Neurologist, Neuroscientist, Drug Developer, Inventor and Biotech Science Advisor
Ajay Verma is a neurologist, neuroscientist, drug developer, inventor and biotech science advisor. His career spans clinical practice as a general neurologist, teaching and research in academia, and drug development in large and small biopharma.
Ajay is currently a General Partner with the Formation Venture Engineering (FVE) life science investment group in Boston, MA. He is also the Chief Executive Officer of the FVE Foundry, which is a new life science Incubator affiliated with FVE focused on evaluating game changing technologies for potential Biotech company formation.
Ajay has a been in the Biopharma industry for over 16 years and most recently headed R&D efforts at Yumanity Therapeutics. Prior to that he was the EVP of Research and Experimental Medicine at Codiak Biosciences. He has also served as CMO at United Neuroscience (now called Vaxxinity), VP of Neurology at Biogen and Novartis, and Director of Neuroscience Experimental Medicine at Merck. Ajay has assembled and led multiple clinical development groups and teams in large Pharma where he helped shape Neurology disease area focus. He has been in charge of shaping company-wide strategy and managing drug pipeline execution in smaller biotech companies.
His drug development experience spans small molecule, peptide/protein, antibody, oligonucleotide, vaccine and exosome drug platforms given via multiple dosing routes. He has largely focused on translational and early clinical development in neurology indications using precision drug development approaches that leverage biomarkers and experimental medicine paradigms. Ajay has considerable expertise in using biomarker technologies for drug development efforts including imaging techniques (MRI, PET, SPECT), electrophysiology (EEG, polysomnography, EMG), biofluid analytes (Blood CSF), digital biomarkers (cognitive, motor), tissue biopsy and multi-omics approaches. He has experience in drug delivery approaches through multiple dosing routes including intrathecal administration.
Ajay’s industry efforts have contributed to multiple clinical development programs in diseases including Alzheimer’s, Parkinson’s, multiple sclerosis, ALS, spinal muscular atrophy, stroke, migraine, neuropathic pain, sleep disorders, muscular dystrophy, sickle cell disease, glioblastoma, and leptomeningeal cancer. He has developed novel inventions and experimental medicine approaches for assessing disease progression and drug effects in cognition, sleep, neuropathic pain, remyelination, muscle weakness,
and movement disorder. He has made contributions to many drug candidates still in clinical development and the approved drugs Aduhelm® and Spinraza®.
He has continuously been engaged in teaching and mentoring clinicians and scientists entering the Biopharma industry including the creation of a teaching fellowship for drug developers at Biogen. Ajay is a scientific advisor to several biomarker, CRO and biotech companies, a Visiting Adjunct Professor at U of Southampton and U of Rhode Island and an Independent Review Committee member for Target ALS.
Prior to Biopharma, Ajay was a Lt. Colonel in the U.S. Army, Professor of Neurology at the Uniformed Services University of the Health Sciences, and Staff Neurologist at the Walter Reed Army Medical Center. This military experience exposed him not only to general adult and childhood neurology but also to traumatic brain injury and other combat medicine clinical problems. While in uniform, Ajay maintained a constant track record of extramural research funding, scientific publication and mentoring of medical students, graduate Ph.D. candidates and post-doctoral fellows.
Ajay received his M.D. and Ph.D. degrees from Johns Hopkins University, where he trained in the laboratory of Dr. Solomon H. Snyder. His Ph.D. graduate thesis work in Neurotoxicology spanned intracellular calcium regulation, mitochondrial biology and gaseous neurotransmitters. Ajay’s academic research has led to several highly cited publications.