Kalpana Merchant, PhD, is a neurobiologist who has led and contributed to the discovery and development of drugs for neurological and psychiatric disorders for nearly 30 years.
Currently, Dr. Merchant serves as the Founder, President, and CSO of TransThera Consulting Co., which provides strategic and scientific guidance on drug discovery and translational strategies to biotech start-ups. From 2016 to 2020, she served as the President and Chief Executive Officer of Chaperone Therapeutics and then the Chief Scientific Officer of Vincere Biosciences, two early-stage companies developing drugs to slow the progression of Huntington’s and Parkinson’s disease. Prior to those roles, Dr. Merchant spent over 20 years contributing to and leading drug discovery efforts, first at Pharmacia Corp./Pfizer and then at Eli Lilly & Co. She retired from Lilly in 2014 where she was Chief Scientific Officer, Tailored Therapeutics-Neuroscience, accountable for strategies to enable biomarker-informed personalized therapies, and had previously served as the Chief Scientific Officer of Translational Sciences and Technologies, where she implemented translational approaches to improve the success rate of drug development.
Dr. Merchant has co-authored over 80 peer-reviewed publications, edited a book and is a co-inventor on 13 published patents. She is also an adjunct professor of neurology at Northwestern University, a senior advisor to the Michael J Fox Foundation, and a member of the Oregon Innovation Council.
Dr. Merchant received her PhD in neuropharmacology from the University of Utah, and completed postdoctoral training at University of Washington.