About Us

Morphic Therapeutic is leading the development of a new generation of oral integrin drugs.

Drawing on discoveries made in the lab of Scientific Founder Tim Springer, Morphic is advancing preclinical programs in autoimmunity, fibrosis, vascular disorders and immuno-oncology.

Morphic was created in 2015 with support from Leukon Investment, Polaris Partners, Schrödinger Inc., and ShangPharma. New investors SROne, Pfizer Ventures, Omega Funds and AbbVie joined for the Series A round in June 2016.

Morphic Therapeutic Team photo
Timothy Springer, Founder, portrait photo

Our Founder

Tim Springer, PhD was an immunologist and biophysicist serving as Latham Family Professor at Harvard Medical School and Boston Children’s Hospital when he discovered integrins and their ligands in the 1980s. Since then, he has worked on elucidating regulation of their biological function. His pioneering work resulted in the detailed characterization of integrin structure and robust understanding of biophysical phenomena underlying their activation. This has led to the founding of multiple biotechnology companies (LeukoSite, Scholar Rock, Morphic Therapeutic) and approved therapeutics including Amevive®, Raptiva®, Campath®, Velcade® and Entyvio®). Morphic Therapeutic Inc. capitalizes on his 15 years of study of the molecular mode of action underlying unproductive interactions between small-molecule drugs and their integrin targets in the disease tissue. These findings make possible small molecule antagonists, which reverse their activation by preventing them from occupying disease-specific signaling and conformational states.

Tim is a member of Morphic Board of Directors and Scientific Advisory Board and provides strategic guidance to all research and development activities of Morphic Therapeutic.

Praveen Tipirneni portrait photo

Praveen Tipirneni, MD is President and CEO of Morphic Therapeutic Inc. Previously, he was Senior Vice President of Corporate Development and Global Strategy at Cubist Pharmaceuticals, a position in which he served from 2002 until the company’s acquisition by Merck in 2015. In his time at Cubist, he has served in the clinical group working on the Cubicin NDA (skin and skin structure infections) and sNDA (Staph. Bacteremia and Endocarditis) teams. He has been head of business development since January 2006. Prior to joining Cubist, Dr. Tipirneni worked at Sun Microsystems in corporate strategy, Covad Communications in Corporate Strategy, and Deltagen in business development. He also served time as a 1st Lieutenant in the U.S. Army. Dr. Tipirneni received a bachelor’s degree from MIT in mechanical engineering and an M.D. from McGill University. After completing his post-graduate residency in Internal Medicine at University of Illinois, Chicago, he received his MBA from the University of Pennsylvania’s Wharton School of Business in healthcare finance.

Bruce Rogers, PhD is Chief Scientific Officer at Morphic Therapeutic Inc. He brings nearly 20 years of drug discovery experience across pre-clinical and early stage clinical development programs, medicinal chemistry, biology, partnering and R&D strategy. He most recently was the Head of Neuro-Opportunities at Pfizer, where he led a team focused on entrepreneurial approaches to long standing CNS biology challenges, including direct brain delivery of protein therapeutics for PD and oncology approaches. Bruce spent 16 years in positions of increasing responsibility within the medicinal chemistry organization at Pfizer and Pharmacia, and during his time there led multiple discovery and early clinical development teams, with his group advancing over a dozen small molecule candidates into clinical trials for a broad range of neuroscience indications. Bruce has co-authored more than 40 scientific publications, reviews and abstracts and is a co-inventor on over 30 patents and patent applications. He holds a BA in chemistry from the University of Minnesota, a PhD in organic chemistry from the University of California at Irvine. He was a National Institutes of Health postdoctoral fellow at the University of California prior to joining the pharmaceutical industry.

Bruce Rogers portrait photo
Alex Lugovskoy portrait photo

Alexey A. Lugovskoy, PhD is Chief Development Officer of Morphic Therapeutic Inc., responsible for product development strategy and operations. Previously Alex served as a Vice President of Therapeutics of Merrimack Pharmaceuticals, where his efforts were instrumental to the discovery of five oncology drug candidates and the development of antibody and antibody-drug conjugate discovery capabilities. In addition, he led the development for istiratumab from the design stage into the biomarker selected Phase 2 clinical trials.  Prior to joining Merrimack Alex served as Associate Director of Drug Discovery in Biogen. There, he co-discovered the inhibitors of three integrins and methods for the detection of the John Cunningham polyomavirus that is associated with increased risk of progressive multifocal leukoencephalopathy. Alex is an Assistant Editor of mAbs, a member of the editorial board of Research and Reports in Biochemistry and a member of the advisory council of RBV Capital. He is a co-author of over one hundred patents and publications. Alex has received an Advanced Certificate for Executives in Management, Innovation and Technology from MIT Sloan School of Management, a Ph.D. in biophysics from Harvard University, and a M.Sc. in molecular biophysics and B.Sc. in math and physics from Moscow Institute of Physics and Technology.

Blaise Lippa, PhD is Head of Chemistry at Morphic Therapeutic Inc. He was employee number two at the company, and a part of the initial company formation in June 2015. Prior to this, Blaise was a Senior Director of Medicinal Chemistry at Cubist Pharmaceuticals from 2008 to 2015, with a focus on antibacterials, pain and Inflammatory Bowel Disease (IBD). At Cubist, he led teams that advanced multiple compounds to the clinic, and served on a development team that achieved an NDA prior to the purchase of the company by Merck. Blaise began his career in medicinal chemistry at Pfizer in 1999. He conducted advanced drug design in multiple therapeutic indications, including oncology, antibacterials and metabolic diseases. At Pfizer, Blaise was successful in advancing multiple compounds to clinical study, including an oncology therapy currently in a phase 2 trial. Blaise obtained dual B.Sc. degrees in chemistry and molecular biology from the University of Michigan at Ann Arbor in 1995, and his Ph.D. from Stanford University in 1999 while working with Professor Paul Wender. Blaise is an author of over 60 publications and patents.

Blaise Lippa portrait photo

Liangsu Wang, PhD joins Morphic Therapeutic as Head of Biology. Liangsu Wang has spent last 12 years at Merck and worked on drug discovery programs in the areas of Infectious Diseases, Cardiovascular Diseases, and Diabetes & Endocrinology. In recent year, she served as Executive Director, Diabetes & NASH Late Discovery, and was accountable for the drug discovery portfolio across all stages, as well as discovery support of clinical development programs (Phase 1 to 3) spanning small molecules, peptides, and biologics. She was managing a team of ~30 scientists. She established and executed the scientific strategy for NASH discovery research at MRL. She led the team and built the NASH discovery platform including in vitro and ex vivo systems, and multiple animal models.
Over the years, Liangsu has been strong scientific and strategic driver for external innovations with proven track-record in establishing and leading collaborations with multiple partners in academia and industry. she also represented Merck externally in a variety of forums.

Prior to joining Merck in 2004, Liangsu spent four years with Elitra Pharmaceuticals, where she directed a multi-disciplinary team to prioritize and select antibiotic targets for internal drug discovery and external collaborations including three large collaborations. She also worked at Digital Gene Technologies, Inc. for three years at the early stage of her industrial career.

Robert E. Farrell Jr., CPA is Vice President of Finance/Operations and Treasurer at Morphic Therapeutic Inc. Prior to joining Morphic Therapeutic, he served as Vice President of Finance and Administration and Treasurer of Genocea Biosciences from 2009 to 2015. Before that, he held senior level financial positions at Oscient Pharmaceuticals, Magen Biosciences and NeoGenesis Pharmaceuticals, Inc., where he directed companies through multiple private financings, acquisitions and several public offerings. Mr. Farrell is a licensed certified public accountant and holds a B.S. degree in accounting from Bentley University.

Robert E. Farrell Jr portrait photo

Gustav Christensen was President and CEO of Dyax Corp (NASDAQ: DYAX) from January 1, 2009 till it was acquired by Shire for $6.5 billion in January 2016. He joined Dyax early 2007 as EVP and Chief Business Officer.

Mr. Christensen realigned and evolved Dyax from a broad based R&D company to a focused fully integrated biopharmaceutical company. The Company marketed KALBITOR®for the treatment of acute attacks of hereditary angioedema (HAE) and was developing DX-2930, a fully human monoclonal antibody inhibitor of plasma kallikrein, as a subcutaneous injection for the prevention of HAE attacks. Dyax also had an evolving pipeline of fully human monoclonal antibody drug candidates with potential to address various orphan diseases. Dyax has broadly licensed its phage display technology and is eligible to receive royalties from a portfolio of products and product candidates being marketed and developed by its licensees. Mr. Christensen began his career at Baxter International, where he held positions of increasing responsibilities both in the international and domestic businesses – his last position being Vice President of Operations of the Fenwal Laboratories division. He left in 1983 to become the Vice President of Business Development at Genetics Institute from 1983 to 1988. Additionally, he has been the CEO, Chairman or a Director of several private and public biotechnology companies. Mr. Christensen was also a founding investor in Diatide, acquired by Schering AG for $140 mill, Phase Forward acquired by Oracle for $700 mill and Geltex Pharmaceuticals acquired by Genzyme for $1 bill. Mr. Christensen received his Master of Science in Economics from the University of Aarhus, Denmark and his Master of Business Administration from Harvard Business School.

Timothy Springer, PhD, Founder, Morphic Therapeutic is Latham Family Professor at Harvard Medical School and Professor of Medicine at Children’s Hospital Boston.

Tim Springer, Ph.D. – an immunologist and biophysicist serving as Latham Family Professor at Harvard Medical School and Boston Children’s Hospital – discovered integrins and their ligands in the 1980s and since then, has worked on elucidating regulation of their biological function. His pioneering work resulted in the detailed characterization of integrin structure and robust understanding of biophysical phenomena underlying their activation. This has led to the founding of multiple biotechnology companies (LeukoSite , Scholar Rock, Morphic Therapeutic) and approved therapeutics including Amevive®, Raptiva®, Campath®, Velcade®, and Entyvio®). Morphic Therapeutics Inc., capitalizes on his 15 years of study of the molecular mode of action underlying unproductive interactions between small-molecule drugs and their integrin targets in the disease tissue. These findings make possible small molecule antagonists which reverse their activation by preventing them from occupying disease-specific signaling and conformational states. Tim is a member of Morphic Board of Directors and Scientific Advisory Board and provides strategic guidance to all research and development activities of Morphic Therapeutic.

Praveen Tipirneni, MD currently serves as President and CEO, Morphic Therapeutic.

Previously, he was Senior Vice President, Corporate Development and Global Strategy at Cubist Pharmaceuticals from 2002 until the ~$10 billion acquisition by Merck in 2015. In his time at Cubist, he has served in the Clinical group working on the Cubicin NDA (skin and skin structure infections) and sNDA (Staph. Bacteremia and Endocarditis) teams. He has been head of Business Development since January 2006. Prior to joining Cubist, Dr. Tipirneni worked at Sun Microsystems in Corporate Strategy, Covad Communications in Corporate Strategy, and Deltagen, in Business Development and also served time as 1st Lieutenant in the U.S. Army. Dr. Tipirneni received a bachelor’s degree from MIT in Mechanical Engineering, an M.D. from McGill University. After completing his post-graduate residency in Internal Medicine at University of Illinois, Chicago, he received his MBA from the University of Pennsylvania’s Wharton School of Business in healthcare finance.

Kevin Bitterman is a Partner at Polaris Partners in the Boston office.

He joined Polaris in 2004 and focuses on investments in healthcare. In his time at Polaris, Kevin co-founded Genocea Biosciences (NASDAQ: GNCA) and was the founding CEO of Editas Medicine (NASDAQ: EDIT), Morphic Therapeutic and Visterra. He currently represents Polaris as a director of Editas Medicine, InSeal Medical, Genocea Biosciences, Kala Pharmaceuticals, Morphic Therapeutic, Neuronetics, Taris Biomedical and Vets First Choice. Kevin is active in the local life science and healthcare start-up community, serving on the Scientific Advisory Board of the Massachusetts Life Sciences Center (MLSC) and the Board of Directors of the New England Venture Capital Association (NEVCA). He was recognized by the Boston Business Journal as a 2015 member of the 40 Under 40 list comprising outstanding business and civic leaders making positive impacts in the Boston community. Kevin received a BA, summa cum laude, from Rutgers University before completing his PhD in genetics at Harvard Medical School. Outside of work Kevin enjoys spending time with his wife and two young daughters. He also enjoys trail running and whiskey, though generally not at the same time.

Ramy Farid is the President and a member of the Board of Directors at Schrödinger, joining in 2002.

Dr. Farid also serves on the Boards of Nimbus Therapeutics, a biotech company he helped found with Atlas Ventures, and Morphic Therapeutic, another biotech company co-founded by Schrödinger. Prior to joining Schrödinger, Dr. Farid was an Assistant Professor in the Chemistry Department at Rutgers University. He was an NIH Postdoctoral Fellow in the Department of Biochemistry and Biophysics at the University of Pennsylvania and received his Ph.D. in Chemistry from Caltech.

Barbara J. Dalton, PhD is Vice President Venture Capital at Pfizer Inc.

Barbara has led the Pfizer Venture Investments team since joining Pfizer in 2007. The venture team has invested in 48 companies and ten funds pursuing products, technologies and services, relevant to all aspects of Pfizer’s business, since inception in 2004. The team has been successful in fulfilling their goal of providing financial and strategic returns to Pfizer. Barbara currently represents Pfizer’s investments in Ablexis, The Accelerator NYC, Cydan, Ixchelsis, Levicept, Lodo Therapeutics, NexImmune, Petra Pharma, Rhythm Pharmaceuticals and Vitesse. Barbara trained as a research scientist investigating interferons at The Medical College of Pennsylvania (now Drexel School of Medicine) where she received her PhD. Her pharmaceutical career started in the immunology division of Smith Kline & French Research Laboratories. She started venture investing in 1993 when she joined Smith Kline’s venture capital group, S.R. One, Limited and while there was a founding partner in EuclidSR Partners a private New York based venture capital firm where SmithKline was a leading limited partner. She currently chairs the Healthcare Subcommittee of the Partnership Fund for New York City. At Penn State, Barbara is an advisor to the Dean of the Eberly College of Science, where she received her undergraduate degree and was a member of The Penn State Research Foundation Board of Directors. She was also a board member of the Institute for the Study of Ageing, the NY Biotechnology Association, and the National Venture Capital Association, where she helped found and chaired their Corporate Venture Capital subgroup.

Vikas Goyal is Principal at SRone in the Cambridge, MA office.

Vikas joined SR One in January 2011, after interning with SR One since 2009. Prior to joining SR One, Vikas was a consultant at McKinsey and Co, a co-founder of Extera Partners, and a business development manager at Infinity Pharmaceuticals. Over his career, Vikas has supported business and corporate development activities for nearly 50 large and small public, venture-backed, and angel funded life science companies. Vikas received his BA in Neurobiology from Harvard University, and his MBA in Health Care Management from the Wharton School of the University of Pennsylvania. He is a member of Class 17 of the Kauffman Fellows Society. Vikas represents SR One on the board of Calcimedica, Macrolide Pharmaceuticals and Spero Therapeutics. Medicine at University of Illinois, Chicago, he received his MBA from the University of Pennsylvania’s Wharton School of Business in healthcare finance.

Timothy Springer, PhD, Founder, Morphic Therapeutic

Latham Family Professor at Harvard Medical School and Professor of Medicine at Children’s Hospital Boston.

For more information: http://springerlab.tch.harvard.edu/springer/pages/timothya.springer.

Tim Springer, Ph.D. – an immunologist and biophysicist serving as Latham Family Professor at Harvard Medical School and Boston Children’s Hospital – discovered integrins and their ligands in the 1980s and since then, has worked on elucidating regulation of their biological function. His pioneering work resulted in the detailed characterization of integrin structure and robust understanding of biophysical phenomena underlying their activation. This has led to the founding of multiple biotechnology companies (LeukoSite , Scholar Rock, Morphic Therapeutic) and approved therapeutics including Amevive®, Raptiva®, Campath®, Velcade®, and Entyvio®). Morphic Therapeutics Inc., capitalizes on his 15 years of study of the molecular mode of action underlying unproductive interactions between small-molecule drugs and their integrin targets in the disease tissue. These findings make possible small molecule antagonists which reverse their activation by preventing them from occupying disease-specific signaling and conformational states. Tim is a member of Morphic Board of Directors and Scientific Advisory Board and provides strategic guidance to all research and development activities of Morphic Therapeutic.

Mark Murcko, PhD

Chair of the Morphic Therapeutic SAB

Chief Scientific Officer of Relay Therapeutics

For more information: https://www.schrodinger.com/advisors/61/

Mark Murcko is the Chief Scientific Officer of Relay Therapeutics, and has been an advisor and consultant for Schrödinger since 2008. Prior to that, he was Vice President, Chief Technology Officer and Chair of the Scientific Advisory Board of Vertex Pharmaceuticals. He is a co-inventor of Incivek™ (telaprevir), the world’s most widely prescribed HCV protease inhibitor, as well as Agenerase™ (amprenavir) and Lexiva™ (fosamprenavir), Vertex’s two marketed drugs for HIV. He is also a co-inventor of 8 other clinical candidates in the areas of cancer, inflammation/immunology and infectious disease and was responsible for starting many of Vertex’s programs in these and other disease areas. Prior to Vertex, he worked at Merck Sharpe & Dohme, where he helped discover clinical candidates against cardiovascular and ocular diseases, including inhibitors of the enzyme carbonic anhydrase for the treatment of glaucoma. One of Merck’s development candidates in this area, Trusopt™ (dorzolamide), became the first marketed drug in pharmaceutical history to result from a structure-based drug design program. Dr. Murcko is highly regarded as an innovator and champion of disruptive technologies. He has served on the editorial boards of many scientific publications, including the Journal of Medicinal Chemistry and Drug Discovery Today, and will serve as the Chair of the 2013 Gordon Research Conference in Medicinal Chemistry. He is a co-inventor on more than 40 issued patents and has co-authored more than 85 scientific articles.

He holds a BA in chemistry from the University of Minnesota, a PhD in organic chemistry from the University of California at Irvine, and was a National Institutes of Health postdoctoral fellow at the University of California prior to joining the pharmaceutical industry.

Ulrich Von Adrian, MD, PhD

Mallinckrodt Professor of Immunopathology at Harvard Medical School.

For more information: http://vonandrian.hms.harvard.edu/About%202014.html

Ulrich H. von Andrian, M.D. received his M.D. from Ludwig-Maximilians University in Munich, Germany. He did postdoctoral work at the La Jolla Institute for Experimental Medicine and, subsequently, at Stanford University in California. He then went on to Harvard in 1994 as an Assistant Professor of Pathology at HMS, and was Senior Investigator at the CBR Institute for Biomedical Research (now called The Immune Disease Institute or IDI). He is currently the Edward Mallinckrodt Jr. Professor of Immunopathology at Harvard Medical School. Uli is a member of the European Academy of Sciences and several professional societies from which he received professional awards for outstanding research. These include the Amgen Outstanding Investigator Award (ASIP, 2004), the Henry Pickering Bowditch Award (APS, 2006), the BD Biosciences Investigator Award (AAI,2007) and the Eugene Landis Award (MCS, 2010).

Albert Robichaud , PhD

Chief Scientific Officer of Sage Therapeutics

For more information: http://sagerx.com/ourteam.php

Albert Robichaud joined SAGE as CSO in 2011, with more than 20 years of drug discovery experience focused primarily in the neuroscience arena. Most recently, he was Vice President of Chemistry and Pharmacokinetic Sciences at Lundbeck USA, where he was responsible for the drug discovery, analytical, computational and pharmacokinetics departments focused on synaptic transmission and neuroinflammation. Prior to Lundbeck, Al was Senior Director and Head of the Neuroscience Discovery Chemistry Department of Wyeth Research. During his tenure there, his group successfully delivered more than 15 drug candidates into clinical development in a broad range of neuroscience indications. Al has co-authored more than 125 manuscripts and abstracts, and is a co-inventor on 50 patents and patent applications. Heholds a B.S. in chemistry from Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute, a Ph.D. in organic chemistry from the University of California, Irvine and was an American Chemical Society postdoctoral fellow at Colorado State University.

Shelia Violette, PhD

VP of Tissue Injury and Fibrosis at Biogen-Idec.

Shelia Violette has more than 20 years of experience in drug development, advancing programs from early stage research to clinical development. Prior to Biogen-Idec, Shelia was a Vice President of Research at Stromedix. Shelia has a BS from Massachusetts College of Pharmacy and a PhD in pharmacology from Yale University.

For more information: https://www.biogen-international.com/en/research-pipeline/meet-our-scientists/scientist-detail.violette_shelia.html

Paula Hochman, PhD

Ex-Biogen

Paula Hochman is a scientific leader with immunology focus possessing extensive experience at a preeminent biotechnology company and ten years of academic research and teaching. Proven expertise in developing novel therapeutics from discovery to clinic to market, including delivery of critical data and leadership of cross-functional teams to develop, register and manage the lifecycle of Amevive for Psoriasis, and Avonex and Tysabri for Multiple Sclerosis. Recognized success in: Elucidating and patenting of novel biological pathways; propelling technical teams to translate discoveries into products; integrating scientific findings into strategic planning to prioritize and progress a portfolio of programs; communicating evolving scientific and drug development concepts to audiences ranging from students to corporate stakeholders, regulatory authorities, and other medical professionals.

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