Appoints Dr. Kurt Rasmussen, Former Eli Lilly Neuroscience Leader, NIH-NIDA Head of Therapeutics Division, as Chief Scientific Officer
Names Co-Founder Dr. David E. Olson as Chief Innovation Officer, Head of Scientific Advisory Board
BOSTON, July 6, 2021 /PRNewswire/ — Preclinical neuroscience company Delix Therapeutics (the “Company”), today announced the growth of its executive leadership team with two new leadership appointments.
Internationally recognized neuroscientist Dr. Kurt Rasmussen will join the company as Chief Scientific Officer. Dr. Rasmussen will lead Delix’s day-to-day scientific, discovery, and pre-clinical research team as the company continues to advance its psychoplastogen platform of novel disease-modifying therapeutics for serious psychiatric, neurological, and neurodegenerative disorders.
Co-founder David E. Olson, PhD — who was recently honored with the “Innovator of the Year” award by the University of California, Davis where he also serves as an Associate Professor in the Departments of Chemistry and Biochemistry & Molecular Medicine — will assume an expanded role in the position of Chief Innovation Officer, and Head of Delix’s Scientific Advisory Board.
Dr. Rasmussen joins Delix from the National Institutes of Health (NIH) where he led NIDA’s (National Institute on Drug Abuse) Division of Therapeutics & Medical Consequences since 2018. In this role, he directed the Medications Development Program, and played an integral role in evaluating the safety and efficacy of pharmacotherapies, behavioral therapies, and devices to treat substance use disorders. Prior to NIH, Dr. Rasmussen served as a Head of Neuroscience Research at Eli Lilly. With over 25 years at Lilly, Dr. Rasmussen led multiple R&D teams and projects, resulting in multiple neuropsychiatric therapeutics. His laboratory work contributed to understanding the neural mechanisms underlying the clinical efficacy of Prozac, Zyprexa, Strattera, and Symbyax.
A Fellow in the American College of Neuropsychopharmacology, Dr. Rasmussen has amassed over 100 publications and patents. He has also contributed to understanding the mechanism of action of hallucinogens through years of research, including one of the first publications to attribute the effects of psychedelics to agonist activity at the 5HT2a receptor.
“We are thrilled to welcome Dr. Rasmussen to our fast-growing, world-class team,” said Delix Therapeutics CEO Mark Rus. “Kurt is not only a great leader, but brings unmatched expertise in neuroscience and pharmaceutical development gained from serving both the public and private sectors that will only further advance Delix’s pioneering approach to treating brain disorders. The scale of his experience and blockbuster neuroscience products he’s helped develop are a great match for the potential scalability of Delix’s psychoplastogen platform.”
Added Co-Founder and newly named Chief Innovation Officer Dr. Olson: “Kurt has been at the leading-edge of neuropsychiatry his entire career, including his early mechanistic work on psychedelics. He shares Delix’s innovative spirit and deep commitment to doing the most rigorous science possible. Kurt’s breadth of expertise and deep knowledge of the serotonergic system will be invaluable as we expand our pipeline of non-hallucinogenic psychoplastogens. I’m very excited to work closely with him to push the frontiers of neuroplasticity research and develop convenient, affordable, and scalable medicines for healing the damaged neural circuits that underly many brain disorders.”
“I’ve dedicated my career to the research, understanding, treatment and prevention of some of the greatest mental health diseases plaguing our society,” said Dr. Rasmussen. “I’ve long been intrigued by the selective circuit-based approach Delix is pioneering, and I am eager to join an organization that has the vision, talent and commercial viability to deliver novel disease-modifying medicines to patients in need.”
Delix is rapidly advancing its orally-bioavailable, take-home and fast-acting compounds capable of producing long-lasting beneficial re-wiring of neural circuitry associated with depression and other psychiatric and neurodegenerative disorders — without the risk and safety liabilities inherent to first and second generation predecessors such as ketamine, psilocybin, LSD, 5-MeO-DMT, and MDMA.
The company recently announced the inaugural members of its esteemed Scientific & Strategic Advisory Board, composed of leaders with decades of scientific and commercial experience. The board members, together with Dr. Olson, will contribute to Delix’s mission by applying cutting-edge knowledge to advance the understanding of how non-hallucinogenic analogs of psychedelic compounds can be developed into safe, FDA-approved medicines.
About Delix Therapeutics
Delix Therapeutics is a neuroscience company focused on harnessing the power of psychoplastogens—novel neuroplasticity-promoting therapeutics—to better treat mental health disorders at scale. The company’s compounds are easily manufactured small molecules capable of rapidly inducing structural and functional neural changes in targeted areas of the brain. Many of these molecules are inspired by psychedelic compounds and preserve their efficacy-promoting mechanisms while avoiding their hallucinogenic properties and other safety liabilities. Delix is rapidly advancing these compounds through preclinical and clinical development to bring patients FDA-approved, take-home medicines that will serve several unmet needs. Headquartered in Massachusetts, Delix is building a world-class biotechnology company by combining an experienced team with innovative treatment strategies and scientific rigor to address the significant and growing mental health challenges impacting society. www.delixtherapeutics.com