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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.

“The people at Ovid create a bridge to opportunities for those affected by rare neurological diseases. The reason we get out of bed each morning is to bring life-changing therapies to families and communities with few or no therapeutic options.”
Jeremy M. Levin, CEO

meet our leadership team

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.

leadership
board of directors
scientific advisory board
Jeremy M. Levin, D.Phil, MB BChir
Chairman of the Board of Directors and Chief Executive Officer

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., a publicly held pharmaceutical company, from May 2012 to October 2013. From September 2007 to December 2012, Dr. Levin held several roles at Bristol-Myers Squibb Company, a publicly held pharmaceutical company, ultimately serving as the senior vice president of strategy, alliances and transactions. Dr. Levin also served as a member of the executive committee at Bristol-Myers Squibb Company where he was the architect of and implemented the String of Pearls Strategy which transformed the company. Prior to that, Dr. Levin served as global head of strategic alliances at Novartis Institutes for Biomedical Research, Inc., a division of Novartis AG, from 2002 to 2007. Previously, he served on the board of directors of various public and private biopharmaceutical companies, including Biocon Ltd., (NSE: BIOCON), and is currently on the board of directors for Lundbeck (OMX: LUN). Dr. Levin is the chairman of the Biotechnology Innovation Organization (BIO). He 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
President and Chief Medical Officer

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 conditions such as spinal muscular atrophy, amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS) and multiple sclerosis as well as hematologic conditions such as 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. 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. 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
Chief Commercial Officer

Jason Tardio joined Ovid in November as Chief Commercial Officer. Prior to joining Ovid, Mr. Tardio served as vice president and 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.  Prior to 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, leading the business for Argentina, Chile and Uruguay. 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 more than 17 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
Chief Financial Officer

Jeffrey Rona joined Ovid as consulting CFO 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 operations and transactions for private and public 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 M. Perone, J.D.
Head, General Counsel and Corporate Secretary

Thomas Perone joined Ovid in March 2019 and is our general counsel and corporate secretary. 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.
Head, Global Manufacturing and Quality Assurance

Dirk Haasner, Ph.D., M.P.M., is our head of manufacturing and CMC QA. Dr. Haasner previously served 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 an 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
Treasurer & Corporate Controller

Timothy Daly joined Ovid in September 2015, and has served in positions of increasing responsibility, most recently as Treasurer and Senior Vice President, Finance and Corporate Controller. 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 K. Wakamoto, SPHR, SHRM-SCP
Head, Human Resources

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.
Head, Rare Disease Strategy

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
Chairman of the Board of Directors and Chief Executive Officer

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., a publicly held pharmaceutical company, from May 2012 to October 2013. From September 2007 to December 2012, Dr. Levin held several roles at Bristol-Myers Squibb Company, a publicly held pharmaceutical company, ultimately serving as the senior vice president of strategy, alliances and transactions. Dr. Levin also served as a member of the executive committee at Bristol-Myers Squibb Company where he was the architect of and implemented the String of Pearls Strategy which transformed the company. Prior to that, Dr. Levin served as global head of strategic alliances at Novartis Institutes for Biomedical Research, Inc., a division of Novartis AG, from 2002 to 2007. Previously, he served on the board of directors of various public and private biopharmaceutical companies, including Biocon Ltd., (NSE: BIOCON), and is currently on the board of directors for Lundbeck (OMX: LUN). Dr. Levin is the chairman of the Biotechnology Innovation Organization (BIO). He 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.
Director and Chair, Nominating and Corporate Governance Committee

Karen Bernstein, Ph.D., has been a member of our board of directors since September 2015. Prior to joining us, Dr. Bernstein co-founded BioCentury Inc., or BioCentury, a provider of clinical, regulatory and finance news for the biotechnology and pharmaceutical industries, where she was editor-in-chief from its inception in August 1992 to August 2015. From September 2015 to October 2016, she was on the board of directors of Vitae Pharmaceuticals Inc., which was acquired by Allergan Holdco US, Inc. Dr. Bernstein continues to serve as chairman of the board of directors of BioCentury. Dr. Bernstein earned her B.A. in politics and history from Brandeis University and her Ph.D. in political science from Stanford University.

Barbara G. Duncan, MBA
Chairperson, Audit Committee

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 Aevi Genomic Medicine Inc., 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.
Lead Independent Director

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 and became senior counsel as of January 2017. 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, initially as special counsel and later as assistant director. Mr. Friedman currently serves 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 treasurer of the Smithsonian’s Cooper-Hewitt Museum. Mr. Friedman earned his A.B. from Long Island University and his J.D. from Harvard Law School.

Douglas Williams, Ph.D.
Director and Chair, Compensation Committee

Douglas Williams, Ph.D., has been a member of our board of directors since January 2016. Dr. Williams is currently a member on the board of directors of each of Ironwood Pharmaceuticals Inc. and Regulus Therapeutics Inc., each a publicly held biotechnology company. Dr. Williams is president, chief executive officer and a member of the board of directors of Codiak Biosciences Inc., a biotechnology company, which was founded in November 2015. Prior to that, he was the executive vice president, research and development at Biogen Inc from January 2011 to July 2015. From 2004 to 2010, Dr. Williams served in various roles at ZymoGenetics Inc., a subsidiary of Bristol-Myers Squibb Company, a publicly held pharmaceutical company, most recently in the role of chief executive officer and a member of its board of directors. Dr. Williams also served as a member of the board of directors of each of Oncothyreon Inc. and Array BioPharma Inc. Previously, Dr. Williams held senior leadership positions within the biotechnology industry, including chief scientific officer and executive vice president of research and development at Seattle Genetics Inc., a publicly held biotechnology company, senior vice president and Washington site leader at Amgen Inc., a publicly held biopharmaceutical company, and executive vice president and chief technology officer at Immunex Corporation, a publicly held pharmaceutical company, which was acquired by Amgen Inc. in 2002. Dr. Williams earned his B.S. in biological sciences from the University of Massachusetts, Lowell and his Ph.D. in physiology from the State University of New York at Buffalo, Roswell Park Memorial Institute Division.

Matthew During, M.D., D.Sc., FACP, FRACP
Chairman of Scientific Advisory Board and Founder

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 since April 2014. From April 2014 to March 2015, he served as our chief executive officer. Prior to founding our company, Dr. During founded NightstaRx Limited, a pharmaceutical company, in October 2013 and served as a consultant until November 2015. 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 (P) Limited, a pharmaceutical company, in February 1993 and served 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 and Harvard Medical School.

Jacqueline A. French, M.D.
Member

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 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.

Danial Geschwind, M.D.
Member

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 director of the Neurogenetics Program and the Center for Autism Research and Treatment (CART) and co-director of the Center for Neurobehavioral Genetics 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. His laboratory aims to develop a mechanistic understanding of neuropsychiatric diseases, namely autism and neurodegenerative diseases, and their relationship to the range of normal human higher cognitive function and behavior. The lab’s approach relies heavily on computational and bioinformatic methods in addition to wet laboratory experimentation. The ultimate goal is to use these integrative approaches to help develop effective therapeutics for neurologic and psychiatric disorders, focusing on autism and neurodegenerative disorders.

Dr. Geschwind is also a strong advocate for data and biomaterial sharing, having provided scientific oversight for the Autism Genetic Resource Exchange (AGRE). He has served on numerous scientific advisory boards, including the Faculty of 1000 Medicine; the executive committee of the American Neurological Association; the NIMH Advisory Council; and the NIH Council of Councils. He has published more than 300 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 received 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 2012; the Taking on Tomorrow Innovation Award (Research/Scientific Breakthrough in Autism) from Boston Children’s Hospital in 2013; and is an elected member of the Institute of Medicine of the National Academies, USA.

Howard Federoff, M.D., Ph.D.
Member

Howard Federoff, M.D., Ph.D., is the vice chancellor for health affairs and dean of the School of Medicine at the University of California at Irvine, where he has oversight of the clinical, medical educational and research missions. 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 250 peer-reviewed and invited articles 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. 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.
Member

David Eidelberg, M.D. is internationally recognized for his pioneering work using functional brain networks as biomarkers of neurological disease. Using PET and fMRI, he and his colleagues have identified and validated specific network biomarkers for Parkinson’s disease, Huntington’s disease, dystonia and Tourette syndrome, as well as cognitive disorders such as Alzheimer’s disease and fronto-temporal dementia. His work has led to accurate network-based algorithms for early diagnosis and assessment of disease progression in individuals with these disorders.

Dr. Eidelberg received his medical degree from Harvard Medical School. After completing residency training in neurology at Harvard, he pursued postdoctoral training in brain imaging with MRI (National Hospital, London) and PET (Cornell, New York). He has led the Center for Neurosciences at The Feinstein Institute for Medical Research since its founding in 2001, serving as director and Susan and Leonard Feinstein professor of neurology and neuroscience. Since 1995, Dr. Eidelberg has received over $15 million in research support from the NIH and other prominent funding agencies. He is the author of over 350 peer-reviewed research articles, editorials and reviews, as well as a textbook (Brain Imaging in Parkinson’s Disease, Oxford University Press 2011). He serves on the editorial boards of several high-impact journals in the neurology, neuroscience and brain imaging space, and is a scientific advisor to the Michael J. Fox Foundation, the Department of Defense, and the COBRE Center for Neurodegeneration and Translational Neuroscience (CNTN).