Lead optimization involves converting a lead series to a pre-clinical candidate. This multiparameter optimization exercise involves fine-tuning the lead structures and drug-like properties to match the desired target product profile.
This design-make-test-analyze (DMTA) process requires both medicinal and computational design strategies, the use of efficient chemical synthesis and pharmacokinetic, pharmacodynamic and safety profile optimization. Where appropriate, structural biology, CADD, cell biology and proteomics are among the tools used to improve understanding of the potency, selectivity, and mechanisms of action.
At Dalriada, our focus is on establishing and implementing the appropriate screening cascade and selection criteria, and we are committed to delivering the fastest DMTA cycles in the industry, required for rapid decision-making during the hit-to-lead phase of any project. Our discovery scientists at Dalriada, with over 300 years combined industry experience, have a strong track record of delivering preclinical candidates across a variety of therapeutic areas, with a number of these programs advancing to the clinic.
With expansive capabilities in chemistry, in vitro biology, structural biology, ADME, CADD, and proteomics, Dalriada Discovery Labs can experimentally support most complex hit to lead programs. Our Discovery Strategy team will support the design and oversight of the program to be conducted within Discovery Labs or sub-contracted, if required, via Discovery Management.
As Director of Information Systems and PMO, Brian leads the IT, PMO and Procurement functions. With a strong foundation in technology, a successful track record in leading cross functional and multi-disciplinary project management teams, and in-depth experience in purchasing and materials management, Brian is passionate about delivering to and exceeding client expectations through critical thinking, analysis and effective communication. He brings more than 20 years experience in various industries including corporate law, pharmaceuticals, biopharmaceuticals and big data market research.
Brian completed his BSc degree in Computer Science from the University of Toronto and certified as a Project Management trainer with Kepner Tregoe.
As the Director of Human Resources (HR), Lisa leads this function at Dalriada. Lisa is recognized as a pragmatic partner, team builder and innovator who brings balance and clarity to HR policies, practices, and procedures.
With more than 25 years in a management capacity, Lisa is known for designing and developing programs, performance improvement measures and policies that help organizations build highly engaged workplaces, boost their bottom line, and defuse workplace issues before they escalate.
She began her HR career at GlaxoSmithKline advancing through increasingly responsible positions and supporting practically every division within the company. Lisa has also operated her own HR consultancy. Since joining Dalriada in 2020, Lisa has established an efficient and engaging HR infrastructure that delivers sustainable organizational and cultural success.
Lisa attained her Certified Human Resources Leader designation, (CHRL) from the University of Toronto.
As Director of Finance, Eric leads Dalriada’s finance function. He brings more than 20 years’ experience leading finance departments for multinational and private service-based companies.
Over his career, Eric has worked internationally in the US and the UK. Eric completed his BComm Finance and BA Economics from the University of Calgary and is a CPA, CMA.
As Vice President Business Development, North America Kamran overseas all client acquisitions for this market. Known for his transformative leadership style, Kamran is focused on forging strategic partnerships between Dalriada and BioPharma companies to advance concept to IND drug discovery and development efforts.
Over the past twenty years, Kamran has driven the identification of commercial opportunities and created sophisticated integrated discovery collaborations for clients. He has worked for a myriad of leading Life Science and Diagnostic organizations including Abbot Laboratories, ThermoFisher Scientific, Cepheid, Novartis, and Illumina. He has also consulted with molecular diagnostics and genomics start-ups to provide strategic market development and commercialization services.
Kamran holds a BSc in Biology from Loyola University and an MBA from the University of Phoenix.
As Director of R&D Operations, Harpreet leads Dalriada’s Chemistry and ADME functions. Passionate about building highly effective, result-oriented teams, Harpreet is known for her strong rapport with clients and inter-disciplinary colleagues.
Harpreet brings more than 20 years R&D experience in both academic and industry settings. Beginning her career at Dalton Pharma Services as a medicinal chemist, Harpreet has progressed into roles such as chemistry team leader, chemistry manager and associate director for R&D operations. Harpreet brings a broad range of drug development experience in preclinical, clinical, and commercial stages for more than 10 pre-clinical candidates and 2 commercial products. Her experience also includes contract research, process development and analytical method development and validation. She has served as SME for process development and analytical method development during FDA and Health Canada audits.
Harpreet completed her BSc degree in Biological Sciences, MSc and PhD degree in Organic Chemistry from Kurukshetra University, India.
Mohammad attained his PhD in Biochemistry and Enzymology at the University of Waterloo (Canada) and holds MSc degree in Medical Microbiology and a BSc degree in Cell and Molecular Biology. As the Director of Biology Department at Dalriada, he oversees the work of the cell biology, biochemistry and biophysics and proteomics teams.
Prior to joining Dalriada, Mohammad worked on early stage hit discovery projects at the Structural Genomics Consortium in Toronto, including projects in collaboration with Bayer, Takeda, Eli Lilly, and Merck. His work at SGC focused on biochemical and biophysical methods with applications to high-throughput and fragment-based drug discovery.
With over 17 years in biochemical/biophysical assays and small molecule R&D, Mohammad was involved in programs spanning small molecule inhibitor modalities including allosteric inhibitors, tight binders, targeted covalent therapeutics, and protein degraders. These programs covered a diverse range of protein targets including transcription factors, epigenetic modulators, oxidoreductases, dehydrogenases, kinases, methyl- and acetyltransferases, deacetylases, demethylases, PPI, GPCRs, and transcription regulators.
As Vice President, Drug Discovery at Dalriada, Jeff is responsible for overseeing all drug discovery activities from target identification to pre-clinical development. Jeff has nearly 30 years of drug discovery experience in hit ID, hit to lead, lead optimization and candidate nomination in projects targeting kinases, protein-protein interactions, protein degraders, covalent inhibitors, proteases and GPCRs in the areas of anti-infectives, oncology, immunomodulation, pain and CNS therapeutics. Prior to Dalriada, Jeff was Head of Research at M4K Pharma where he led a successful multinational open science lead optimization drug discovery project targeting DIPG, a rare childhood cancer.
Previously, Jeff spent 8 years as an integral part of the Ontario Institute for Cancer Research’s Drug Discovery team where he drove hit to lead and lead optimization projects of which two were eventually partnered with pharma in deals totaling > $2B. Jeff also trained for 17 years as a medicinal chemist and project team leader at Boehringer Ingelheim Canada Ltd. where he helped discover several novel antivirals that progressed to clinical trials. He has published more than 50 papers and patents in the fields of medicinal chemistry and drug discovery and in 2010 was the recipient of the American Chemical Society’s TAOC award.
Jeff has an M.Sc. in organic chemistry from University of Ottawa.
Tom is part of the R&D leadership team, overseeing partnership activities, drug discovery program planning and execution, as well as lifecycle management for current and prospective partners.
Over the past three decades, Tom has held senior roles in European pharma and biotech, including almost 20 years in contract research with Evotec as Senior Vice President, Drug Discovery, and more recently growing and leading Selvita’s integrated drug discovery portfolio.
Tom’s background is in medicinal chemistry, and he has extensive experience in the discovery and delivery of new small molecule and biologic agents targeting enzymes, GPCRs and other cell membrane targets including ion channels and SNARE proteins. He has managed multiple drug discovery programs covering the hit identification, hit to lead, and lead optimization stages of drug discovery, including 15 projects resulting in nomination of preclinical development candidates in the fields of cancer, inflammation, endocrine disease and antivirals. Tom has also contributed to the identification of multiple investigational new drugs. In recent years Tom has driven the identification of commercial opportunities as well as the creation and execution of sophisticated integrated discovery collaborations for clients.
Tom has a BSc (Hons) degree in chemistry from the Queen’s University of Belfast and a PhD in organic chemistry from the University of Leeds under Professor Ron Grigg. After completing his PhD, he joined Jim Thomas’ group at the University of Manchester before starting his industrial career at Organon.
Dr. Rav Kumar is Chief Strategy Officer at Dalriada. He spent 25 years with GlaxoSmithKline (GSK) in the UK, France and Canada at vice-president level leading pharmaceutical R&D and business development. Key areas of expertise include formulation development, regulatory submissions, manufacturing and GMP audits. He has been involved with development of numerous medicines and vaccines plus many successful business change initiatives.
Most recently, he was Managing Director for Apotex in India (Bangalore and Mumbai), leading over 2,000 professionals in Pharmaceutical R&D, Manufacturing, Quality, Regulatory Affairs & Commercial Services.
Dr. Kumar is passionate about growing Canadian Life Sciences and has been involved with many industry-academic-government collaborations for which he was recognized with the Award for Leadership in in Canadian Pharmaceutical Sciences. He conceived the $150M spinout of GSK’s vaccines R&D to create the Neomed Vaccines and Biologics Centre of Excellence in Montreal. Other contributions include the CIHR Steering Committee for Patient Oriented Research, the Board of CQDM Research Consortium in Quebec and President of the Canadian Society for Pharmaceutical Sciences.
Dr. Kumar also serves as Director of The Centre for Medicinal Chemistry and an Assistant Professor at University of Toronto. He has a Pharmacy Degree and completed a PhD in Novel Drug Delivery at University of Bath in the UK.
Charlie joined Dalriada in 2020 as Chief Operating Officer, bringing over 25 years of pharma/biopharma experience. Charlie has a proven track record of leading organizations through rapid growth and transformations.
Charlie started his career as an Analytical Scientist at Glaxo and has taken on progressive leadership roles in pharma/biopharma. Charlie has worked with leading private and public pharma/biopharma organizations including leadership roles at CROs such as Patheon and Therapure Biopharma. He has also served as COO in both public and private organizations.
Driven by a personal passion to grow R&D in Canada, he has been a contributing member on multiple SR&ED tasks forces and executive roles in training organizations.
More recently, Charlie runs his own professional services business since 2016, helping companies grow and/or streamline operations for start-ups through to $B+ multinationals. He completed an HBSc in Chemistry at Western University (Canada) and a PhD in Organic Chemistry at McMaster University (Canada).
Patrick is a Professor of Chemistry at the University of Toronto, Canada Research Chair in Medicinal Chemistry, and Founder and Chief Scientific Director of the Centre for Medicinal Chemistry (UofT). Patrick obtained his PhD at the University of Glasgow in 2005 under the supervision of Profs. Robert Peacock and Andrew C. Benniston, and conducted post-doctoral studies at Yale University with Prof Andrew Hamilton.
Patrick’s research has focused on developing inhibitors of numerous protein classes, including transcription factors, kinases, and epigenetic targets, using novel covalent therapeutics and monovalent protein degraders. Patrick has published ~120 research papers, is a Fellow of the Royal Society of Chemistry, won 20 research awards including Canada’s Top 40 under 40, the 2010 Boehringer Ingelheim Young Investigator Award, the 2012 RSC MedChemComm Emerging Investigator Lectureship by the Royal Society for Chemistry, Rose Winer Levin Lectureship at the Dana-Farber Cancer Institute (2015), and the 2016 Canadian Society for Chemistry’s Bernard Belleau award.
Patrick, the co-founder and CSO of Dalriada Drug Discovery, has founded three other biotech companies with over $34M in funding, including Janpix Inc, now a Centessa Pharmaceuticals’ company, Dunad Therapeutics, and Dalriada Therapeutics.
Diana completed Honors BSc Degree in Molecular Biology and PhD in Medicinal Chemistry from the University of Toronto, and is a co-founder of two other biotechs, which have raised > $10 M in VC funding.
During her time in academia and biotech, Diana worked on diverse small molecule programs across protein-protein interactions, epigenetics, GPCRs, covalent inhibitors, and is an inventor on several patents.
As a co-founder and Chief Executive Officer of Dalriada, Diana brings to Dalriada years of leadership and hands-on cross-disciplinary biotech and drug discovery experience spanning areas of company building, scientific & IP program strategy, and operations.
Following completion of her PhD, Diana took appointment as a research manager of the Centre for Medicinal Chemistry, where she was involved in multiple drug discovery programs and provided oversight over the build-out of the >$100 M integrated drug discovery infrastructure at the University of Toronto. Diana co-founded and led two other biotechs, Dunad Therapeutics and Dalriada Therapeutics. In this process she recognized the shortcomings of the existing options for outsourcing innovative science, which led to the creation of Dalriada Drug Discovery’s Turn-Key™ Model. With this new model and under Diana’s leadership the company has grown to over 60 people within 3 years.
Diana is the recipient of several entrepreneurship awards, including RBC Prize for Innovation & Entrepreneurship and the 2018 MNP Future Leaders awards.
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