With more than 25 years of pharmaceutical R&D experience, Catherine Strader has expertise ranging from the selection of molecular targets through clinical proof of concept. She has held executive leadership positions at both Merck and Schering-Plough, and has guided more than 50 compounds through drug discovery and development. Catherine currently consults with biopharmaceutical and venture-backed companies on both the strategic and technical aspects of building and maintaining a pipeline, including translation of compounds through discovery and early development, realization of an appropriate risk profile for the portfolio, and design of productive multi-partner collaborations.
Catherine began her career at Merck, where she led the team that first defined the structure-function of G-protein coupled receptors, facilitating the emergence of this field of molecular drug discovery and collaborating globally on the discovery of Emend®, Maxalt® and other GPCR-directed therapies to enhance the company’s pipeline.
As executive vice president of Discovery Research and Chief Scientific Officer for Schering-Plough, Catherine had both strategic and operational responsibility for the company’s global small molecule and biologics discovery research portfolio. During this time, Catherine and her team initiated many of the programs that currently populate the Merck portfolio, including the BACE inhibitor for Alzheimer’s and Zontivity® for cardiovascular disease, as well as providing early development guidance for programs ranging from biologics for inflammation to Victrelis® for HCV infection.
Catherine returned to Merck in 2007 to lead an external research initiative, with responsibility for developing and implementing an integrated strategy for building Merck’s early pipeline using external sources of innovation. This endeavor, integrating large pharma, biotech and CRO approaches to drug discovery, progressed from initial “virtual lab” design to achievement of Merck’s first externally discovered development candidate within two years. After the merger between Merck and Schering-Plough, Catherine led Merck’s large NJ discovery research sites, with accountability for delivering the research portfolio from these areas.
Catherine holds a Ph.D. in Chemistry from the California Institute of Technology and a BS in Chemistry from the University of Virginia, followed by postdoctoral training in the Lefkowitz lab at Duke. She is the author of more than 150 scientific publications.