Mark Namchuk is the Puja and Samir Kaul Professor of the Practice of Biomedical Innovation and Translation at Harvard Medical School. He Joined HMS is 2020 as the inaugural Executive Director of the school’s Therapeutics initiative and was appointed as the first Professor of the Practice at HMS in the Department of Biological Chemistry and Molecular Pharmacology in 2021. The therapeutics initiative was established to accelerate the progression of discoveries at HMS from breakthrough biological insight towards a medicine and includes a scientific core to support drug discovery efforts and an on-campus biotech incubator (the Blavatnik Harvard LifeLab Longwood). The initiative also aims to train the inventors of tomorrow’s medicines and includes the therapeutics graduate program for PhD students and a masters in therapeutic sciences that will be launched in 2025. He is also currently the lead academic PI for a $30 M collaboration between HMS and Abbvie focused on disease understanding and new therapies for COVID-19.
Namchuk joined HMS after a 24-year research and development career in biotech. In 2015, he joined Alkermes as senior vice president of research and nonclinical and pharmaceutical development. Previously, he held a number of research positions over a 17 year career at Vertex including senior vice president of Research. Namchuk has directed drug discovery efforts in numerous therapeutic areas, including infectious disease, oncology, neurodegenerative and psychiatric disorders, inflammatory and autoimmune disease and orphan diseases, including cystic fibrosis. To date these programs have led to six approved drugs and an additional molecule in active Phase 3 clinical development. Namchuk serves on the scientific advisory board of several biotechs and as well as academic drug discovery programs at the University of Southern California and the University of California, Davis.
Namchuk obtained a B.Sc. with honours in chemistry from the University of Alberta, a PhD in bio-organic chemistry the University of British Columbia and was an HFSP post-doctoral fellow at UCSF.