Who We Are

Dr. James M. Balkovec is a pharmaceutical industry consultant and advisor with over 35 years of experience in drug discovery.

  • Background in organic, medicinal and natural products chemistry, and scientific program management
  • Led multidisciplinary teams in infectious disease, metabolic disorders, inflammatory, and thrombosis disease areas
  • Contributed to over a dozen development candidates
  • Over 100 patents plus publications and numerous presentations

He is a co-inventor of the first-in-class echinocandin antifungal, caspofungin acetate (CANCIDAS™) and led the team that discovered the first orally active glucan synthase inhibitor ibrexafungerp (BrexaFemme™) for treatment of VVC.  He also contributed to the development of rezafungin, a once-weekly echinocandin under FDA review for IFIs and CD388 in clinical trials as a preventative and treatment for seasonal influenza.  Dr. Balkovec has received several prestigious awards including the American Chemical Society’s Heroes of Chemistry, the Thomas Alva Edison and ACS Industrial Innovation Awards.  He received his Ph.D. in organic chemistry at the University of Wisconsin – Madison working with Professor Barry Trost and was an NIH postdoctoral fellow with the late Professor Gilbert Stork at Columbia University.

While Dr. Balkovec was trained as a synthetic organic chemist, he has a breadth of experience in related disciplines such as QSAR, structural chemistry, natural products chemistry, DMPK, in vitro and in vivo pharmacology and toxicology. He has strong leadership skills and experience in working on highly collaborative programs.

Currently, Dr. Balkovec is VP of Chemistry at Kathera Biosciences, Senior Scientific Advisor at Cidara Therapeutics, Key Advisor at Bryologyx, Scientific Advisor at Sunnylife Pharma, SAB member at Lytica Therapeutics and consults with additional pharma companies.  Previously, he was Senior VP of Research at Cidara Therapeutics until 2018 and Senior Scientific Director and Program Lead at Merck Research Laboratories in Rahway, NJ until 2011. Since that time, his consulting company, ChemTract LLC has been advising clients in the pharmaceutical, biotechnology, and academic arenas.

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