Dr James Janetka
Co-Editor-in-Chief: Dr. Jim Janetka
Dr. Janetka is an Associate Professor of Biochemistry and Molecular Biophysics, and an adjunct professor of Chemistry, and also a faculty member of the Center for Women’s Infectious Disease Research (cWIDR) and the Alvin J. Siteman Cancer Center (SCC) at the Washington University School of Medicine in St. Louis. He is co-founder of Fimbrion Therapeutics, Inc., a startup company focused on antivirulence strategies for infectious disease therapy. Dr. Janetka has been a professor at Washington University since 2009. He has authored 35 peer-reviewed research publications and review articles, of which 25 have been published since 2009. A goal of his research is the discovery and development of unique therapeutics for bacterial and parasitic infectious diseases, as well as cancer.
Dr. Janetka is an accomplished medicinal chemist with 20 years of drug discovery and development experience. Dr. Janetka earned a B.S. degree in Biochemistry from University of Illinois in Champaign-Urbana and a Ph.D. in Organic Chemistry at the University of Wisconsin in Madison, where he developed novel synthetic methodology and designed some of the first-generation HIV-protease inhibitors. He then completed his postdoctoral work at the National Institutes of Health working on non-morphinan δ-opioid ligands. He joined Vertex Pharmaceuticals in 1997 working on the design and synthesis of antivirals (HCV helicase and protease inhibitors) and ERK kinase inhibitors for the treatment of hepatitis C and cancer, respectively. Subsequently, at AstraZeneca he was a project leader in the development of multiple kinase inhibitors and SMO antagonists of the hedgehog pathway, both important clinical targets for cancer. Project teams under his leadership were responsible for the clinical development of two oncology drugs, the ERK kinase inhibitor BVD-523 (ulixertinib) while at Vertex, and the CHK cell cycle kinase inhibitor AZD7762 at AstraZeneca. He in an inventor on 18 US issued patents and over 40 PCT patent applications. Dr. Janetka’s current research is focused on developing peptide, glycoside and small molecule modulators targeting proteins and processes outside the cell. In one project, he is developing antivirulence compounds targeting bacterial lectins to treat infections and in another project he is developing inhibitors of growth-factor activating enzymes as a novel therapeutic strategy to treat cancer.