BOSTON–(BUSINESS WIRE)–Delix Therapeutics, Inc., a new CNS-focused drug discovery company, today announced the appointment of veteran biotech industry executive Mark Rus as Chief Executive Officer. Mr. Rus was previously an Advisor at Atlas Venture, where he led an early-stage neuropsychiatry focused effort. Prior to Atlas, Mark was Group Vice President of Neuroscience at Shire Pharmaceuticals (now part of Takeda Pharmaceuticals).
Based on proprietary neuroplasticity-promoting technology licensed from the University of California, Davis laboratory of company Co-Founder and President, Professor David E. Olson, Ph.D, Delix is developing a pipeline of novel “psychoplastogens.” Many of these small molecules are non-hallucinogenic analogues of known psychedelics, capable of rapidly promoting structural and functional plasticity in specific neural circuits, and are being developed as potential treatments for unmet needs across a range of psychiatric and neurological conditions.
“From company building to R&D to product development and marketing, Mark Rus brings a wealth of neuroscience experience and knowledge to Delix which will undoubtedly serve the company well in its mission of delivering a new generation of novel, circuit-modulating therapeutics,” said Nick Haft, Managing Director at OMX Ventures and Co-Founder of Delix Therapeutics. “His leadership ability and extensive pharmaceutical industry expertise give Delix an important leg-up as we build a world-class biotech company, and we are delighted to welcome Mark to the Delix team.”
“Delix’s novel psychoplastogens offer a tremendous opportunity to develop much needed disease modifying treatments for severe mood disorders (i.e. depression) and other conditions such as PTSD, substance abuse, and neurodegenerative diseases,” said Mark Rus. “Many therapeutic options in psychiatry have offered only limited efficacy, as well as delayed onset and significant side-effects. While medicines like ketamine and other first-generation psychedelic-based compounds currently in development represent a breakthrough in the treatment of mood disorders due to their rapid onset, their side-effect profiles, requirements for in-clinic administration, and other challenges could limit patient access to treatment and increase costs. If we are to treat the more than 1 billion people in the world who will develop a psychiatric disorder in their lifetime, we will need safer, fast-acting, scalable solutions like the ones Delix is creating.”
He continued, “I am very excited by Delix’s science and diverse portfolio of novel plasticity-promoting compounds which offer the potential for safe and effective, take-home medicines for serious unmet needs in mental health.”
Delix’s science and compound candidates have already been the subject of multiple scientific publications in such journals as Nature and Cell Reports, stemming from the breakthrough work in the laboratory of Dr. Olson at the University of California, Davis.
“With Mark’s leadership, strong support from an experienced group of investors, and a growing pipeline of exciting compounds from our veteran research and development team, Delix is well positioned to succeed in its efforts to develop an innovative new class of medicines for promoting brain health,” said Dr. Olson.
About Mark Rus
Mark Rus is a globally experienced life sciences executive who most recently served as an Entrepreneur-in-Residence and Advisor at Atlas Venture. Prior to Atlas, Mark served as Group Vice President of Neuroscience at Shire Pharmaceuticals. Over the course of 13 years, he led teams across the United States, Europe, Canada, and Japan, at multiple clinical and commercial stages. His teams were responsible for several in-market and PI-III pipeline assets, across a growing $2.5BN neuropsychiatry business.
Mark holds a MSc degree in Political Economics from the London School of Economics and a BA (Hons.) in Political Science & International Comparative Studies from Huron University. He also has a professional background in Canadian Federal Politics, and served for several years as a policy advisor and political aide in Canada’s Privy Council Office, on the Minister of State’s staff, and Prime Minister of Canada’s election team. Mark was nominated by Pharmaceutical Executive Magazine in 2017 as one of the top 11 Emerging Leaders in the life sciences.
About Delix Therapeutics
Delix Therapeutics is an emerging developer of novel disease-modifying therapeutics for serious psychiatric and neurological conditions based on a proprietary platform leveraging the biology of neuroplasticity. The company’s compounds are easily manufactured small molecules called psychoplastogens, which are capable of rapidly inducing structural and functional neural changes in targeted areas of the brain. Many of these molecules are inspired by psychedelic compounds and preserve their efficacy-promoting mechanisms while avoiding their hallucinogenic properties and other safety liabilities. Delix is rapidly advancing these compounds through preclinical and clinical development, with the goal of one day alleviating mental suffering through its FDA-approved, take-home medicines. Delix is building a world-class biotechnology company based on deep industrial integrity and scientific rigor to address the significant and growing mental health challenges affecting our society. For more information on the company, please visit our website at http://www.delixtherapeutics.com.