Erik Schwiebert, Ph.D., CEO and Chief Scientific Officer
As Founder and Director, Erik focuses on overall leadership of DiscoveryBioMed, Inc. As CSO, he serves as the principal science consultant in client work and in managing the company’s research and development. He brings several years of experience as a researcher in cell physiology and pathophysiology. He has focused on receptors and ion channels in human epithelial cells that regulate ion transport and that are pertinent to therapeutics for cystic fibrosis, polycystic kidney disease, and diabetes mellitus. He currently focuses his scientific efforts as an applied discovery scientist, applying his cell physiology and pathophysiology training to DBM programs. He was previously an Associate Professor with tenure at the University of Alabama at Birmingham. Prior to that, Erik was a postdoctoral fellow at the Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine. His education includes a Ph.D. in Physiology from Dartmouth College and a B.A. in Biology from Grinnell College. Erik is originally from Princeton, NJ.
John H. Streiff, Ph.D., Chief Chemoinformatics Officer
As Chief Chemoinformatics Officer, John serves as the company’s specialist in pharmacology, molecular structure modeling, pharmacophore analysis, life science modeling, bioinformatics and cheminformatics. Not only is Dr. Streiff adept at finding ‘commonality in structure’ among DBM’s validated hit compounds but he is also facile at conversion of HTS bioassays into automated and robotic formats. His previous experience includes research on molecular pharmacology of anesthetic drugs at the University of Alabama at Birmingham and at Mayo Clinic where John was an Assistant Professor. Dr. Streiff’s education includes a B.S. in Chemistry from the University of Northern Iowa and a Ph.D. in Chemistry from the University of Idaho. John is originally from Rochester. MN
Deborah Mai, Ph.D., Chief Biological Officer
As principal scientist, Deborah engages in both internal R&D and on-going service contract programs at DBM. She received her Ph.D. and postdoctoral training under Dr. Adrie Steyn at the University of Alabama at Birmingham, where she studied Mycobacterium tuberculosis and developed a novel HTS system to identify small molecule inhibitors of protein-protein interactions in mycobacterial cells. Dr. Mai utilizes her training to develop, optimize, and perform cell-based drug screening platforms at DBM. Her expertise and knowledge in bacterial pathogenesis enables DBM to expand in its R&D and drug discovery services to include anti-infective programs. Deborah received her BS in Microbiology from Auburn University. She is originally from Tuscaloosa, AL.
Dr. Douglas W.P. Hay, Ph.D. has over 20 years of experience in BioPharma. He hails from Strafford, PA outside of Philadelphia. Douglas is currently principal of Hay Drug Discovery Consulting, LLC. Prior to that, he was a VP in the Respiratory Discovery Performance Unit at GlaxoSmithKline focusing on COPD and other chronic lung diseases. Dr. Hay consults DBM in scripting its Drug Discovery Critical Path for the numerous on-going diseased human cell-based drug discovery bioassays and programs.
Dr. John Dixon, Ph.D. has over 30 years of experience in medicinal chemistry, recently retired from AstraZeneca. He lives and works from England. He is currently principal of JD Consulting International as a medicinal chemistry consultant. Prior to that, John was VP of the medicinal chemistry division for AstraZeneca in the UK. Dr. Dixon evaluates lead chemical classes for DBM that emerge from the many on-going disease-driven and intact human cell-based drug discovery efforts.
Dr. Matthew A. Gonda, Ph.D. has over 30 years of experience in biotechnology leadership. He is an independent DBM Board member and key advisor to Dr. Schwiebert. Matt is a serial entrepreneur that has led multiple biotechnology companies and who serves on the boards of several companies and entrepreneurship committees across the US and worldwide. Matt may take an expanded role with DBM in the near future.
Past Key Members of DBM, Inc.
Dr. Eric C. Seales was Chief Laboratory Officer from 2008 through early 2014. While at DBM, Eric was responsible for managing a range of on-going research projects and specific initiatives within the company, as well as for overall laboratory management. He established many of the ‘high value’ immortal human cell systems used by DBM in various applications. Dr. Seales brought industrial biotechnology experience with a number of applications, including 3-dimensional tissue modeling and in-vitro drug toxicity testing. His experience also includes a postdoctoral fellowship in osteoclast differentiation pathways in bone remodeling at the University of Alabama at Birmingham. He holds a B.S. in Physical Science from Auburn University and a doctorate in pathology from UAB, where he examined integrin-driven cell signaling and its role in cancer cell metastasis. He is very adept at bioassay design and optimization. Eric is originally from Montgomery, AL. The Chief Laboratory Officer position was eliminated in order to pursue a re-structuring of the company.
Dr. Joseph P. Ritchie was Head of Business Development and a Staff Scientist from early 2011 through early 2014. While at DBM, Joe was DBM’s point person for business development and also performed ‘hands on’ science in DBM laboratories. He was facile at organizing DBM’s efforts at the BIO meetings and in establishing a Rolodex of contacts within BioPharma for our R&D programs for future partnership and for CRO services client business. Joe is originally from the Birmingham, AL area. He received his Ph.D. in 2010 from UAB in oncology therapeutics development. He is currently a medical science liaison in oncology with Bristol-Myers Squibb.
Dr. Thomas H. Barr was Chief Operations Officer from the company’s inception and launch in H2 2007 to 2010. While at DBM, Tom was essential in establishing the business operations and financial infrastructure as well as helping equip the laboratories at DBM. During his time at DBM, he garnered an MBA from the UAB School of Business. Through his new venture, Entreventures Consulting, Tom helps start-ups and entrepreneurs in entrepreneurial and educational endeavors. When not pursuing this effort, Tom also teaches mathematics, statistics, financials and entrepreneurship at Indian Springs School and at the UAB School of Business.
Dr. Terry Porter, Ph.D. was a key strategic business consultant for DBM at a critical time in our growth between 2009 and 2011 between stints with worldwide business development teams at GlaxoSmithKline and with his now active effort with Takeda.
All past and current DBM principals, whether full-time or part-time, added significant and appreciated value to DBM, Inc. or continue to do so vigorously.
Board of Directors
DBM is privileged to have a supportive Board of Directors.
Dr. Lawrence ‘Larry’ W. Greer, DDS, MBA is the senior managing partner at Greer Capital Advisors, a firm located in Birmingham, AL and charged with managing multiple investment funds including the Birmingham Technology Fund, the Scout Healthcare Fund, and multiple funds of the Alabama CapCo program. Larry was originally trained as a dentist; Larry had his own dental practice for over 10 years before deciding to learn more about the business and financial industries. After garnering an MBA at Emory and after working with Dunn Investments for several years, Larry founded Greer Capital Advisors, specializing in early-stage capital investment in life sciences and biotech.
Lawrence W. Greer, JD is a managing partner at Greer Capital Advisors and specializes in the legal considerations of deals being managed or considered by Greer Cap. Lawrence was a classmate of Dr. Schwiebert in the 2007 Entrepreneurial Accelerator Program sponsored by the Birmingham Venture Club.
Dr. Matthew ‘Matt’ A. Gonda, Ph.D. is the independent Board member for DBM. Matt is a ‘been there, done that’ CEO of multiple life science and biotechnology companies, most notably TransMolecular, Inc., where he raised over $30 million for the company while he was at the helm. Matt has been a key advisor to Dr. Schwiebert throughout DBM’s history from its inception to the present.
Dr. Erik Schwiebert, Ph.D. is the Chair of the DBM Board.
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DiscoveryBioMed, Inc. (DBM) is a life sciences and biotechnology company, located in Birmingham, AL, formed with the ultimate goal of integrating human cell physiology with the drug discovery critical path. DBM’s founder, Erik Schwiebert, Ph.D., a physiologist by trade, launched the company in October 2007 and closed on seed capital investment with Greer Capital Advisors in November of 2007 (Birmingham Technology Fund). Since then DBM has continued to grow and gain recognition both locally and nationally.
DiscoveryBioMed’s mission is to fill a critical niche within the drug discovery industry by specializing in custom human cell engineering and human cell-based drug discovery. Our R&D infrastructure and know-how are leveraged as a CRO service to support the commercial and academic drug discovery community by integrating human cell platforms at any and all points within the drug discovery critical path, from HTS assay development and optimization to lead prioritization and progression, with the end product being ‘high value’ clinical candidates.
Academic labs and small biotechs have been adopters of our human cell platforms early in the drug discovery process, whereas large BioPharmas have been more interested in DBM’s capacity to design, develop and implement primary human cell systems for lead prioritization and progression. As an example of our services, DBM routinely performs targeted and phenotypic HTS assay development and primary HTS, custom primary cell culture and/or immortal cell line creation and secondary/tertiary validation and mechanism of action analysis with primary human cell systems.
DBM refers to our novel scientific approach and niche within this marketplace as Humanized Drug Discovery.
If the end goal is to give a drug to a human patient, why not discover new drugs with relevant human cell platforms? The DBM approach to drug discovery is designed to improve the attrition rate and yield high value clinical candidates by introducing disease relevant and physiologically relevant human cell platforms as early as possible in the drug discovery process.
Discovery BioMed’s scientific expertise has developed over many years of human cell physiology research.
Our laboratory is equipped with a state-of-the-art cell culture and engineering facility. Coupled to that, we have high-throughput molecular screening (HTS) capability with all types of luminescence, fluorescence, and absorbance detection. These facilities provide the means to perform many different high-throughput bioassays on human and mammalian cell-based platforms.
Our compound libraries come from diverse synthetic and natural-product sources. The selection of these libraries is guided by our company’s expertise in physiology and biochemistry. DBM has more than 75,000 small molecules as well as phytochemical extracts available to test on each endpoint, target, pathway or system.
DBM’s philosophy is that the best molecular screening approach to drug discovery is to utilize in vitro cell lines or primary cultures (preferably, human) that are as close to in vivo conditions as possible. Its diseased and wild-type cell lines are engineered to retain phenotypes through many cycles of cell division, leading to reliable results from cell screening assays. DBM refers to this innovative approach as Humanized Drug Discovery.
In its own discovery work using the same infrastructure as its services business, DBM brings the same expertise, tools, and philosophy to bear on identifying compounds with promise as therapeutics for respiratory, metabolic, and hyperproliferative (renal, urologic, oncologic) human diseases.
Statement Regarding Financial Conflict of Interest for Research Funded Under PHS Grants
DiscoveryBioMed, Inc takes seriously each potential Conflict of Interest that could affect the integrity of any Public Health Service (PHS)-funded Research performed by its employees and Subrecipients. As a result and in compliance with federal law and regulations, an DBM Investigator shall not participate in any PHS-funded Research if he or she has a Financial Interest that could influence the design, conduct or reporting of such Research activity. DBM will take immediate action under this policy to manage, reduce or eliminate any such Conflict of Interest. As set forth herein, all PHS-funded Research undertaken at DBM shall be conducted in full compliance with this policy and with all applicable federal and state laws pertaining to financial conflicts of interest, including, without limitation, Title 42 Code of Federal Regulations (CFR) Part 50 Subpart F for grants and cooperative agreements and Title 45 CFR Part 94 for Research contracts (collectively, FCOI Regulations). Investigators failing to comply with all FCOI Regulations shall be subject to sanctions, up to and including termination of employment. All underlined terms shall have the meanings as set forth herein.