Kwang-Soo Kim, PhD, has over 30 years of experience investigating molecular and developmental neurobiology of the midbrain dopamine neuronal system in health and disease. He primarily focuses on elucidating the transcriptional mechanisms underlying development and maintenance of dopamine neurons. Based on basic transcriptional studies of midbrain dopamine neurons, Dr. Kim’s lab identified the orphan nuclear receptor Nurr1 as a potential drug target for Parkinson’s disease (PD) offering the opportunity to develop novel drug candidates for neuroprotective and mechanism-based therapeutics. His group is using established high throughput screening assays to identify promising compounds generated by medicinal chemistry and testing them in preclinical animal models. Dr. Kim also identified endogenous ligands of Nurr1, which can be also developed as new drugs.
George A. Lopez, MD is well known for inventing infusion therapy devices to enhance and save lives at the point of care. He founded and served as CEO of ICU Medical, a leading manufacturer of safe medical connectors, custom medical products and critical care devices. Within the infusion therapy marketplace, Lopez’s inventions are still considered “best in class” and his presence and legacy are still a force in the medical device industry. As he worked to create the standard of care in infusion therapy for patients and providers, Lopez also has been on a personal quest to find a cure for Parkinson’s disease. Lopez retired as CEO of ICU Medical in 2014 and still serves on its Board of Directors.
DJ Kim has 35 years of drug discovery and development experience. He founded NurrOn in 2020 and currently serves as its Chief Executive Officer and President. Prior to founding NurrOn, he was vice president of R&D at Rexahn Pharmaceuticals. He had also served as Chief Scientific Officer of Chemgenomics, Inc., a subsidiary biotechnology company of SK Corporation. After earning his B.S. in Pharmacy from Seoul National University, Korea, DJ went to graduate school at Korea Advanced Institute of Science and Technology where he obtained both M.S. and Ph.D. degrees. He then went to the University of Texas for postdoctoral training before moving to the Molecular Neurobiology Laboratory, McLean Hospital, Harvard Medical School as an instructor.
Dr. Wessel is a board-certified neurologist and has experience in all stages of CNS drug development. He started his career at Janssen (Johnson & Johnson) where he served as the medical director and NDA submission team leader for the FDA-approved drug RAZADYNE® (galantamine). Subsequently, he established the CNS clinical research
group at Sepracor, supervised the late stage clinical studies and the NDA assembly for LUNESTA® (eszopiclone). He participated in the commercial launch and helped plan the phase 4 studies for LUNESTA® (eszopiclone) with academic clinical researchers which included successful clinical trials in major depression (randomized co-administration of eszopiclone or placebo with fluoxetine initiation) and other psychiatric disorders. More recently, Dr. Wessel was the chief medical officer at Acorda Therapeutics where he worked on the NDA for AMPYRA® (dalfampridine) and made the safety presentation the FDA Advisory Committee for that product; he also served as CMO at Flex Pharma and Asceneuron as well as EVP of R&D for RelmadaTherapeutics.