Joel Barrish

Joel Barrish

CEO and President

Joel Barrish is currently CEO, President and Director of Avilar Therapeutics and a Venture Partner at RA Capital focusing on new company creation. Prior to joining Avilar and RA, Joel was co-founder, President and CSO at Jnana Therapeutics, a clinical-stage, small molecule platform company focused on unlocking hard-to-drug targets in immunology and oncology, as well as rare diseases such as PKU.

His first role in biotech was as EVP and CSO at Achillion Pharmaceuticals, where he led research efforts on Factor D inhibitors leading to the discovery ofvemircopan in hematology and nephrology. Most of Joel’s career was spent as a medicinal chemist in pharma, where he capped a 28-year career at BMS by spending the last five years as VP and Global Head of Discovery Chemistry. During his time there, Joel led teams responsible for advancing more than 50 compounds into clinical development. In particular, he and his colleagues made notable advances in kinase inhibitor drug discovery, especially in oncology and immunology, leading to the discovery of SPRYCEL® (dasatinib) in CML which he co-invented, as well as SOTYKTU® (deucravacitinib) for the treatment of autoimmune diseases.  Joel was also a key contributor to endothelin receptor research and was instrumental in developing the dual-acting endothelin angiotensin receptor antagonist (DARA) concept which resulted in FILSPARI® (sparsentan) for the treatment of IgA Nephropathy.  He is a co-author on over 140 publications and co-inventor on 40 issued U.S. patents. Prior to BMS, he was a research scientist at Hoffmann La-Roche.

In addition to Avilar, Joel also serves on the Board of Adcendo, an ADC therapeutics company, and is a member of the Scientific Advisory Boards of Jnana Therapeutics, Nimble Therapeutics, and Kojin Therapeutics. He received his doctorate in Organic Chemistry from Columbia University and his bachelor’s degree in Chemistry from the University of Pennsylvania.

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