Dr. James M. Balkovec is a pharmaceutical industry consultant with over 30 years of experience in drug discovery. Jim has a strong background in organic, medicinal and natural products chemistry, and scientific program management. He has led multidisciplinary teams in multiple therapeutic areas. His contributions in the infectious disease, diabetes, obesity, metabolic syndrome, inflammatory, and thrombosis disease areas have resulted in more than a dozen development candidates and 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) currently in clinical development to treat VVC and serious fungal infections. He also contributed to the development of rezafungin, a once-weekly echinocandin in Phase 3 for IFIs. Dr. Balkovec has received several prestigious awards including the American Chemical Society’s Heroes of Chemistry, the Thomas Alva Edison and 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.
Most recently, Dr. Balkovec has served as Senior Scientific Advisor at Cidara Therapeutics, Key Advisor at Bryologyx and Scientific Advisor at Sunnylife Pharma. 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.