Who We Are

ChemTract LLC provides Medicinal Chemistry consulting services for early stage discovery and development of novel pharmaceutical agents.  The Principal and Owner is Dr. James Balkovec, a recognized Organic and Medicinal Chemist with over 35 years of experience.  Prior to establishing ChemTract Consulting 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.  In addition to his position at Chemtract Consulting, Jim serves as Senior VP Research (Consulting) at Cidara Therapeutics located in San Diego, CA and is an advisor to Bryologyx and  Sunnylife Pharma.

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 M. Trost.  He went on to study under the late 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 130 US patents, applications and scientific works. He and his colleagues have been responsible for more than a dozen development candidates including six 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 ibrexafungerp (formerly 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 Silverman Award.  In addition, he holds a Guest Professorship at Tianjin University. For more information, please see the links below:

ChemTract Brochure

View James Balkovec's profile on LinkedIn

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