The mission is to drive innovation and drug discovery research for skeletal muscle diseases and disorders to accelerate the development of therapeutics for patients with debilitating and life threatening conditions.
The strategy is to identify early phase, novel, and promising myotropic therapeutics, and to partner with pharmaceutical and biotechnology companies, academic institutions, non-profit organizations, and venture capitalists to expeditiously move these opportunities through drug discovery and development. MyoThera also conducts internal drug discovery research, and serves as a resource to other companies and institutions through scientific consulting services.
Ira J. Smith, Ph.D. founded Myotropic Therapeutics to address urgent unmet medical needs for skeletal muscle diseases and disorders. He has more than twelve years of preclinical and basic research experience investigating skeletal muscle wasting and weakness, and seven years of pharmaceutical industry experience leading discovery research, innovation scouting, and strategic alliances.
Prior to launching MyoThera, Dr. Smith successfully identified and led strategic partnerships which identified novel uses of existing drugs for several distinct muscle wasting and weakness conditions.
Prior to this, Dr. Smith played a key role in establishing and leading Rigel Pharmaceuticals' preclinical Muscle Biology Program. In this role he served as IACUC Principal Investigator, led teams in establishing numerous preclinical disease models and in vivo and ex vivo muscle contractility assays, and led a preclinical team which collaboratively discovered efficacy of a Rigel JAK1/3 inhibitor in mechanical ventilation induced diaphragm atrophy and weakness.
Before joining Rigel, Dr. Smith completed postdoctoral training at Harvard Medical School/Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center where he studied sepsis-mediated skeletal muscle wasting and weakness. He also completed a Postdoctoral Fellowship at Duke University Medical Center, investigating the role of cellular and molecular adaptations in skeletal muscle in insulin resistance.
From 2009 to 2016 Dr. Smith served in the U.S. Army Reserve as a Biochemist/Physiologist (71B). In this role he developed a preclinical model which simulates a specific battlefield injury, and was also recognized for outstanding performance as a Field Assistance in Science and Technology (FAST) team member. He was selected for promotion to Major prior to resigning in 2016.
Dr. Smith holds a Ph.D. in Applied Physiology from the University of Florida. As a graduate student at UF he earned a Predoctoral Fellowship from the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) to investigate interactions between key proteolytic pathways during muscle wasting.
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