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Stimulate the mind,
Act in the gut.

About

Digestome Therapeutics was founded in 2018. The company is based on the ground-breaking research of Dr. Kousaku Ohinata from Kyoto University.

Food affects mood, so Dr. Ohinata was inspired to identify active pharmaceutical ingredients that had origins in proteins from food sources. His well-published research describes numerous peptides that act in the gastrointestinal tract and stimulate the central nervous system via the vagus nerve. VNS (vagus nerve stimulation) is a well-established mode of action, with FDA approved devices for resistant epilepsy and refractory depression.

Digestome’s pipeline includes SAR-optimized drug candidates with potential in depression, anxiety, inflammatory disease, tinnitus, and others. The drug candidates are gut-acting and gut-restricted, which suggests an advantageous safety profile, particularly compared to most approved psychiatric drugs which suffer from numerous side effects.

Team

Ken Horne

President

20+ years across all life sciences. Serial entrepreneur and VC fund co-founder. Multiple CEO experiences all successfully exited (Aline Aesthetics, Symic Bio).

Igor Grachev, MD, PhD

Chief Medical Officer

30+ years experience, phase 1 to 4, neurology, psychiatry, neurodegeneration etc. Previously leadership at Marinus, Cellectar, TEVA, Novartis, and appointments at SUNY Upstate Medical University and MGH, Harvard University. 150+ peer reviewed publications.

Taka Koda

Acting CFO, President of Digestome Japan

15+ years healthcare investment experience, multiple CEO experiences. Partner at Remiges Ventures, and previously at Mitsui’s private equity group both in US and Japan.

Sami Karaborni, PhD

Head of CMC

30+ years in pharma and chemical industries. Previously VP Development Ops at Xenoport, Director of Formulation at Merck. Significant contributor to 100+ INDs and 7 NDAs.

Veronique Lauriault, PhD, DABT

Head of CMC

25+ years of toxicology experience. Significant contributor to approvals of rucaparib (Clovis), larotrectinib and selpercatinib (Loxo).

Dirk Smith, PhD

Head of Biology

20+ years drug development experience. Previously Scientific Director at Amgen, and Global Research Lead for AMG 282 (IL-33) and AMG 601 (IL-18). 50+ publications including Nature, Immunity; 7 patents.

Steve Smith

Head of DMPK

35+ years drug development experience. Previously Head of DMPK for Roche, Head Nonclinical DMPK for UCB. Significant contributor to 50+ INDs and several NDAs.

Susan Yen

Director of Finance

20+ years of professional experience in finance and business diligence. Previously Dir of Finance at Symic Bio, Research Analyst at Ally Bridge Group, Business Operations Analyst at Coca Cola Asia Pacific.

Advisors

Harald Murck, MD, PhD

20 years of drug development experience from Stage I to Stage IV with focus on translational and biomarker research. Previously at Sage, Acorda, Axovant, Novartis and others. Adjunct Professor for Psychiatry at the Philipps-University Marburg, Germany, with 85+ peer reviewed articles.

Larry Ereshefsky, Pharm.D., BCPP, FCCP

CSO at Apex Innovative Sciences, proven record leading Phase I/IIa studies CNS indications. Pioneered neurocircuitry / biomarker-based studies incorporating qEEG, ERP, fMRI, etc. 45+ years experience, PI for 100+ studies, 2 terms on the FDA Psychopharmacological Drugs Advisory Committee, several terms on the USP-Panel for Psychiatry.

News

Hey, There's a Second Brain in Your Gut

Caroline Delbert / Popular Mechanics

New research reveals that the “second brain” in your gut has at least a dozen kinds of neurons, unlocking new paths to further experiments and findings.