Chief Scientific Officer
Johnson & Johnson
United States of America
Gregory LaRosa, PhD, is Vice President, and Chief Scientific Officer of Pfizer’s Rare Disease Research Unit. Dr. LaRosa oversees all aspects of the Rare Disease Research Unit operations, including setting portfolio strategies, overseeing project progression, and working closely with the Business Unit colleagues. Dr. LaRosa received his PhD from Harvard University (Division of Medical Sciences) in Molecular, Cellular, and Developmental Biology. He has over 23 years of experience in rare disease and inflammation drug discovery and development. Prior to joining Pfizer in July 2012, Dr. LaRosa worked in several start-up and midsize biotechnology companies, most recently serving as President and Chief Scientific Officer at BIKAM Pharmaceuticals, Inc., Cambridge, MA. At BIKAM, he led the internal team charged with the discovery and validation of novel small molecule pharmacologic chaperones for the rod cell visual pigment, with the goal to correct the misfolding and trafficking of mutant rhodopsins that cause Retinitis Pigmentosa. The group focused on the development and utilization of in vitro and in vivo models related to Autosomal Dominant Retinitis Pigmentosa and age-related macular degeneration, to identify novel small molecules as candidates for progression into development for retinitis pigmentosa and age-related macular degeneration clinical trials. This effort resulted in the discovery of a novel Development Candidate for autosomal dominant retinitis pigmentosa. The company/asset was sold and the project is currently moving towards the clinic. From 2003 until 2008, Dr. LaRosa served as Vice President of Discovery Research at Critical Therapeutics, Inc., Lexington, MA, leading a group of biologists and chemists focusing largely on the pre-clinical validation of the concept that alpha-7 nAChR modulators could have broad use as anti-inflammatory therapeutics. He worked to discover and begin the development of novel anti-inflammatory, peripherally acting, compounds that target alpha-7, and demonstrated efficacy in animal models of inflammatory and allergic disease. Additionally, Dr. LaRosa ran a collaboration with Medimmune on the discovery and characterization of mAbs to HMGB1, a novel target for the treatment of very severe life-threatening inflammation. Before Critical Therapeutics, Dr. LaRosa served as Senior Director of Immunopharmacology at Millennium Pharmaceuticals, Inc., from 1999 to 2003, where his work was focused on several inflammation drug discovery projects targeting chemokine receptors and kinases. His group delivered three new Development Candidates that entered clinical trials. From September 1994 to December 1999, Dr. LaRosa served in several senior research positions at LeukoSite, Inc., a biotechnology company focused on chemokines, adhesion proteins and inflammation drug discovery. From 1988 to September 1994, Dr. LaRosa held several research posts at Repligen, Corp., a biotechnology company in the Boston area.
Molecular, Cellular, and Developmental Biology