Franz F. Hefti, Ph.D.
President and Chief Operating Officer, NeuroPhage Pharmaceuticals
Dr. Hefti has worked for over twenty years in the pharmaceutical industry and has more than a decade of experience in academia. He is President and Chief Operations Officer of NeuroPhage. He was Chief Scientific Officer at Avid Radiopharmaceuticals, a company developing a diagnostic agent for Alzheimer’s disease and acquired by Lilly in 2010, and he led the drug development efforts at Rinat Neuroscience Corporation as Executive Vice President of Drug Development before that. During his tenure at Rinat, three antibody drug candidates advanced from the discovery stage to preclinical and clinical development, and the success of these programs led to the acquisition of Rinat Neuroscience by Pfizer in 2006.
Previously, Dr. Hefti was Senior Vice President of Neuroscience Research at Merck and Co., where he coordinated the company’s neuroscience research worldwide, serving as site head for the neuroscience research centers in the UK and US and taking small molecule drug candidates covering six drug targets into development. Dr. Hefti was also Director of the Neuroscience Research Department at Genentech and previously spent more than a decade in academia as a Professor at the University of Southern California and Associate Professor at the University of Miami, where he carried out seminal research on therapeutic applications of neurotrophic factors.
He has published over 250 papers on neurotrophic factors and topics in neuropharmacology and a textbook Drug Discovery for Nervous System Diseases (John Wiley and Sons). Dr. Hefti received a PhD from the University of Zurich and did his postdoctoral research at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology and the Max Planck Institute in Munich.