Terpenoid Founders

Terpenoid Founders (left to right): Andrew J. Wiemer, Jeffery D. Neighbors, David F. Wiemer, Raymond J. Hohl

Terpenoid Therapeutics, Inc. is a drug discovery and development company focused on cancer. We use the platform of terpene chemistry to develop candidate drug molecules. Our team is creating, testing, and developing novel drug candidates using cutting-edge technologies. We seek to generate a robust pipeline of terpene-derived therapeutic agents.

Terpenoid projects are built upon a fifteen-year academic collaboration of the Terpenoid founders who have expertise in the biology and chemistry of terpene metabolism, pharmacology and oncology. The company is located in the University of Iowa Technology Innovation Center in Coralville, IA. The company maintains active collaborations with the academic labs of the founders.

Terpenoid currently has two projects to discover novel drugs. One project is focused on discovering small molecule inhibitors of geranylgeranyl diphosphate synthase, a novel target with applicability towards cancer and other indications. Another project is focused on the schweinfurthins, a family of novel cytotoxic agents with applicability towards cancer.

We are working to build a successful drug discovery and development company that is capable of commercializing first-in-class drugs. We hope the compounds we bring to market can contribute to a better quality of life for patients suffering with cancer.

University of Iowa Research Park

The Terpenoid Team

  • Raymond J. Hohl

    Raymond J. Hohl

    Dr. Hohl is a co-founder and the president of Terpenoid Therapeutics, and a member of the Board of Directors. He is a Professor of Internal Medicine and Pharmacology and the holder of the Holden Family Chair at the University of Iowa. He has clinical expertise and is board certified in Internal Medicine, Medical Oncology, Hematology, and Clinical Pharmacology. Dr. Hohl joined the University of Iowa in 1991 and from 1999 to 2005 he served as the Director of the Division of Hematology, Oncology and Blood & Marrow Transplantation. Since then he has been Associate Chair of the Department of Internal Medicine and Associate Director for Translational Research at the Holden Comprehensive Cancer Center. From 2003 through 2006 he served as a member of the Board of Directors for the American Society for Clinical Pharmacology and Therapeutics. He has received research support from the Roy J. Carver Charitable Trust, the National Institutes of Health, and the Leukemia & Lymphoma Society. At Iowa he directs a Carver Research Program of Excellence and the Roland W. Holden Family Program in Experimental Cancer Therapeutics. He is an Associate Editor for the Journal of Clinical Pharmacology and Therapeutics and a member of the editorial advisory board for the journal Lipids. Dr. Hohl received a BS in Biochemistry from the University of Illinois, an MD from Rush University, and a PhD in Pharmacology from Rush University.

  • Stephen Collins

    Dr. Collins is the Chairman of the Board of Directors at Terpenoid Therapeutics. Dr. Collins career has focused on the research and clinical development of therapeutics for hematologic, oncologic and CNS disorders. Previously he was the CEO, President and a director of NeuroTherapeutics Pharma, an early stage biotechnology company. Prior to NeuroTherapeutics Pharma, he was Chief Scientific Officer & VP for Clinical Affairs of Ovation Pharmaceuticals, an oncology and CNS-focused biopharmaceutical company acquired by Lundbeck A/S for $963M. Dr. Collins joined Ovation in 2003, shortly after its formation and was responsible for establishing the company’s R&D group and growing it into a team of over 60 professionals. He was also responsible for establishing the safety and post-marketing research groups as well as all scientific and medical in-licensing activities. His R&D team performed the preclinical and clinical activities for four development programs of Ovation, which resulted in two approved NDAs, two programs in global Phase III clinical trials, one program in Phase II clinical trials, multiple INDs, and life-cycle management projects for the firm’s marketed assets. Prior to Ovation, Dr. Collins was Global Senior Director of CNS and Pain at Johnson & Johnson, overseeing the early-stage development of neurologic, pain and psychiatric agents. He was also a member of the global in-licensing advisory team. Prior to Johnson and Johnson, he worked in Abbott Laboratories’ Pharmaceutical and Hospital Products Divisions. While there, he developed drugs for neurologic, psychiatric and pain indications and was responsible for the preclinical and clinical programs that supported the successful filing and approval of multiple NDA and sNDA submissions.

  • David F. Wiemer

    David F. Wiemer

    Dr. David Wiemer is a co-founder and the Secretary of Terpenoid Therapeutics, and a member of the Board of Directors. He is F. Wendell Miller Professor of Chemistry and Professor of Pharmacology at the University of Iowa.  Dr. Wiemer has been a faculty member in the Department of Chemistry since 1978, and in the Pharmacology Department since 2004.  From 2001 to 2002 he served as Interim Associate Dean for Academic Affairs in the Graduate College, and from 2002 to 2010 he served as chair of the Department of Chemistry.  In 1993 he received the University of Iowa Collegiate Teaching Award and in 2003 he received the Regent’s Award for Faculty Excellence.  He was made a fellow of the American Society for the Advancement of Science in 2006, and a fellow of the American Chemical Society in 2011.  He has received support for his research from the National Institutes of Health, the Roy J. Carver Charitable Trust, the U.S. Army Medical and Materiel Command-Breast Cancer Research Program, the Leukemia & Lymphoma Society, the Children’s Tumor Foundation, and the National Science Foundation.  Dr. Wiemer received a BS in Chemistry from Marquette University and a PhD in Organic Chemistry from the University of Illinois. He held an NIH postdoctoral fellowship in Organic Chemistry at Cornell University.

  • Mark Drish

    Mr. Drish graduated with highest honors from the University of Northern Iowa in accounting and obtained his CPA certificate. Mr. Drish then earned his law degree with high distinction from the University of Iowa College of Law. Mr. Drish spent approximately four years practicing law prior to joining a start up company called Access Direct. Drish was initially hired as the Vice President of Finance for Access Direct. Later, Mr. Drish was promoted to Executive Vice President and was responsible for running two subsidiaries. While at Access Direct, Mr. Drish was also active in other startup business activities. Mr. Drish is the owner and co-founder of FNBC Iowa, a local business brokerage firm. Mr. Drish is also an investor in B4 Brands, a local infection control company specializing in bio-based products. Mr. Drish is also a partner in Corridor Management Company. Corridor Management is the general partner of two venture capital funds, which has investments in 15 portfolio companies. Mr. Drish and his wife, Shelley, have two children and are active in many local charitable organizations.

  • Frank H. (Hal) Ebetino

    Dr. Ebetino is a Vice President of Terpenoid Therapeutics. Hal has over 28 years of drug discovery and medicinal chemistry experience. He advanced through the senior technical levels, supervised research teams in multiple therapeutic areas, and worked as an external research manager at Procter & Gamble Pharmaceuticals from 1984-2009. In 2009 he joined Warner Chilcott where he was Director of the Drug Discovery Department. This included setting up and leading the medicinal chemistry research laboratories in Dundalk, Ireland. He has been a Visiting Scholar at the University of Southern California, Los Angeles, since 2003, and was recently appointed Visiting Research Professor at Queen’s University, Belfast, N. Ireland. Hal is also continuing research at the University of Oxford, UK as a visiting scientist. His research and publications span a variety of therapeutic areas including Bone Metabolism, Arthritis, Obesity, Anti-infectives, Gastrointestinal Disease and Cancer, and he has coauthored over 150 peer reviewed publications, review chapters, and patent applications on these subjects. He is most well-known for my many years of research on the bisphosphonates class of bone active agents, and was part of the P&G team that discovered and developed the therapeutic agent risedronate (Actonel®) for osteoporosis.

  • Jeffrey D. Neighbors

    Jeffrey D. Neighbors

    Dr. Neighbors is a co-founder of Terpenoid Therapeutics and Director of Drug Development. He is currently a part-time Research Scientist at the University of Iowa, and a part-time Senior Scientist at Terpenoid Therapeutics, Inc. He was supported by an Institutional Cancer Research Training Grant in 2005 and was also awarded a predoctoral fellowship from the US Army Medical Research and Materiel Command Breast Cancer Research Program from 2002 to 2004. He has received research support from the National Institutes of Health. Dr. Neighbors received a BS in Chemistry from the University of Iowa and a PhD in Organic Chemistry from the University of Iowa. He has completed a period of postdoctoral studies in the labs of Professor Raymond Hohl (Pharmacology), and Professor David Wiemer (Chemistry).

  • Andrew J. Wiemer

    Andrew J. Wiemer

    Dr. Andrew Wiemer is a co-founder of Terpenoid Therapeutics and a consultant to the company. He received a BS in Biology from the University of Notre Dame, an MS in Biochemistry from Colorado State University, and a PhD in Molecular Biology from the University of Iowa, where he worked with Dr. Hohl as a research assistant and graduate student.  He performed postdoctoral research at the University of Wisconsin-Madison. Dr. Wiemer is currently an Assistant Professor of Medicinal Chemistry at the University of Connecticut. He has received research support from the National Institutes of Health and the American Cancer Society.

  • Stephen Wanaski

    Dr. Wanaski serves as a consultant to Terpenoid Therapeutics concentrating on scientific and strategic drug and corporate development. Dr. Wanaski’s career has focused on multiple facets of drug development including formulations, nonclinical and clinical R&D including pharmacology, pharmacokinetics and toxicology of both small molecule drugs and biologics. Most recently, Dr. Wanaski was Vice President, Research and Development at NeuroTherapeuticsPharma, Inc. (NTP), a central nervous system-focused biotechnology company, responsible for strategic development of nonclinical and clinical programs from drug discovery to first-in-human to early stage proof of concept clinical trials. At NTP, Dr. Wanaski led scientific and development efforts of a “virtual” Series A funded company and was a member of the executive team which secured over $43MM Series B venture investment in May 2010. Prior to joining NTP in May 2008, Dr. Wanaski was Senior Director, Clinical Pharmacology & Toxicology at Ovation Pharmaceuticals, responsible for nonclinical and clinical pharmacology programs across 10 diverse therapeutic indications and successfully led numerous IND- and NDA-enabling pharmacology and toxicology studies. His scientific and clinical development efforts contributed to successful regulatory filings and approvals for several late-stage epilepsy and antipsychotic drug candidates. Previously, Dr. Wanaski co-founded RnD Pharmaceuticals, now Silamed, Inc., an oncology-focused biopharmaceutical company applying bioorganosilicon chemistry to new and approved drug candidates with validated therapeutic pathways. Dr. Wanaski also held several positions of increasing responsibilities at NeoPharm, an oncology-focused biotechnology company. While there, he managed translational medicine and clinical pharmacology departments which contributed to the generation of novel clinical designs involving biomarkers and novel technologies to expedite drug development. He also designed and formulated novel anti-cancer therapies in order to increase the safety and efficacy profiles of known agents. Dr. Wanaski earned his PhD in biochemistry from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign and holds a BA in psychology from the University of Notre Dame.

The Name

We chose the name Terpenoid Therapeutics because our technology rests upon terpenoid chemistry and biochemistry. Terpenoids (also known as isoprenoids) are a large class of naturally occurring chemicals that have a similar repeating unit of five carbon atoms. Naturally occurring terpenoids contribute to a plethora of biological processes. Terpenoid chemistry offers nearly limitless permutations that can be exploited for development of therapeutic agents. Terpenoid Therapeutics: unfamiliar name, serious science.

More about Terpenoids on Wikipedia

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