Leadership 2019-06-06T17:02:59-04:00

Leadership Team

Dr. Yacoub Habib, Ph.D., MBA, is the Chief Executive Officer for Ophidion, Inc. He has more than 25 years of senior executive experience in the pharmaceutical industry. Dr. Habib most recently served as Senior Vice President, Business Development and Corporate Planning at Trevena, where he was since July 2015. Previously, from 2009 to June 2015, he served as Vice President of Business Development at Ikaria, Inc. and led the business development strategy for the company until its acquisition by Mallinckrodt. From 2007 to 2009, he served as Executive Director of New Business Development for Pfizer Inc. Before joining Pfizer, Dr. Habib was Executive Director of Global Business Development for Organon Pharmaceuticals, a division of Akzo Nobel, where he was responsible for the identification, evaluation, and negotiation of in‑licensing, out‑licensing and divestiture opportunities in neuroscience, fertility, and women health. He started his career at Bristol‑Myers Squibb where he spent eleven years in various research, corporate, and business development roles including Director of  Business Development. Dr. Habib holds a Ph.D. in pharmaceutical sciences from the University of Maryland and an MBA with a major in finance and marketing from New York University, Stern School of Business.

Julie Miwa, Ph.D., is Ophidion’s founder and Chief Scientific Officer. Ophidion’s technology platform is based on Dr. Miwa’s science and understanding of complex neurobiological processes and how they are regulated through the cholinergic system. A key focus is on a class of modulators, lynx genes, which act as molecular brakes on the cholinergic system by binding to and inhibiting nicotinic acetylcholine receptors. Dr. Miwa uses a highly multidisciplinary approach through the generation of genetically engineered mouse lines and the characterization of such lines by electrophysiological, behavioral, biochemical and microscopic techniques. These investigations have been informative since the wide-spread cholinergic system is involved in many significant complex processes, but is suppressed under normal conditions by lynx proteins. Dr. Miwa has identified that genetic animals lacking lynx1 have enhanced learning, critical period plasticity, and many more pronounced phenotypes, and Ophidion is now actively commercializing these discoveries. Dr. Miwa earned her Ph.D. in Neuroscience at the Rockefeller University. She did postdoctoral work at the Rockefeller University, and was previously research faculty at Caltech.  Dr. Miwa is currently Assistant Professor at Lehigh University’s Department of Biological Sciences.

Dr. Greene is Chief Development Officer, and Chief Medical Officer & Senior Clinical Advisor of BusStim, LLC. He was the Executive Vice President, Chief Scientific Officer and Head of R&D at Ikaria from May 2010 to October 2015.   From 2003 to 2010 Dr Greene held positions Senior Vice President positions at Sanofi-Aventis as Senior Corporate Scientific Advisor, Chief Medical Officer of the US business, and Head of Corporate Regulatory Development. Dr Greene was Executive Vice President of Clinical Sciences and Product Development at Merck Research Laboratories and Corporate Officer of Merck, Inc., a global pharmaceutical company, from May 2000 to January 2003. Dr Greene also was a member of the US Food and Drug Administration’s Endocrinologic and Metabolic Drug Advisory Committee from 1988 to 1994, and acted as Chairman of the Advisory Committee from 1990 to 1994. From 1986 to 2000, Dr. Greene was Professor of Internal Medicine, Director of the Michigan Diabetes Research and Training Center, and Chief, Division of Endocrinology & Metabolism at the University of Michigan, School of Medicine. Dr Greene holds an MD from the Johns Hopkins School of Medicine and an AB from Princeton University.

Dr. MacNeil is the Vice-President for Pre-clinical Development at Ophidion, where he provides Pre-clinical Drug Discovery guidance for multiple programs.  He has developed a customized research plan for each project, from an initial lead to the selection of a Clinical Candidate.  He has provided guidance on how to use preclinical data to establish exposure goals and biomarkers for Ph 1a, single dose Proof of Biology; and Ph 1b/Ph 2 multi-dose proof of concept for each project.  His experience in assuring that molecules selected for development have the maximum window of efficacy over tolerability and safety, is invaluable in identifying the optimal development candidate.  In addition, his experience in evaluating, siRNA, peptides, and proteins in both in vitro and in vivo models increases the probability that pre-clinical efficacy of Ophidion projects will translate into predicted efficacy in patients.  He has also provided the optimal mix of internal and CRO resources to assure a time- and research-efficient plan from bench to the clinic.

Dr. MacNeil has extensive experience in Early Drug Discovery and Development at major pharmaceutical companies. During his research career he rose from a bench level scientist to Director of In Vitro Sciences where he was responsible for in vitro assay support to over 40 research programs, including small molecule, peptide, gene therapy and RNAi projects, at Merck’s NJ research sites. Notably he had oversight for multiple neurodegeneration projects for Alzheimer’s and Parkinson Disease. He has a proven record of delivering development compounds, including expertise in target identification, target validation, project support, and discovery team leadership. Dr. MacNeil initiated seven programs that delivered compounds for development; four achieved clinical proof of concept. He has deep capability in G-protein coupled receptors (GPCR), neuropeptides, energy homeostasis, neurodegeneration, and metabolic diseases and is an expert at optimizing internal and external in vitro assays to support Lead Identification and Lead Optimization.  Dr. MacNeil has managed international collaborations with partners in Japan, India, China, Germany and Denmark. He is recognized as an expert in cell-based assay development, assay validation, and CRO selection.

Dr. MacNeil holds M. Sc. and Ph. D. degrees in Bacteriology from the University of Wisconsin, and two B. Sc. Degrees from MIT in Chemistry and Life Sciences.  He completed additional short courses in various aspects of Drug Discovery while at Merck.  He has lectured on Early Drug discovery projects at multiple national and international conferences, has published over 90 publications, and is an inventor on 15 issued US patents.

Douglas is a member of several professional organizations, including the Adhesion GPCR Consortium, AAAS, New York Academy of Sciences, and the Society for Automation and Screening.  He is a volunteer with the Westfield Community Food Bank. He is a Trail Steward for the Union County Parks; a Citizen Science volunteer with NJ Audubon, a Christmas Bird Count Leader for the National Audubon Society, and a past coach with the Westfield Soccer Association.

Dr. Hulihan is the Vice-President for Clinical Development at Ophidion, with responsibility for research and development for all products and indications.  He has formulated clinical plans and provided guidance on overall program design, clinical protocol development and regulatory requirements for Ophidion programs. Dr. Hulihan has extensive experience in the design, execution and analysis of clinical trials and the development and commercialization of CNS products in a number of indications in neurology and psychiatry. He has the requisite experience to ensure the quality, efficiency and validity of clinical trials to ensure that the resulting data is the most meaningful for patients and clinicians.

Dr. Hulihan has 20 years of experience in clinical research and has worked in the development and implementation of clinical programs for companies ranging from large pharmaceutical companies to startup ventures. Prior to establishing a consulting practice focused on neuroscience drug development in 2015, Dr. Hulihan worked at Johnson & Johnson in R&D and medical affairs for 15 years. He was involved in drug development and post-approval medical support for numerous therapies in the areas of mental health and neurology, including depression, schizophrenia, ADHD, PTSD, bipolar disorder, alcohol dependence, migraine/pain medicine, epilepsy, movement disorders, sleep medicine, Alzheimer’s disease and neuromuscular disorders including ALS and diabetic neuropathy.

In 2015, he received a Master of Science degree in Health Policy from Thomas Jefferson University and is a member of professional societies in neuroscience, mental health, public health and health policy.  Dr. Hulihan received his Bachelor’s degree from Dickinson College in Carlisle, Pennsylvania.  He attended medical school at Drexel University School of Medicine and completed a neurology residency at Hahnemann Hospital in Philadelphia.  During the latter, he served as attending neurologist in clinics for epilepsy, ALS and Huntingdon’s Disease.  Following residency, he completed a clinical neurophysiology fellowship at Mayo Clinic and worked there as an associate consultant in the Department of Neurology.  Prior to joining Johnson & Johnson, Dr. Hulihan was Associate Professor of Neurology at Temple University School of Medicine, and Director of the EEG Laboratory and Clinical Neurophysiology fellowship program at Temple University Hospital.