Lex Van der Ploeg, Ph.D.
Dr. Van der Ploeg is an experienced biotechnology industry executive, scientist and entrepreneur with a track record of contributing both to the development of novel therapeutics, as well as successful M&A transactions. Over the past ten years, he has been instrumental in the development of Rhythm Pharmaceuticals’ setmelanotide, Motus Therapeutics’ relamorelin (acquired by Allergan in 2016), and DeuteRx’s DRX065 (currently being developed as PXL065 following its 2018 acquisition by Poxel). During this time, Dr. Van der Ploeg has also supported the sale of Deuteria Pharmaceuticals to Celgene. He previously served as the senior vice president of integrative medicine and translational sciences at Abraxis Bioscience, which was acquired by Celgene in 2010.
Earlier in his career, Dr. Van der Ploeg spent more than a decade with Merck. During his tenure, he established and grew the Merck Boston research laboratories to more than 300 scientists focused in the areas of oncology and neuroscience. He was also responsible for the discovery of the growth-hormone secretagogue (ghrelin) receptor and contributed to the discovery of the target for ivermectin and the development of vorinostat.
In 2019, Dr. Van der Ploeg founded RIFFIT, an education technology company aimed at developing digital therapeutics to enable learning for children and adults, with diverse neurological conditions. He currently serves as the chairman and chief scientific officer for RIFFIT. Additional current roles include senior advisor to Inkef Capital, member of the board and advisor to DeuteRx, consultant to Rhythm Pharmaceuticals, advisor to IRIS kinetics, and scientific advisor to Retrotope. Prior to joining the industry, Dr. Van der Ploeg was a tenured faculty member at Columbia University in genetics and development working on infectious diseases.