President and Chief Executive Officer
Dr. Butt has a PhD from the University of Glasgow, UK, and trained as a Postdoctoral Fellow at the Georgetown University School of Medicine and a Staff Fellow at the National Institutes of Health, Bethesda, MD, before joining SmithKline Beckman (now GSK) Pharmaceuticals in 1982. He worked in several therapeutic areas during his 14 years in the SmithKline organization, where he led one of the first ubiquitin drug discovery efforts in the industry. Dr. Butt has an appointment as Adjunct Professor in Biomedical Engineering at Drexel University, Philadelphia and is active in a number of national and regional biotechnology organizations. He founded LifeSensors Inc, a revenue positive biotech company, in 1996 and is a co-founder of Progenra, Inc.
Vice President of Corporate Development
Dr. Mattern has a PhD from Princeton University and received postdoctoral training as an NCI Fellow at the University of California San Francisco and subsequently worked at the NCI/NIH and at SB/GSK Pharmaceuticals in Oncology before joining Dr. Butt to establish Progenra Inc in November 2002. He was a member of the SB team that developed the anticancer drug Hycamtin/topotecan and, while at GSK, managed high throughput screening programs in several therapeutic areas. Dr. Mattern is a charter member of the DMP (drugs and molecular pharmacology) Study Section for the NCI and serves as an ad hoc reviewer on other study sections for academic and small business grants.
Vice President of Medicinal Chemistry
Dr. Weinstock pursued a distinguished and highly productive career as a director of medicinal chemistry at SmithKline & French (later SmithKline Beecham, and now GlaxoSmithKline) Pharmaceuticals. He directed a medicinal chemistry group that was responsible for the synthesis of several compounds that have become marketed drugs, including the antihypertensive agent Dyazide, the angiotensin II antagonist Tevetan, and the renal vasodilator Fenoldopam. In addition to his contributions to the synthesis of pharmaceuticals, Dr. Weinstock was a leader and/or integral member of many preclinical development teams in the SmithKline organization, and is the author of >140 publications and 110 issued U.S.patents. Dr. Weinstock runs Progenra's medicinal chemistry department, overseeing preclinical compound development. He has published and patented on notable structures being synthesized at Progenra.
Senior Director of Research & Development
Dr. Nicholson received a PhD degree from the University of Bristol, UK before completing postdoctoral studies at the University of California, San Diego. Subsequently, he joined Nereus Pharmaceuticals, where he worked on two chemotherapeutic agents that successfully entered clinical trials; he moved to Progenra in 2005. At Progenra, he has assumed positions of increasing responsibility within R&D and currently manages the company’s drug discovery operations. Dr. Nicholson has more than 10 years of experience in ubiquitin-proteasome pathway specific drug discovery, has published more than 30 peer reviewed papers, and is an inventor on 7 patents. In addition he is active in the ubiquitin research community, organizing and participating in numerous international meetings and serving on NIH study sections.
Manager, Business Development
Jeffrey Marblestone received BS and MS degrees in Molecular Biology from the University of Massachusetts, Amherst. He joined Progenra in 2004 and in subsequent years occupied discovery research positions of increasing responsibility and breadth, reaching the level of Senior Scientist with alliance responsibilities. He has published numerous highly cited research articles in high impact journals and contributed as an inventor and author of several patents covering de-ubiquitylase and ubiquitin ligases technologies. In addition, he has been a leader of corporate collaborative projects at Progenra, providing him with insight into the development and operation of drug discovery partnerships. With his in-depth background in drug discovery processes, the science involving the ubiquitin pathway, and the management of collaborative projects, he is uniquely qualified to develop agreements between Progenra and its corporate partners. Mr. Marblestone was appointed Manager, Business Development of Progenra in October, 2012.
Scientific Advisory Board
Consultant in Biophysical & Structural Biology
Dr. F. Raymond (Ray) Salemme is a noted structural biologist and biotechnology executive. He earned a PhD degree in Chemistry at the University of California San Diego, where he determined the crystal structure of cytochrome c2. In 1993, exploiting his background, Dr. Salemme founded 3-Dimensional Pharmaceuticals (3DP), a company that integrated computer-directed combinatorial chemistry, structure-based drug design, and a novel thermodynamic screening method (thermal shift) to discover drugs for cancer and cardiovascular disease. 3DP was acquired by J&J in 2003 and has become a key component of J&J’s R&D organization. Dr. Salemme has also been active in public advisory roles, serving on the PDB Advisory Board, the senior advisory board (VCAT) at NIST, as well as on numerous NIH Committees; in his NIH role he was instrumental in the establishment of PubChem. Dr Salemme advises Progenra on biophysical screening and compound evaluation, as well as preclinical development.
Rose Dunlap Professor of Medicine & Editor-in-Chief, Cancer Biology
Hematology/Oncology Division at Penn State Hershey Medical Center, Associate Director for Translational Research at Penn State Hershey Cancer Institute, Adjunct Professor of Medicine at University of Pennsylvania.
Dr. El-Deiry has received many honors and awards and is recognized by the Institute for Scientific Information as a Highly Cited Researcher in Molecular Biology and Genetics. He serves as Editor-in- Chief of the peer-reviewed medical journal Cancer Biology and Therapy and has been an active member of the American Association of Cancer Research's Science Policy and Legislative Affairs Committee. Dr. El-Deiry completed medical residency and fellowship training at Johns Hopkins prior to joining the faculty at the University of Pennsylvania in 1994. He has published more than 200 scientific manuscripts and reviews and has edited several books on cancer. He serves on numerous national science review panels, is a popular invited speaker, and has trained and mentored several dozen post-doctoral scientists and graduate students. As a practicing physician he specializes in oncology and as a researcher he seeks new treatments to fight aggressive resistant cancers.
Professor Biochemistry, Louisiana State University School of Medicine
Department of Biochemistry, Louisiana State University School of Medicine, New Orleans.
Dr. Haas is a recognized authority on the biochemistry and enzymology of ubiquitin pathway enzymes. He earned a PhD degree in Biochemistry from Northwestern University and received training as a postdoctoral fellow in the laboratory of Dr. Irwin Rose, one of three scientists awarded the 2004 Nobel Prize in Chemistry for their discovery and elaboration of the ubiquitin pathway. Dr Haas published the first biochemical kinetics studies of the three enzymes (E1, E2, and E3) responsible for attaching ubiquitin to its target protein, and has long been regarded as a pioneer in the field of ubiquitin biochemistry.
Professor Department of Molecular Biology & Biophysics, Yale University
Department of Molecular Biology and Biophysics, Yale University.
Dr. Hochstrasser has a PhD from the University of California, San Francisco and received postdoctoral training at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) in the laboratory of Dr Alex Varshavsky, one of the pioneers in the field of ubiquitin research, and the developer of the "N-end rule" of protein degradation in cells. Dr Hochstrasser is one of several outstanding young scientists mentored by Prof. Varshavsky who are now leaders in today's rapidly growing ubiquitin field. He is well known as an expert in (1) protein turnover occurring in cells via the ubiquitin-proteasome system; and (2) the function and dynamics of protein modification by other proteins. Using yeast genetics and cellular biology/biochemistry tools, he has contributed much toward current knowledge of protein turnover and modification by ubiquitin and "ubiquitin-like proteins", describing, for example, the SUMO proteases of yeast (Ulp1,2). Dr Hochstrasser is the author of numerous articles, including seminal research papers as well as extensive reviews of the field.
Professor of Biochemistry
Director of the Graduate Division of Biological and Biomedical Sciences, School of Medicine, Emory University. Dr Wilkinson, a world renowned biochemist and enzymologist, holds a Ph.D. degree from the University of Michigan, and, like Dr Haas, trained as a postdoctoral fellow at the Fox Chase Cancer Center in the laboratory of 2004 Nobel Laureate Dr. Irwin Rose at Fox Chase Cancer Center, Philadelphia. Dr. Wilkinson was invited as an honorary guest to the Nobel ceremonies held in Stockholm on December 10, 2004. His Nobel essay, entitled "Ubiquitin: A Nobel Protein," appears in the December 17 issue of the journal Cell. It traces the history of the groundbreaking research on ubiquitin over the past 25 years. Dr Wilkinson's own contributiuons to the ubiquitin field are many and span several decades. He discovered UCHL1, the first ubiquitin isopeptidase to be described, and showed that it was a target of therapeutic interest. He was, thus, one of the first to recognize the therapeutic importance of this class of enzyme. Dr. Wilkinson's laboratory has been a pioneer in the development of assays for isopeptidases that work on the ubiquitin family of proteins.