New Therapeutics Leadership

Mark Namchuk is an accomplished scientist, pharma R&D executive

Mark Namchuk in suit and tie against a gray backdrop
Mark Namchuk

Harvard Medical School has named Mark Namchuk, PhD, a former pharmaceutical R&D executive with a background in immunology and bioorganic chemistry, as executive director of therapeutics translation. Namchuk, who joins Harvard Medical School from Alkermes, will assume his role on Jan. 2.

In this newly created position, Namchuk will oversee Harvard Medical School’s recently launched Therapeutics Initiative, dedicated to optimizing and enabling the current ecosystem of discovery at the school to harness basic insights into clinical therapies. The initiative is designed to fuel and enhance Harvard Medical School’s traditional strength in fundamental discovery of the basic mechanisms of biology and disease toward transformative new treatments.

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Namchuk will focus on establishing the critical infrastructure required to advance the school’s basic discoveries along a trajectory while training the next generation of therapeutics investigators. More broadly, the Therapeutics Initiative will foster a culture dedicated to education, innovation, collaboration, scientific discovery, translation, professional development and service to humanity.

“Harvard Medical School is privileged to be able to recruit someone with the depth and breadth of Mark’s industry expertise,” said Harvard Medical School Dean George Q. Daley, MD, PhD. “I believe his arrival will invigorate the translational research efforts across our community, encompassing researchers in the Blavatnik Institute on the Harvard Medical School campus and at our 15 affiliated hospitals and research institutions.”

Namchuk has been a leader in innovative drug discovery and development for more than 20 years. He has worked on research and development programs spanning a number of therapeutic areas, including cancer, immune modulation, infectious diseases, multiple sclerosis, depression, schizophrenia, pain and cystic fibrosis. He has directed research efforts leading to 25 drug candidates in eight therapeutic areas. 

Namchuk comes to this new position from Alkermes, where he served as senior vice president of research and pharmaceuticals and nonclinical development since 2015. Prior to that, he spent 17 years at Vertex Pharmaceuticals, most recently as senior vice president and interim global head of research and North American head of research. He holds a doctorate in bioorganic chemistry from the University of British Columbia and completed his postdoctoral work in immunology at the University of California, San Francisco.

“I am honored to join the Harvard Medical School community and excited about the enormous potential of the Therapeutics Initiative,” said Namchuk. “Our goal will be to help shepherd more of the world-class science at Harvard Medical School toward translational tools and medicines, while weaving these inventions into the scientific and educational mission of the school.”