About Us

Our Foundation

Neurogastrx was founded to address unmet needs of functional and motility gastrointestinal (GI) disorders, which are disorders of GI function, affecting gut contractions, sensation and the brain-gut axis.

Functional bowel disorders present a major health problem in the United States. Upper gastrointestinal dysmotility, irritable bowel syndrome, and constipation each represent multi-billion dollar markets: 2 percent of Americans (>5 million) report having irritable bowel syndrome; constipation affects another 3 percent of the general population; 14 percent of the US population reports reflux symptoms on a weekly basis; and 20 percent of diabetic patients have Gastroparesis. Gastroparesis is also prominent in other patient populations such as Parkinson’s disease where it affects the pharmacokinetics as well as the overall bioavailability of therapies for the treatment of motor symptoms (levodopa).

Despite their widespread prevalence, there are only a few approved prescription drugs available for this group of disorders, all of which are either not target-based or come at the cost of serious side-effects such as metoclopramide (Reglan) or domperidone (Motilium).

Management Team & Board of Directors

Baxter Phillips III

Baxter Phillips III

President and Chief Executive Officer

Mr. Phillips has 20 years of executive experience and a record of success in leading multinational corporate strategy efforts and structuring, negotiating, and executing financings, strategic alliances, licenses and collaborations in the biotechnology and pharmaceutical industry. Most recently, Mr. Phillips was the Chief Business Officer of AmpliPhi Biosciences (NYSE: APHB) where he played a pivotal role in establishing the Company’s ex-US manufacturing facility, led multiple financing campaigns and navigated the company to its recent NYSE listing. Prior to AmpliPhi, Mr. Phillips’ leadership appointments included Depomed (NASDAQ: DEPO), where he was responsible for licensing the company’s product portfolio of development-stage and marketed products on a global basis and Osteologix, where he successfully concluded a global licensing transaction with a multinational pharmaceutical company. Mr. Phillips began his career as a Research Scientist with Insmed, Inc. (NASDAQ: INSM) where for ten years he held a range of leadership positions in research, licensing, finance, investor relations, and sales and marketing. He earned his MBA from the College of William and Mary and his Bachelor of Science in Biology from Hampden-Sydney College.

Cyril De Colle

Cyril De Colle, PhD

Chief Scientific Officer

Cyril De Colle, Ph.D. is a Neurogastrx Founder and Chief Scientific Officer. Dr. De Colle has nearly 20 years of experience as a successful pharmaceutical scientist leading multiple discovery stage programs through IND submission and into clinical trials. Prior to Neurogastrx, Dr. De Colle served as Vice President of Neuroscience at Kinemed, where he led the neuroscience division advising multiple global and venture backed pharmaceutical companies on drug development programs. Prior to Kinemed, Dr. De Colle managed and led clinical stage programs targeting neurological disorders at Jazz Pharmaceuticals (Nasdaq: JAZZ). Dr. De Colle has also served as a Senior Research Scientist at several international pharmaceutical companies including Amgen (Nasdaq: AMGN) and Roche where he successfully led neurodegenerative and neuropsychiatric programs from discovery stage into clinical trials. Dr. De Colle began his research career at Parke-Davis (Pfizer). Dr. De Colle received his Ph.D. in neurobiological systems from University of Montpellier in France.

Pankaj "Jay" Pasricha

Pankaj Jay Pasricha, MD

Chief Medical Officer

Dr. Pasricha is a Professor of Medicine and Neurosciences in the School of Medicine at Johns Hopkins and Professor of Innovation Management at the Johns Hopkins Carey School of Medicine and currently serves as Neurogastrx acting Chief Medical Officer. He has served as Director of Gastroenterology at three major academic centers (UTMB, Stanford, Hopkins/Bayview) and is currently the Director of the Johns Hopkins Center for Neurogastroenterology as well as the newly created Food, Body and Mind Center. He is also currently the chair of the NIH-funded multi-center gastroparesis consortium.

Dr. Pasricha has authored nearly 300 manuscripts and book chapters and has been the senior editorial advisor for Digestive Diseases and Sciences and has served as Associate Editor for Gastroenterology, Associate Editor for the Journal of Pediatric Gastroenterology and Nutrition and Associate Editor for Gastrointestinal Endoscopy He served on the National Commission on Digestive Diseases, appointed by the Congress to provide a "roadmap" for progress in gastrointestinal disorders. Additionally, Dr. Pasricha served on the FDA GI Drug Advisory Committee for four years.

He also is a consultant for numerous biomedical device and drug companies in gastroenterology and endoscopy. Dr. Pasricha holds more than 45 patents issued by the USPTO and has co-founded several companies within both the medtech and biotech GI space including Apollo Endosurgery. He received his M.D. degree from the All-India Institute of Medical Sciences, New Delhi in 1982 and trained in Gastroenterology at Johns Hopkins Hospital.

Thadd Vargas

Thadd Vargas

Director of the Board

Thadd Vargas has had a 25 year career in the Biotech and Specialty Pharma businesses. Currently, Thadd serves as senior vice president of Business Development at Depomed inc. where he began in 2002. At Depomed, Thadd has been instrumental in the transformation of Depomed from a small Drug Delivery startup, to a highly profitable mid-cap Specialty Pharma company. Along the way he has executed 25 out license deals, bringing in over $750M in license fees and revenue, and acquired 4 products, valued at over $1.1 billion.

Prior to Depomed, Thadd held the positions of vice president, Finance, at Worldres.com, Inc., director of Finance at Kosan Biosciences, Inc., and director of Business Development, Finance, and Information Technology at Anergen, Inc. Earlier in his career, Thadd was a member of Ernst & Young¹s biotech audit practice, with clients such Cetus and Chiron. Mr. Vargas received a B.A. degree in Business Economics from the University of California, Santa Barbara.

Willie Quinn

Willie Quinn

Director of the Board

Willie Quinn is CEO of Bullet Bio, a company developing immunotherapies for cancer. Prior to co-founding Bullet Bio in 2011, Willie was one of the first employees at Jazz Pharmaceuticals, where he worked for more than 8 years. As head of Corporate Development his role included strategy development and execution, helping Jazz transform from a raw startup to a public, profitable specialty pharma company. Before Jazz, Willie was CFO and COO at Novation Biosciences, a biotech software company acquired by Agilent Technologies.

Willie has a passion for translational research and medicine. He enjoys working with fellow entrepreneurs and has served as an Advisor for Stanford’s SPARK Program and UCSF’s T1 Catalyst Program. He is also Director & Treasurer for A Foundation Building Strength, a non-profit finding treatments for Nemaline Myopathy, a genetic muscle disorder.

Willie received an MBA, an MA, and a BA from Stanford University.