientific research and biomedical investigations focus on genomics, epigenomics, transcriptomics, and molecular recognition. Her laboratory develops and applies cutting-edge computational and statistical methods to study biological problems with large amounts of data. A national and international leader in large-scale epigenomic sciences, Dr. Weng has led the Data Analysis Center of the ENCODE Consortium since 2012 and co-led the Data Analysis Center of the PsychENCODE Consortium since 2015. The goals of these two consortia are to investigate the regulatory landscapes in the human genome, with ENCODE focusing on normal physiology and PsychENCODE on psychiatric disorders.
Charles DeLisi, Ph.D.
Charles DeLisi is Metcalf Professor of Science and Engineering at Boston University, and Dean emeritus, College of Engineering. He has authored or coauthored hundreds of research papers in various areas of science, including immunology, applied mathematics and molecular structure and function. He is recipient of numerous awards, including the Presidential Citizens Medal for initiating the Human Genome Project.
Philip Zamore, Ph.D.
Phillip Zamore received his undergraduate and PhD degrees in Biochemistry and Molecular Biology from Harvard University before completing postdoctoral studies at MIT and the Whitehead Institute for Biomedical Research. Today, he is the Gretchen Stone Cook Professor of Biomedical Sciences at the Howard Hughes Medical Institute and managing co-director of the RNA Therapeutics Institute, University of Massachusetts Medical School. His lab studies small RNA silencing pathways in eukaryotes and prokaryotes.In 2014, he was elected a Fellow of the National Academy of Inventors, and in 2015 he received the Chancellor’s Medal for Excellence in Scholarship at the University of Massachusetts Medical School. Nature Biotechnology selected him as one of the Top 20 Translational Researchers of 2014.
Dr. Sarah Tabrizi is an award-winning scientist who has published over 300 peer- reviewed publications, been elected a fellow of the UK Academy of Medical Sciences, co-founded the UCL Huntington’s Disease Centre, and helped set up the UK All-Party Parliamentary Group for Huntington’s disease. Her complementary research strategies – basic science focusing on cellular mechanisms of neurodegeneration, and a program to translate those findings into treatments and cures – have led to the clinical development of a novel ‘gene silencing’ treatment for Huntington’s disease. Sarah was presented with the Yahr Award, Alexander Morison Medal in 2019, and MRC Millennium Medal and Osler Medal in 2022 for her contributions to research.
Professor of Human Genetics
Dr. Darren Monckton is currently Professor of Human Genetics and leads an active research team investigating the basis and consequences of genetic instability in human disease. He is internationally recognized for his work in defining the role of DNA repair and somatic expansion of the CTG•CAG as a major driver of pathology in myotonic dystrophy and Huntington’s disease and as a novel therapeutic target. He is a scientific advisor to the Myotonic Dystrophy Support Group (UK), the European Dystrophia Myotonica Association, and the Myotonic Dystrophy Foundation (USA), and was the Muscular Dystrophy UK 2017 Scientist of the Year and received the 2019 Huntington Disease Society of America Research Award.
Emeritus Professor of Neurology
Dr. Richard H. Myers is Emeritus Professor of Neurology at the Chobanian and Avedisian School of Medicine at Boston University. Dr. Myers has had a long-standing interest in Huntington’s disease and has participated in a wide range of research investigations into this disease. He has been a member of the New England Huntington’s Disease “Center Without Walls” since its inception in 1980. His HD studies are best characterized as ‘Neurobiological Studies’ in that they include studies into the mechanisms of disease expression, including complex genetic modifier studies and a series of neuropathological studies of effects of disease expression in the brain. Dr. Myers has published more than 300 peer-reviewed articles, 38 individual NIH-funded grants/.
Associate Professor and Vice Chair of Research
Dr. Nicholas Johnson is an associate professor and vice chair of research in the Department of Neurology at Virginia Commonwealth University with a focus on inherited neuromuscular disorders. His laboratory is focused on identifying the pathogenesis of myotonic dystrophy, the limb girdle muscular dystrophies, and facioscapulohumeral muscular dystrophy and identifying appropriate clinical endpoints for these conditions. Johnson conducts therapeutic trials in many other inherited nerve and muscle disorders.
Debasish Roychowdhury, M.D.
Debasish Roychowdhury is a medical oncologist/hematologist and a proven leader in the pharmaceutical and biotech industry with many years of patient care, academic research and teaching experience. He is the co-founder and CMO of Partner Therapeutics, a commercial biotech based in Lexington, MA. He has served as the CMO at Seragon and Ra Pharmaceuticals and served as a consultant for other biotech companies and academic centers. Prior to Seragon, Debasish served as the Senior Vice President and Head of the Global Oncology Division at Sanofi, the Vice President for Clinical Development at GlaxoSmithKline, and directed the Oncology global regulatory group at Eli Lilly and Company. Prior to his role in industry, he served as faculty member at the University of Cincinnati. He trained at the All India Institute of Medical Sciences and University of California, San Francisco. Debasish is a member of the Board of Directors for ImCheck Therapeutics, T-knife Biotechnology, Monopteros Therapeutics, Lytix Biopharma AS and Fund+, serves in multiple scientific advisory boards and is on the faculty of the Department of Biological Engineering, MIT, Cambridge.
Julia Kaufman, Ph.D.
Dezhi Kang, Ph.D.
Dezhi Kang is a Vice President with Lilly Asia Ventures (LAV). Prior to joining LAV, Dezhi was an Associate Director at Navigant Consulting, providing commercial strategy support to pharma and biotech companies. Dezhi holds a Ph.D. in Molecular and Medical Pharmacology from UCLA and B.S. in Biotechnology from Peking University.
Hongbo Lu, Ph.D., M.B.A
Hongbo Lu, Ph.D., is a Partner of Vivo Capital. Dr. Lu has close to 20 years of healthcare investment experience in both public securities and private companies. Prior to joining Vivo, she served as a Managing Partner at Lilly Asia Ventures (LAV). Prior to that, she served as a Managing Director at OrbiMed Advisors. Over her investment career, Dr. Lu has invested extensively in both China and the U.S. She previously served on the boards of Turning Point Therapeutics (TPTX), CrownBio (6554.TT, acquired by JSR), Avedro (AVDR, acquired by Glaukos), Passage (PASG, observer), and was extensively involved in the company incubations of ADARx, Alpiscience, Geneception, Perfuse, Terns, and Ronovo since inception. Dr. Lu started her Wall Street career as a biotech analyst at Piper Jaffray & Co. and was involved in biotech start-ups in the Bay Area previously.
Dr. Lu earned a Ph.D. in Bioengineering from the University of Washington, an M.B.A. from the Haas School of Business at the University of California, Berkeley, and graduated with honors from Tsinghua University.
Roger Sun is Vice President of Matrix Partners China, focusing on investment in the healthcare sector.
Prior to joining Matrix, Roger had many years of experiences in managing investments in private equity and venture capital firms, and had established business insights in biotech, medical service, IVD and internet healthcare. Roger graduated from Fudan University with a B.Sc. degree of Pharmacy.
Dr. Pan Xiaogang
Pan Xiaogang, currently Managing Director of AstraZeneca-CICC Fund and Business Development in AstraZeneca China, leads the investment activities in innovative medicine. Xiaogang has nearly 20 years of combined experiences in research, business development and investment. Prior to joining AstraZeneca in 2015, Xiaogang worked for Amgen, Bayer, GSK and Ferring. Xiaogang holds a PhD in Pharmaceutics from The Ohio State University.