We are driven to boldly impact rare neurological diseases.
Innovations at Ovid come from the heart, as we listen to the needs of the rare disease communities in every element of our work. And with our deep professional expertise in rare disease therapeutic development and commercialization, we can make those innovations a reality for individuals with rare neurological diseases and their families.
Fusing experience and diverse leadership, the Ovidian leadership team is united by a deeply personal drive to conquer the seemingly impossible and advance meaningful treatments for those who need them most.
Jeremy M. Levin, D.Phil., MB BChir, has been our chief executive officer since March 2015 and chairman of our board of directors since April 2014. Prior to joining us, Dr. Levin was president and chief executive officer of Teva Pharmaceutical Industries Ltd. (NYSE:TEVA), the world’s largest generics drug company. Previously, he was a member of the Executive Committee of Bristol-Myers Squibb (NYSE: BMY) where he had global responsibilities for strategy, alliances and transactions. In this role, he devised and led the BMS “String of Pearls” strategy, which resulted in the transformation of the company. Prior to BMS, Dr. Levin served as global head of strategic alliances at Novartis Institutes for Biomedical Research, Inc. (NYSE:NVS). Dr. Levin has served on a number of public and private company board of directors, and currently serves on the Board of Directors of BIO and Lundbeck (OMX: LUN). Dr. Levin is the chairman of the Biotechnology Innovation Organization (BIO). He is the recipient of numerous awards and was voted as one of the 25 most influential biotechnology leaders by Fierce Biotech in 2014. He has practiced medicine as a physician at university hospitals in England, South Africa and Switzerland. Dr. Levin earned his B.A. in zoology, M.A. in cell biology and DPhil. in chromatin structure, all from University of Oxford, and his MB and BChir from the University of Cambridge.
Amit Rakhit, M.D., MBA, is president and chief medical officer and joined the company in April 2016. Prior to joining us, Dr. Rakhit served as senior vice president at Worldwide Medical at Biogen Inc., a publicly held biotechnology company, from March 2014 to March 2016 and as vice president, program leadership and management from June 2011 to February 2014. During that time he worked on neurologic and hematologic conditions such as spinal muscular atrophy, amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS), multiple sclerosis and hemophilia. Prior to that, he worked at Bristol-Myers Squibb Company from August 2001 to June 2011 in various roles in clinical development and medical affairs, and ultimately was vice president, international medical organization with oversight of the medical teams in 25+ countries across North and South America, Australia, Middle East, Africa, and Pacific Rim. Dr. Rakhit earned his B.A. in molecular and cell biology from the University of California, Berkeley, his M.D. from Tufts University School of Medicine, his M.S. from Vanderbilt University School of Medicine and MBA from Columbia University and London Business School. Dr. Rakhit completed his fellowship in pediatric cardiology at Harvard Medical School and practiced as part of the pediatric cardiac transplant service at Boston Children’s Hospital prior to joining the industry. Dr. Rakhit currently is an advisory trustee for the Liberty Science Center in Jersey City, New Jersey, and a healthcare advisor for the Partnership for NYC.
Jason Tardio joined Ovid in November 2019 as chief commercial officer. Prior to joining Ovid, Mr. Tardio served as vice president, head of the multiple sclerosis franchise at Novartis. There, he was responsible for developing and managing all aspects of the U.S. commercial plan, brand P&L, strategy development, and go-to-market modeling. Before Novartis, Mr. Tardio held roles of increasing responsibility at Biogen where most recently he served as GM, Managing Director for Biogen’s Latin America South affiliate. Earlier at Biogen, Jason held a wide range of sales and marketing roles of increasing responsibility, including positions in global commercial strategy, the U.S. business unit and at the international affiliate level. His 20 years of commercial experience in the biopharmaceutical industry began at Wyeth and Sepracor, with roles in sales, sales training and marketing. Jason holds a Bachelor of Science from The College of New Jersey and an MBA in pharmaceutical marketing from St. Joseph’s University.
Jeffrey Rona joined Ovid as consulting chief financial officer in 2019. He brings more than 25 years of experience to the role, both as a former investment banker and a strategic financial executive with expertise in financial operations, investor relations and raising capital for public and private companies. He previously held senior leadership positions for GlobeImmune, AlgoRx Pharmaceuticals and Antigenics, and later formed a successful life sciences financial advisory practice. Mr. Rona is currently a managing director with Danforth Advisors Inc. Mr. Rona began his career at Coopers & Lybrand and UBS Investment Bank, and holds a B.S. in accounting from Case Western Reserve University.
Thomas Perone joined Ovid in March 2019 and is our general counsel, corporate secretary and chief compliance officer. He brings more than 20 years of legal and pharmaceutical industry experience. He was most recently at Celgene Corporation where, for 12 years, he held positions of increasing levels of responsibility and most recently served as vice president, assistant general counsel and assistant corporate secretary. While at Celgene, Mr. Perone was responsible for corporate securities matters; transactional matters including mergers, acquisitions and licensing opportunities; and contracting matters for North and South America including supporting Celgene’s clinical, manufacturing and commercial teams. Prior to joining Celgene, he was a senior legal director at ImClone Systems Inc. and began his legal career as an associate attorney at Proskauer Rose LLC in New York City. Mr. Perone received a B.Sc. in mechanical engineering from Rutgers University, an MBA from Fairleigh Dickinson University and a J.D. with honors from Seton Hall University School of Law.
Dirk Haasner, Ph.D., M.P.M., is our senior vice president of global manufacturing and CMC QA. Dr. Haasner previously served as our senior vice president, global regulatory affairs, manufacturing and CMC QA from March 2016 to August 2019, and as our vice president, global regulatory affairs, from December 2015 to March 2016. Prior to joining us, Dr. Haasner was vice president of regulatory and medical affairs, and vice president regulatory strategy and policy at Lundbeck USA Inc., a H. Lundbeck A/S subsidiary, from February 2002 to November 2015, with responsibility for all FDA interactions on several marketed orphan drugs and all Lundbeck development compounds. From 1994 to 2002, Dr. Haasner was employed at F. Hoffmann-La Roche AG, a publicly held healthcare company, where he held positions of increasing responsibility in global product development and global strategic marketing before being appointed global life-cycle leader. Dr. Haasner co-founded the biotech start-up 4-Antibody AG that was acquired in 2014 by Agenus Inc., a publicly held biotechnology company. Dr. Haasner obtained a M.Sc. in molecular biology at the University of Basel, Switzerland, a Ph.D. in cell biology and immunology at the Basel Institute for Immunology, and a postgraduate degree in pharmaceutical medicine from the EUCOR Universities Basel, Strasbourg and Freiburg.
Timothy Daly joined Ovid in September 2015, and has served in positions of increasing responsibility, and currently serves as Ovid’s executive vice president, finance, corporate controller & treasurer. Prior to Ovid, Mr. Daly was vice president of finance and corporate controller at Advanced Health Media LLC, a global provider of technology to healthcare professionals. Previously, he served as vice president, controller and chief accounting officer at Enzon Pharmaceuticals, Inc., a publicly held pharmaceutical company. Before that, Mr. Daly served in various operational finance roles during his 12-year tenure at ImClone Systems Incorporated, including during the commercial launch of Erbitux®, and most recently as director of finance. Mr. Daly earned his B.S. in accounting from Rider University.
Suzanne Wakamoto joined Ovid in June 2016 and is our head of human resources. She has been a people manager for 30 years and a human resources leader for more than 25. Her diverse background includes start-up, global, multi-site and non-profit organizations. She has been fortunate to work and consult in an eclectic array of industries including arts education, biotechnology, construction, entertainment, manufacturing, retail and software. Since 2008, she served as an independent HR consultant where she partnered with clients to develop more cohesive and compliant HR practices that aligned with their corporate culture and business needs. Some of her former corporate positions include: heading HR for the internationally acclaimed Blue Man Group and director of HR and administration for Cadus Pharmaceutical Corporation. Suzanne sits on the board of directors of NYC SHRM, the New York City chapter of the Society of Human Resources Management and is a founder and current chair of HR-PRO, NYC SHRM’s award winning pro-bono outreach program. She holds a bachelor’s degree in world arts and culture from UCLA. Ultimately, Suzanne is a person who believes excellence and fun are not mutually exclusive, but rather the partnership that makes us successful every day.
Claude Nicaise, M.D., is head of rare disease strategy at Ovid Therapeutics. He is a respected executive with more than 20 years of significant product development experience, particularly in orphan diseases. Prior to joining Ovid, Dr. Nicaise was an executive vice president of clinical development and regulatory affairs at Formula Pharmaceuticals Inc. Before that, he was senior vice president, strategic product development and global regulatory affairs at Alexion Pharmaceuticals, where he managed all regulatory activities and co-managed development programs with the head of R&D and designed, interpreted and filed all programs supporting development in rare diseases. Prior to joining Alexion, Dr. Nicaise served in various positions of increasing responsibility at Bristol-Myers Squibb for 24 years. Claude holds an M.D. from the Université libre de Bruxelles in Belgium. Dr. Nicaise is the author of more than 60 research articles published in peer-reviewed journals and is a member of several professional medical associations including the American Society of Clinical Oncology, the European Society for Medical Oncology, the American Society for Microbiology and the American Society of Hematology.
Jeremy M. Levin, D.Phil., MB BChir, has been our chief executive officer since March 2015 and chairman of our board of directors since April 2014. Prior to joining us, Dr. Levin was president and chief executive officer of Teva Pharmaceutical Industries Ltd. (NYSE:TEVA), the world’s largest generics drug company. Previously, he was a member of the Executive Committee of Bristol-Myers Squibb (NYSE: BMY) where he had global responsibilities for strategy, alliances and transactions. In this role, he devised and led the BMS “String of Pearls” strategy, which resulted in the transformation of the company. Prior to BMS, Dr. Levin served as global head of strategic alliances at Novartis Institutes for Biomedical Research, Inc. (NYSE:NVS). Dr. Levin has served on a number of public and private company board of directors, and currently serves on the Board of Directors of BIO and Lundbeck (OMX: LUN). Dr. Levin is the chairman of the Biotechnology Innovation Organization (BIO). He is the recipient of numerous awards and was voted as one of the 25 most influential biotechnology leaders by Fierce Biotech. He is the recipient of numerous awards and was voted as one of the 25 most influential biotechnology leaders by Fierce Biotech in 2014. He has practiced medicine as a physician at university hospitals in England, South Africa and Switzerland. Dr. Levin earned his B.A. in zoology, M.A. in cell biology and DPhil. in chromatin structure, all from University of Oxford, and his MB and BChir from the University of Cambridge.
Karen Bernstein, Ph.D. is co-founder and chairman of BioCentury Inc. and was Editor-in-Chief from October 1992 to August 2015. She is a director at Ovid Therapeutics Inc., which is focused on developing drugs for orphan diseases of the brain, and at Codiak BioSciences Inc., which is pioneering exosome research and development to create an entirely new class of medicines, exosome therapeutics. She is on the board of trustees of the Keck Graduate Institute of the Applied Life Sciences and is a member of the board of advisors of KGI’s School of Pharmacy. She serves on the board of overseers of Scripps Research.
She holds a Ph.D. in political science from Stanford University and a B.A. in politics and history from Brandeis University, where she served for many years as a member of the Brandeis University Science Advisory Council.
In 2005, the annual gathering of biotechnology chief executive officers at The Biotech Meeting in Laguna Niguel, Calif., inducted Karen into their Hall of Fame, citing her lifetime contribution to the biotech community. In 2007, Karen received a Special Recognition award at the American Liver Foundation’s Salute to Excellence, honoring individuals who have made an outstanding contribution to biotechnology and medical innovation. In 2013, she was named as one of the 100 Women of Influence in Silicon Valley by the Silicon Valley Business Journal. In 2015, Scientific American named Karen as one of The WorldVIEW 100 most influential people in biotech today. In 2016, she was named Commentator of the Year by the European Mediscience Awards.
Barbara Duncan, MBA, has been a member of our board of directors since June 2017. She previously was the chief financial officer and treasurer at Intercept Pharmaceuticals Inc. Prior to Intercept, Ms. Duncan held various senior leadership roles of increasing responsibility at DOV Pharmaceutical Inc. including chief financial officer and ultimately was chief executive officer prior to DOV’s sale to Euthymics Bioscience Inc. in 2010. Ms. Duncan has also held roles in the corporate finance groups at SBC Warburg Dillon Read Inc. and Lehman Brothers Inc. She currently serves on the board of Jounce Therapeutics Inc., Adaptimmune Therapeutics plc, Innoviva Inc. and ObsEva SA. Ms. Duncan received her B.S. from Louisiana State University and her MBA from the Wharton School of the University of Pennsylvania.
Bart Friedman, J.D., has been a member of our board of directors since November 2015. Mr. Friedman was a partner at Cahill Gordon & Reindel LLP, a New York law firm, since 1980 through 2017 when he became senior counsel. Mr. Friedman’s practice focuses on corporate governance investigations and advisory, and crisis advisory. Earlier in his career, Mr. Friedman worked at the Securities and Exchange Commission and acted as a liaison to other departments in the government. Mr. Friedman has served as chairman of the board of directors of the Sanford C. Bernstein Mutual Funds and as the lead director of the board of directors of Allied World Assurance Company Holdings, AG, a publicly held company. He currently serves as chair of the audit committee of the Brookings Institution, chair of the audit committee of Lincoln Center for the Performing Arts and as Chair of the Guggenheim Museum’s Works and Process Program. Mr. Friedman has also served as Vice Chair of the Juilliard School and as a member of the Visiting Committee of Harvard’s Graduate School of Education. Mr. Friedman is an active member of the Council on Foreign Relations and serves on the Membership Committee of the Council. He has also served as a member of Council on Foreign Relations delegations to many countries and institutions, including Saudi Arabia, Egypt, Lybia, Turkey, NATO, etc. He has also served as a member of CFR Task Forces on issues ranging from nonlethal weaponry to resources for foreign aid. Mr. Friedman earned his A.B. from Long Island University and his J.D. from Harvard Law School. He also served as a Research Associate at Harvard Business School.
Douglas E. Williams, Ph.D., is currently the president, CEO and member of the Board of Directors of Codiak BioSciences. He was previously Biogen’s executive vice president, research and development, serving in this role from January 2011 to July 2015. He joined Biogen from ZymoGenetics, where he was most recently CEO and member of the Board of Directors. ZymoGenetics was purchased for $985MM by Bristol Myers Squibb during Dr. Williams’ tenure. Previously, he held leadership positions within the biotechnology industry, including chief scientific officer and executive vice president of research and development at Seattle Genetics, and senior vice president and Washington Site Leader at Amgen. Dr. Williams served in a series of scientific and senior leadership positions over a decade at Immunex, including executive vice president and chief technology officer and a member of the Board of Directors. During his 30+ year career in the biotechnology industry he has played a role in the development of several novel drugs including Enbrel, Tecfidera, and Spinraza. He has served on the board of numerous biotechnology companies and is currently a member of the Board of Directors of Ovid Pharmaceuticals, and Chairman of the Board of AC Immune, and is a Director for private companies Cygnal Therapeutics, and Xenikos.
Matthew During, M.D., D.Sc., is our founder and chairman of the Scientific Advisory Board. He served as our chief scientific officer from March 2015 to May 2019 and has been a member of our board of directors from April 2014 to May 2019. He served as our chief executive officer from April 2014 to March 2015. Prior to founding our company, Dr. During founded Nightstar Therapeutics, a gene therapy company, in October 2013 and served as a consultant until November 2015. He co-founded Vector Neurosciences, another gene therapy company in January 2014, serving as CEO, subsequently sold in October 2018 to MeiraGTX. Most recently, he founded Emrys Bio where he serves as President. From February 2014 to December 2014, Dr. During served as a senior manager at Bridgewater Associates. Prior to that, he founded Neurologix Inc., a pharmaceutical company, in October 1999 and served as a member of its scientific advisory board until March 2012. Dr. During also co-founded Merlin Pharmaceuticals Limited, a pharmaceutical company, in February 1993 and served as a member of its scientific advisory board until December 1994. Dr. During previously served on the faculty of Yale University as a professor of neurosurgery from 1989 to 2000, as a professor at Cornell University until 2006 and Ohio State University from 2006 to December 2014, where he currently serves as an adjunct professor. Since 2011, he has also served as a visiting professor of translational neuroscience at the University of Oxford. Dr. During earned his B.S., M.D. and D.Sc. from the University of Auckland. He also completed fellowships at Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Harvard Medical School, Massachusetts General Hospital and Yale University.
Jacqueline A. French, M.D., is a professor in the department of neurology, director of translational research and clinical trials in epilepsy and a neurologist at the Comprehensive Epilepsy Center at the New York University (NYU) Langone Medical Center. She is also a founder and director of the Clinical Trials Consortium, an academic group that has performed a number of early-phase clinical trials in epilepsy, and she currently serves as chief scientific officer of the Epilepsy Foundation. Previously, Dr. French chaired an American Academy of Neurology (AAN)/American Epilepsy Society (AES) committee that developed two guidelines on the use of new antiepileptic drugs and has helped create guidelines for the International League Against Epilepsy. Dr. French was also president and served on the board of the AES and was the secretary of the American Society of Experimental Neurotherapeutics. She has authored more than 200 articles and chapters, is the editor of three books, and lectures internationally on clinical trials and the use of antiepileptic drugs. She was the 2005 recipient of the AES Service Award, the 2017 Lennox Award and the 2013 Epilepsy Foundation Hero award. Dr. French received a medical degree from Brown University. She completed her residency in neurology at Mount Sinai Hospital in New York and completed fellowships in epilepsy at Mount Sinai Hospital and Yale University.
Dr. Daniel Geschwind is the Gordon and Virginia MacDonald Distinguished Professor of neurology, psychiatry and human genetics at the UCLA School of Medicine.
He is a board-certified neurologist and director of the Neurogenetics Program in the Department of Neurology and the Center for Autism Research and Treatment (CART) in the Semel Institute at UCLA. Dr. Geschwind is also the senior associate dean and associate vice chancellor of precision medicine in the UCLA Health System and David Geffen School of Medicine. He is a world-renowned leader in the field of neurological and psychiatric genetics, who has made major inroads in understanding autism by levering genetics and genomics to understand brain mechanisms. His laboratory has also pioneered the application of systems biology methods in neurologic and psychiatric disease, working in collaboration with dozens of other laboratories to connect molecular pathways to nervous system function. His work’s main goal is to develop new therapeutics for nervous system disorders for which disease-altering therapies are not currently available.
Dr. Geschwind has also put considerable effort into fostering large-scale collaborative patient resources for genetic research and data sharing, including the development of the Autism Genetic Resource Exchange (AGRE) in the late 90s, the largest collection of families having multiple children afflicted with autism. He currently leads a multi-center NIH supported network that is working to study the genetics of autism in African American families, a group that is historically under-represented in biomedical research. He has published more than 500 papers and serves on the editorial boards of Biological Psychiatry; Cell; Current Opinion in Genetics & Development; Human Molecular Genetics; Neurobiology of Disease; and Neuron and Science. He has served on multiple scientific advisory boards, including the NIH Council of Councils, the NIH Mental Health Advisory Council, and the Allen Institute He has also received numerous awards, including the Derek Denny-Brown Neurological Scholar Award from the American Neurological Association in 2004; the Scientific Service Award from Autism Speaks in 2007; the Ruane Prize for Child and Adolescent Psychiatric Research from the Brain and Behavior Foundation in 2013. He is among the highest cited scientist in the field of neuroscience and genetics and is an elected Member of the IAmerian Association of Physicians and Institute of Medicine of the National Academies, USA.
Howard Federoff, M.D., Ph.D., is the former vice chancellor for health affairs and dean of the School of Medicine at the University of California at Irvine and CEO of the UCO health system, where he oversaw of the clinical, medical educational and research missions. Most recently, he has become the CEO of Aspen Neuroscience, a regenerative medicine company developing autologous stem cell products for Parkinson’s disease. He remains distinguished professor of neurology at UCI. Prior to UCI, Howard was the executive vice president for health sciences at Georgetown University and executive dean of the School of Medicine, where he was a professor of neurology. Prior to Georgetown, he held appointments as senior associate dean; professor of neurology, medicine, microbiology and immunology; professor of oncology and genetics at the University of Rochester School of Medicine; founding director of the Center for Aging and Development Biology at the Aab Institute of Biomedical Sciences; and founding division chief of molecular medicine and gene therapy. His research interests include gene therapy and neurodegenerative diseases. He has published more than 300 peer-reviewed and invited articles and book contributions and serves as a reviewer for many journals as well as on the editorial board of five journals. Howard served as chair of the NIH Recombinant DNA Advisory Committee from 2007-2010. He chairs the Gene Therapy Resource Program for NHLBI, was president of the American Society for Neural Therapy and Repair from 2013 to 2013 and is president of the American Society for Experimental Neurotherapeutics. He co-founded MedGenesis Therapeutix and Brain Neurotherapy Bio. He is an inventor on multiple issued patents and many others pending. Dr. Federoff received his M.S., Ph.D. and M.D. from the Albert Einstein College of Medicine, did his internship, residency and clinical and research fellowships at Massachusetts General Hospital (MGH)/Harvard Medical School, and practiced medicine at MGH, Albert Einstein and Strong Memorial Hospital at the University of Rochester. He is a Fellow of the AAAS and National Academy of Inventors.
David Eidelberg, M.D. is the Susan and Leonard Feinstein Professor of Neurology and Neuroscience, and has served as Director of the Center for Neurosciences at The Feinstein Institutes for Medical Research since its founding in 2001. He is also Professor of Molecular Medicine and Neurology at the Donald and Barbara Zucker School of Medicine at Hofstra/Northwell. A neurologist and neuroscientist, he is widely regarded for his pioneering work on network dysfunction in brain disease.
He was first to identify metabolic networks as systems-level disease biomarkers in patients and has described previously unrecognized network pathologies. His approach is currently being used worldwide for the assessment of disease progression and treatment responses, and as an adjunct to clinical diagnosis.
Dr. Eidelberg received his medical degree from Harvard Medical School. He completed his residency in neurology there, followed by postdoctoral training in brain imaging in London and New York. Dr. Eidelberg has author of over 250 peer-reviewed original articles, 100 reviews and editorials, and an edited volume (Imaging in Parkinson’s Disease, Oxford University Press 2011). He serves on the editorial boards of several major journals, and is editor-in-chief (Western Hemisphere) of Current Opinion in Neurology. Dr. Eidelberg has received numerous grants and awards, including the 2018 Bachmann Strauss Prize for his pioneering research in dystonia. He is a member of the Association of American Physicians.
Dr. Alex Kolevzon is a child and adolescent psychiatrist and Professor of Psychiatry and Pediatrics at the Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai. He serves as the Director of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry for the Mount Sinai Health System and the Clinical Director of the Seaver Autism Center for Research and Treatment at Mount Sinai. His research interests pertain to understanding the neurobiology of autism and related neurodevelopmental disorders, biomarker discovery, and developing novel therapeutics. Most recently, his group has focused on studying specific genetic forms of autism, including Phelan-McDermid syndrome, Fragile X syndrome, and ADNP syndrome, in order to explore targets for pharmacological intervention. Dr. Kolevzon leads the Experimental Therapeutics Program at the Seaver Autism Center which conducts studies that range from small pilot trials to multi-centered pivotal FDA studies. He also leads a national rare disease clinical research network dedicated to clinical trial readiness and studying the natural history of Phelan-McDermid syndrome. He is a frequently invited speaker regionally, nationally, and internationally and is also extremely committed to medical student and residency education as an active teacher, mentor, and clinical supervisor.