"Genentech is a great place to do drug development – we test novel therapeutics for serious diseases and take an integrated approach to clinical development that is driven by a strong commitment to scientific integrity."
I did my PhD in Neuroscience at UCSF and then started at a small company using C. elegans to discover new drug targets for neuropathic pain. That company was subsequently acquired by Celera Genomics where I continued to work in drug discovery across several therapeutic areas. After Celera, I moved further toward the clinic, leading the preclinical and biomarker development for a Btk inhibitor at Pharmacyclics. I joined Genentech in 2009 to return to Neuroscience and focus on biomarkers.
For me, biomarkers are at the sweet spot between research and the clinic. We use genetic, protein, and imaging biomarkers to better understand disease subsets, patterns of disease progression and the effects of novel therapeutics. My group focuses on Neuroscience (Alzheimer’s and other neurodegenerative diseases) and Ophthalmology (primarily advanced age-related macular degeneration). Part of the job is pure research – discovering new biomarkers and figuring out better ways to measure biomarkers in clinical trials. And part of the job can be very pragmatic – working with global teams to incorporate biomarkers into clinical trials to help us find the right patients and the right dose for a given therapeutic. The most exciting part of the job is when the biomarker data comes in from a clinical trial and we learn more about the disease and the drug and then apply that to the next clinical trial.