Matthew P. Jacobson, Ph.D. - Co-Founder and SAB Member
Matt Jacobson, Ph.D., has been a faculty member in the Department of Pharmaceutical Chemistry at UCSF since 2002, and was appointed the Chair of the Department effective January 2016. He earned his Ph.D. in physical chemistry at MIT, and completed post-doctoral research at Oxford and Columbia. Matt’s research focuses on computational biophysics and computer-aided drug design; he is the author of over 120 publications. Software written by Matt and his collaborators is widely used in the pharmaceutical industry; he serves on the Scientific Advisory Board of Schrödinger, LLC, and is a co-founder of Global Blood Therapeutics (NASDAQ: GBT). Matt received the NSF CAREER award, an Alfred P. Sloan Fellowship, and a School of Pharmacy teaching award. He has served on the editorial boards of several journals, including Biochemistry and PLoS Computational Biology.
R. Scott Lokey, Ph.D. - Co-Founder and SAB Chairman
R. Scott Lokey, Ph.D., has been a faculty member in the department of Chemistry and Biochemistry at the University of California Santa Cruz since 2002. He received a B.S. in chemistry from Trinity University in San Antonio, Texas, and a Ph.D. in bioorganic chemistry from University of Texas, Austin in bioorganic chemistry. Scott held a NIH postdoctoral fellowship at the Harvard Institute of Chemistry and Cell Biology, where he worked on the identification of cyclic peptide modulators of actin dynamics. His current research interests include the basic science underlying cell permeability of cyclic peptides, and the development of methodologies for synthesizing libraries of cyclic peptides for the discovery of bioactive ligands against intracellular targets. Scott and Matt Jacobson have collaborated for more than a decade on the application of computational approaches for predicting membrane permeability in "beyond Rule-of-5" molecules, with a particular focus on macrocyclic peptides.
David J. Earp, J.D., Ph.D. - President & CEO
David J. Earp, J.D., Ph.D., has served as the President & CEO of Circle since October 2013. Previously, David held various roles at Geron Corporation (GERN), including chief patent counsel, chief legal officer and senior vice president of corporate transactions, building a broad IP portfolio and playing an integral role in numerous partnering, licensing and collaboration deals. He led the spin-out of Geron’s nuclear transfer technology into StART Licensing, Inc., and its subsequent acquisition by Viagen Corp. (Austin, Texas). He served on the boards of StART and Viagen, including as executive chairman of Viagen and led the sale of the company to TransOva Genetics (subsequently acquired by Intrexon). David was also a member of the board of directors of TA Therapeutics Ltd. (Hong Kong, PRC). He was previously a partner in the intellectual property law firm of Klarquist Sparkman, LLP (Portland, Oregon). He currently also serves as a board member of Sienna Cancer Diagnostics (Melbourne, Australia).
David received his B.Sc. (with first class honours) in microbiology from the University of Leeds, his Ph.D. in biochemistry and molecular biology from the University of Cambridge, and his J.D. (magna cum laude) from the Northwestern School of Law of Lewis and Clark College. He was a postdoctoral research fellow at the University of California, Berkeley / USDA PGEC.
Pablo D. Garcia, Ph.D. - Director, Oncology Research
Pablo D. Garcia, Ph.D., is a cellular and molecular biologist with extensive experience in oncology drug discovery and preclinical development. With over 17 years of experience at Chiron Corporation and the Novartis Institutes for Biomedical Research in Emeryville, he made significant contributions to the areas of target identification and validation, the implementation of diverse discovery platforms and the management of a cancer biology discovery group. Pablo has led several drug discovery projects, including the PIM kinase inhibitor project at Chiron/Novartis. As the project leader, he oversaw all stages of preclinical development, from the initial validation of relevance to human disease to delivery of a drug candidate to clinical development. Pablo has a B.A. in Biology, a Masters in Genetics from Universidad Católica de Valparaíso (Chile) and a Ph.D. in Biochemistry from the University of California, San Francisco (UCSF).
Mahesh Ramaseshan, Ph.D. - Senior Principal Scientist
Mahesh Ramaseshan, Ph.D., is an organic and medicinal chemist with extensive experience in drug discovery, development and CMC. Before joining Circle Pharma he was a principal scientist at Geron Corporation where he worked on telomerase-based therapies, including Imetelstat, a clinical stage drug for treatment of hematologic malignancies. Earlier he worked at Nanosyn Inc. on small molecule kinase inhibitors for oncology and inflammation and acyclic nucleoside phosphonates based pro-drugs for antiviral therapies. Mahesh started his industrial career at Tranzyme Pharma working on macrocyclic peptides for the treatment of gastrointestinal disorders and diabetic gastroparesis, including ulimorelin. Mahesh received his M.S. in chemistry from the University of Jabalpur, India and a Ph.D. in organic chemistry from the University of New Brunswick, Canada. He did postdoctoral research at ETH- Zurich (with Prof. Albert Eschenmoser) and University de Sherbrooke (with Prof. Pierre Deslongchamps).
Siegfried S.F. Leung, Ph.D. - Senior Computational Scientist
Siegfried Leung, Ph.D., specializes in computational drug design and has over a decade of experience in macrocycle design and modeling. He joined Circle after undertaking postdoctoral research in the laboratory of Circle founder Matt Jacobson at UC San Francisco. His work there focused on the development of physics-based predictive models for passive membrane permeability and the application of these methods in designing cell permeable cyclic peptides. He was a key member of the Pfizer / Jacobson laboratory collaboration investigating the engineering of permeability into macrocyclic peptides, developing computational protocols for target-based design of permeable macrocycles. Siegfried received a B.S. (cum laude) from University of San Francisco and his Ph.D. in chemistry from Yale University under the mentorship of Prof. William Jorgensen.
Cayla M. McEwen - Operations Manager
Cayla McEwen has been responsible for the administrative and operational needs of Circle Pharma since its inception. She was previously the laboratory manager for Scott Lokey’s group at UC Santa Cruz and a Grants Officer at UCSC. Cayla received her B.S. (Summa cum Laude) in Chemistry from Washington State University.
Andrew T. Bockus, Ph.D. - Scientist
Andrew T. Bockus, Ph.D., completed his B.A. in chemistry at Skidmore College in Saratoga Springs, NY, and earned his Ph.D. in chemistry at the University of California, Santa Cruz under the mentorship of Circle co-founder Prof. Scott Lokey. Andrew’s dissertation research focused on the design and synthesis of passively permeable natural product-like peptide macrocycles. Before joining Circle Pharma, Andrew was a postdoctoral fellow at Trinity University in San Antonio, TX where he instructed undergraduate chemistry and worked under Prof. Adam Urbach on synthetic receptors for peptides and proteins.