WARF Therapeutics


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WARF Therapeutics Drug Hunting Team

Jon Young, Head of WARF Therapeutics

Jon has over 25 years of medicinal chemistry experience in pharma and biotech, including > 50 publications/patents and eight clinical candidates. He served as a Director at Merck Research Laboratories and Celgene and as Vice President at Regulus Therapeutics. Jon has significant experience in small molecule, PROTAC and RNA drug modalities.

Jon on LinkedIn

Brian Dyck, Director, Head of Chemistry

Brian brings extensive experience as a supervisor of project teams and external CROs. He has led multiple lead optimization projects simultaneously, with a proven ability to identify high quality compounds for a variety of biological targets. He has delivered multiple clinical and development candidates. He was previously Director of Chemistry at Regulus Therapeutics.

Brian on LinkedIn


John Nagel
Director, WARF Therapeutics Business Development

jnagel@warf.org | 608.960.9848
John on LinkedIn

Rafael Diaz
Licensing Manager

rdiaz@warf.org | 608.960.9847
Rafael on LinkedIn

Beth Werner
Director of Intellectual Property, Life Sciences

bwerner@warf.org | 608.960.9856
Beth on LinkedIn

Advisory Board

Jennifer O’Neil

Jennifer O’Neil is Vice President of Translational Oncology at Akrevia Therapeutics. Before joining Akrevia in 2019 she spent 10 years at Merck Research Laboratories where she held roles of increasing responsibility in the Oncology Discovery group. During her tenure at Merck she worked on all phases of drug discovery from target identification to translational research and multiple modalities including small molecules, antibodies and peptides. She received a Bachelor’s degree in Chemistry from Georgetown University, a Ph.D. in Biomedical Sciences from the University of Massachusetts Medical School and did postdoctoral research at the Dana-Farber Cancer Institute.

Deepak Dalvie

Deepak Dalvie is a Sr. Director in Drug Metabolism and Pharmacokinetics at Celgene. Prior to joining Celgene, he was a Research Fellow at Pfizer Global Research and Development in the Department of Pharmacokinetics, Dynamics, and Metabolism in La Jolla, CA. Deepak received his B.Sc. in chemistry and M.Sc. in the technology of pharmaceutical and fine chemicals at the University of Bombay, India, and his Ph.D. in Medicinal Chemistry at SUNY Buffalo, NY. After a postdoctoral fellowship in the areas of chemistry and metabolism under the supervision of firstly Professor Richard Sundberg at the University of Virginia and then Professor Neal Castagnoli at Virginia Tech, he joined Pfizer as a research scientist in 1992. His research interests include the biotransformation and bioactivation of xenobiotics and understanding the molecular mechanisms of drug metabolism and metabolic activation. He has authored and co-authored several papers in this area and has published several reviews in these fields. He is an Associate Editor for Drug Metabolism and Disposition and serves on the editorial board of Xenobiotica and Drug Metabolism Reviews. He is also a reviewer of manuscripts for journals such as chemical research in toxicology and current drug metabolism.

Mark Deeg

Dr. Mark Deeg has over 25 years of experience in translational medicine. As a trained endocrinologist and biochemist, he spent over 10 years at Indiana University conducting basic and clinical research in atherosclerosis and diabetic dyslipidemia before joining Eli Lilly as a clinical research physician conducting early phase clinical trials in endocrinology and metabolism. He subsequently served as Chief Medical Officer for The Chorus Group, Eli Lilly’s semiautonomous group for innovative external research specializing in rapid clinical development programs leading to proof-of-concept. Most recently, he served as the Chief Medical Officer for Regulus Therapeutics. His experience includes a wide variety of therapeutic areas including renal disease, diabetes and metabolism, oncology, pain, dermatology, men’s health and orphan diseases utilizing a wide range of compounds including small and large molecules and oligonucleotides.

Christopher Dinsmore

Chris Dinsmore joined the WARF Therapeutics Advisory Board in January 2019 to help move therapeutic innovations forward in drug discovery and development. He brings to the role 25 years of experience in leadership and management of innovative research and scientists. Currently, Chris is an Entrepreneur in Residence at Third Rock Ventures. Prior to that, he served as Vice President and Head of Chemistry at FORMA Therapeutics, responsible for the creation and advancement of a pipeline of new transformative medicines. He played a key role in driving a broad array of discovery chemistry approaches and technologies across families of drug targets, integrating research with a world-class network of collaborating partners. Before joining FORMA in 2013, Chris was at Merck Research Laboratories for 19 years, where he held various positions of increasing scientific and managerial leadership in medicinal chemistry. His experiences across all phases of discovery and early development have been associated with therapeutics in a wide variety of categories including cancer, asthma, rheumatoid arthritis and other inflammatory diseases, cardiac arrhythmia, Alzheimer’s and other neurodegeneration diseases, leading to the advancement of numerous development compounds advancing in human clinical trials. Chris has co-authored over 60 publications in chemistry and drug discovery and is listed as a co-inventor on over 70 patents and patent applications. After graduating from Bowdoin College with a bachelor’s degree in chemistry and art, Chris earned his Ph.D. in synthetic organic chemistry from the University of Minnesota in Minneapolis, and then carried out postdoctoral research in chemical synthesis at Harvard University.

Paul Secrist

Paul Secrist is Senior Vice President, Head of Discovery Research at LifeMine Therapeutics. He brings extensive oncology drug discovery experience at both big pharma and small/startup biotechnology companies. Secrist has managed all phases of preclinical drug discovery from target validation and library screening through IND submission and clinical biomarker development. An accomplished oncology drug hunter, he played a major role in the discovery and development of two of the most innovative targeted cancer therapeutics yet developed. At Aton Pharma he spearheaded biology efforts studying histone deacetylase inhibitors, ultimately leading to the FDA approval of the first targeted epigenetic drug, Zolinza®. At AstraZeneca he led the effort and the team that successfully brought AZD5991 to the clinic. This molecule is a first-in-class inhibitor of Mcl-1, a key cancer cell-survival protein previously believed to be “undruggable”.

For business questions, contact John Nagel or Rafael Diaz. If you are a PI interested in submitting your work to the program or talking through next steps, contact Jon Young. You do not need to have a patent, we are interested in talking with you about a new target early in your process.