Orphagen Team 

We are committed to the pursuit of new medical therapies for cancer and other serious diseases


Scott Thacher, Ph.D., Founder and CEO of Orphagen Pharmaceuticals

With over 30 years of expertise in life sciences research and pharmaceutical R&D, Scott Thacher is Orphagen Pharmaceuticals’ founder and visionary. Under his leadership, the company has pioneered first-in-class development programs for orphan and underexplored nuclear receptors. Going forward, Scott is focused on moving Orphagen’s lead candidate, the antagonist OR-449 for steroidogenic factor-1 (SF-1), into Phase 1 clinical trials for adrenocortical carcinoma (ACC) and other expansion indications in oncology.

Other key Orphagen developments under Scott’s leadership include characterization of innovative selective antagonists to a retinoid receptor subtype, showing promise in inflammatory bowel disease; and the trailblazing ROR-gamma antagonist program in autoimmune disease, partnered with industry in 2008.

Prior to Orphagen, Scott directed dermatology and metabolic disease programs at Allergan (now AbbVie), contributing to the NDA filing for Tazorac®. He holds a Ph.D. in Biophysics from Harvard, a B.S. in Physics from Stanford, and was on the biochemistry faculty at Texas A&M College of Medicine.

An author of 30+ publications and locally recognized biopharma leader, Scott also co-founded the San Diego Entrepreneurs Exchange. He has secured 20+ NIH/SBIR and other grants, creating a foundation for Orphagen’s innovative drug discovery.


Paul Crowe, Ph.D., Vice President of Drug Discovery

At Orphagen since 2008, Paul Crowe guides discovery research and preclinical development activities for programs at Orphagen, including in vitro and in vivo pharmacology, ADME-PK, and nonclinical safety for the SF-1 antagonist OR-449.

Paul brings a wealth of experience from his tenure as Senior Director of Pharmacology and Lead Discovery at Neurocrine Biosciences. There, he managed drug discovery programs in CNS, autoimmunity, and metabolic disease, and led a research collaboration with Janssen Pharmaceuticals focusing on CRF receptor antagonists. Paul holds a Ph.D. in Pharmacology and Therapeutics from the University of South Florida, was a research Assistant Professor at U.C. Riverside, and brings deep knowledge and commitment to innovative pharmacological research at Orphagen.


Neil Raheja, Ph.D., Director of Chemistry

Recognized for his creative spark as a chemist, Neil has been instrumental in designing new nuclear receptor-focused compounds for potential therapeutic exploration by Orphagen including the retinoid receptor antagonist OR-812 and the SF-1 antagonist OR-449, now designated for development in oncology.

Before joining Orphagen, Neil Raheja was a Group Leader of Chemistry at Celgene San Diego, spearheading multiple oncology and inflammation programs. His extensive experience includes roles at Pfizer, where he led and advanced 10 programs into clinical development across Oncology, Inflammation, and Dermatology. Neil earned his Ph.D. in Organic Chemistry from Prof. Carl Johnson and was an NIH Postdoctoral Fellowship under Prof. Ralph Hirschmann and Prof. Amos Smith III at The University of Pennsylvania. Neil is also a co-founder of January Therapeutics and Venquis Therapeutics.

Michael Wood, MBA, Business Advisor

Mike is a business advisor, biotech entrepreneur, and former COO and CFO with a successful track record of fundraising, building teams, leading and scaling company operations, and pharmaceutical business development. He was co-founder, COO, and CFO of OncoMyx, an oncolytic immunotherapy biotech that raised $75 M. He earned his MBA at the University of Chicago and a BS in molecular and cell biology at the University of California, Berkeley.

Scientific Advisors

Len Post, Ph.D., Orphagen Board Member since 2007

Dr. Len Post is Chief Scientific Officer at Vivace & Virtuoso Therapeutics and Executive in Residence at Canaan Ventures. Len was previously CSO at BioMarin., joining after the acquisition of LEAD Therapeutics. He played a pivotal role in the discovery and development of Talzenna (talazoparib), a groundbreaking anti-cancer agent, at both companies. Earlier, he spearheaded the development of Nexavar (sorafenib) at Onyx Pharmaceuticals. Len was previously VP of discovery research at Parke-Davis in Ann Arbor. He holds a Ph.D. in biochemistry from the University of Wisconsin.

Gary D. Hammer, MD, PhD, Senior Advisor

Dr. Gary Hammer is the Schembechler Professor of Adrenal Cancer and Director of Endocrine Oncology at the University of Michigan and a trailblazer in the pursuit of cutting-edge therapies for ACC, both in the clinic and in new company formation. His publications on SF-1 function and the genomics of ACC have illuminated our understanding of adrenal cancer. Dr. Hammer previously served as the President of the Endocrine Society.

Bob Stagg, PharmD, Clinical Research

Bob Stagg, a consulting Director of Clinical Research, was previously the Senior Vice President of Clinical Research at OncoMed. Bob’s leadership and strategic acumen have played pivotal roles in the development of innovative therapies. As Clinical Lead and Medical Monitor at Genentech, he oversaw the groundbreaking Phase 1 clinical trial of Herceptin. This pivotal trial laid the foundation for a transformative therapy that has since revolutionized the treatment of multiple cancers.

Mouhammed Habra, MD, Clinical Advisor

Mouhammed A. Habra, MD is Professor, Department of Endocrine Neoplasia and Hormonal Disorders and Chief, Section of Endocrine Neoplasia, Division of Internal Medicine, MD Anderson Cancer Center, Houston, Texas. Dr. Habra’s research interests include clinical and molecular studies of benign and malignant adrenal tumors including adrenocortical carcinoma, adrenal adenomas, and pheochromocytoma, novel markers and therapeutic targets in adrenal tumors, and new treatments of endocrine malignancies including thyroid carcinoma and adrenocortical carcinoma.

Casey T. Weaver, MD

Casey T. Weaver, M.D., is a member of the National Academy of Sciences and the Wyatt and Susan Haskell Endowed Chair of Medical Excellence, Departments of Pathology, Medicine and Microbiology at the University of Alabama at Birmingham Heersink School of Medicine. Dr. Weaver is an immunologist who studies the development and function of CD4 T cells. He is best known for his contributions in defining the Th17 subset and its function in host defense and immune-mediated disease of the intestines. He has served as an advisor to Orphagen since August 2009.