ChemTract, LLC provides professional consulting services for early stage discovery of novel pharmaceutical agents. The Principal and Owner is Dr. James Balkovec, a well recognized Organic and Medicinal Chemist with over 30 years of experience. Prior to establishing ChemTract in 2011, he held the position of Senior Scientific Director and Program Team Leader at Merck Research Laboratories in Rahway, NJ. Dr. Balkovec was involved for many years with the in-licensing of anti-infective drugs at Merck. Currently, he is a Scientific Advisory Board member at Sunnylife Pharma and Senior Vice President of Research at Cidara Therapeutics located in San Diego, CA.
In addition to a strong background in medicinal and natural products chemistry, drug discovery and program management, Dr. Balkovec has expertise in Infectious Diseases, especially in antifungals, with additional experience in cardiovascular, metabolic, inflammatory and thrombosis disease areas. He has led multiple programs and co-chaired multidisciplinary Project Teams. He has broad knowledge in related areas such as QSAR, structural chemistry, DMPK, in vitro and in vivo pharmacology and toxicology.
Dr. Balkovec received his B.S. degree from the University of Pittsburgh and his Ph.D. in Synthetic Organic Chemistry from The University of Wisconsin, Madison under the direction of Professor Barry Trost. He went on to study under Professor Gilbert Stork at Columbia University in New York City where he was part of the team that accomplished the first stereoselective total synthesis of quinine. In 1987, he was recruited by Merck Research Labs in Rahway, NJ.
Dr. Balkovec’s accomplishments in synthetic and medicinal chemistry are highlighted by over 125 US patents, applications and scientific publications. He and his colleagues were responsible for more than twelve development candidates including five clinical agents that entered Phase I and beyond. He is a co-inventor of the drug Cancidas® (caspofungin acetate), the first ß-1,3-glucan synthase inhibitor for the treatment of life threatening fungal infections and led the team that discovered the first orally active glucan synthase inhibitor MK-3118, currently in clinical development by Scynexis as SCY-078.
Dr. Balkovec was the recipient of several prestigious awards including the ACS Heroes of Chemistry Award, the Thomas Alva Edison Patent Award, the ACS Industrial Innovation Award, the Michael H. Fisher Award in Medicinal Chemistry and the Silverman Award. In addition, he holds a Guest Professorship at Tianjin University. For more information, please see the links below: