Mental Health R&D: A Global Priority

October 10, 2022

In commemorating World Mental Health Day on October 10th, we are proud to have hosted the virtual event, “Mental Health R&D: A Global Priority,” gathering some of the world’s leading researchers, drug developers, and clinicians to critically examine the state of treatment, and better align our R&D efforts to the WHO’s initiative in Making Mental Health & Well-Being for All a Global Priority.

This is the 11th episode of our WuXi AppTec’s “Collaborations That Transform” series highlighting the importance of working collaboratively to solve industry-wide problems so that we can bring transformational medicines faster to patients. In this spirit, we’ve hosted a series of events this year, including WuXi Global Forum 2022, WuXi Healthcare Forum 2022, Rising to the Challenge: Healthy Aging Forum 2022, Fragile X Syndrome: Innovative Approaches to Finding a Cure, and Moving the Needle on ALS & Neuromuscular Disorders.

To view the on-demand videos of each session, please visit our YouTube channel.

Special thanks to our distinguished global leaders who spoke at this event, and our supportive partners.

Please follow us on Twitter and LinkedIn, and visit our WXPress website to stay up-to-date on upcoming WuXi AppTec news and events.


8:00 AM


Hui Cai, Program Chair, VP and Head of Content, WuXi AppTec

8:05 AM

Urgent Attention to Address Mental Health

Cara Altimus, Senior Director, Center for Strategic Philanthropy, Milken Institute
Daniel Fung, CEO, Institute of Mental Health in Singapore
John Krystal, Chair, Department of Psychiatry; Robert L. McNeil, Jr. Professor of Translational Research, Yale University

8:35 AM

Latest Therapeutic Developments in Mental Health

John Dunlop, Head of Research & Development, Neumora
Murali Gopalakrishnan, Global Head, Neuroscience Search & Evaluation, Corporate Strategy Office, AbbVie
Barry Greene, CEO and Member of Board of Directors, Sage Therapeutics
Ekaterina Malievskaia, Co-Founder & Chief Innovation Officer, COMPASS Pathways
Brigitte (Bigs) Robertson, CMO, Delix Therapeutics
Moderator: Lauren Martz, Executive Director, Biopharma Intelligence, BioCentury

9:25 AM

Challenges and Opportunities towards the Future of Mental Health Care

Ben Robbins, General Partner, GV
Daphne Zohar, Founder & CEO, PureTech Health

9:45 AM

Closing Remarks

Richard Soll, Head of Boston Office and Senior Advisor of Strategic Initiatives, WuXi AppTec


Hui Cai

Program Chair, VP and Head of Content, WuXi AppTec

Dr. Hui Cai joined WuXi AppTec in 2009 as Vice President of Business Development, and is currently Vice President and Head of Content Division.

Prior to WuXi, Dr. Cai spent 10 years at Johnson & Johnson Pharmaceutical Research and Development leading multiple drug discovery programs in the therapeutic areas of inflammation and autoimmune diseases. She is a co-author and co-inventor to over 50 scientific publications and issued or pending patents. Dr. Cai is a Councilor of the American Chemical Society (ACS), a member of BayHelix, and a member of the UCSD Alumni Board. In her past capacity, she served as a Commissioner at the City of San Diego Science and Technology Commission, Chair of SABPA, and President of SDCA. Dr. Cai received her BS and MS in Chemistry from Peking University, PhD from The Scripps Research Institute, and MBA from UCSD Rady School of Management as a DLA Piper – Athena Scholar.

Cara Altimus

Senior Director, Center for Strategic Philanthropy, Milken Institute

Cara Altimus, PhD is a senior director at the Milken Institute Center for Strategic Philanthropy where she leads the Center’s biomedical philanthropy portfolio. A PhD neuroscientist, Altimus advises individual philanthropists and foundations on the state of research for various areas including neurodegenerative disease and mental health to identify opportunities where their capital can make the biggest impact. With more than a decade of experience in neuroscience research, including neurological devices, psychiatric illness, learning, and memory, as well as sleep and circadian rhythms, Altimus has led Center projects ranging from the development of a philanthropic drug development program for neurodegenerative disease to a large patient-perspectives study for depression and bipolar research. Prior to joining the Institute, Altimus worked at the Food and Drug Administration leading the Neural Interfaces Laboratory, which evaluates the safety and effectiveness of electrical stimulation methods in the brain. In addition to her research experience, she serves as the chair for the Trainee Advisory Committee for the Society for Neuroscience, is an advisor to the Ontario Brain Institute, and spent a year as an AAAS Science and Technology Policy Fellow developing a neuroscience research portfolio at the Department of Justice. Altimus holds a bachelor's degree in genetics from the University of Georgia and a doctorate in biology from Johns Hopkins University. She works at the Institute's Washington office.

Daniel Fung

CEO, Institute of Mental Health in Singapore

Dr. Daniel Fung is the CEO of the Institute of Mental Health in Singapore. He is an Adjunct Associate Professor at all 3 Singapore medical schools. Dr. Fung is the President of the International Association for Child and Adolescent Psychiatry and Allied Professions and President of the College of Psychiatrists, Academy of Medicine, Singapore. Dr. Fung has co-authored over 200 peer reviewed research papers, books and book chapters.

John Krystal

Chair, Department of Psychiatry; Robert L. McNeil, Jr. Professor of Translational Research, Yale University

Dr. Krystal is the Robert L. McNeil, Jr., Professor of Translational Research; Professor of Psychiatry, Neuroscience, and Psychology; Chair of the Department of Psychiatry at Yale University; and Chief of Psychiatry and Behavioral Health at Yale-New Haven Hospital. He is a graduate of the University of Chicago, Yale School of Medicine, and the Yale Psychiatry Residency Training Program. He has published extensively on the neurobiology and treatment of schizophrenia, alcoholism, PTSD, and depression. Notably, his laboratory discovered the rapid antidepressant effects of ketamine in humans. He directs/co-directs the Yale Center for Clinical Investigation (CTSA), NIAAA Center for the Translational Neuroscience of Alcoholism, and Clinical Neuroscience Division of the National Center for PTSD (VA). Dr. Krystal is a member of the U.S. National Academy of Medicine; co-director of the Neuroscience Forum of the U.S. National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine; Fellow of the American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS); and editor of Biological Psychiatry (IF=12.8). He chaired the NIMH Board of Scientific Counselors and has served as a member of the NIMH National Mental Health Advisory Council and the NIAAA National Alcohol Advisory Council. He is past president of the American College of Neuropsychopharmacology (ACNP) and the International College of Neuropsychopharmacology (CINP). He is a co-founder and Chief Scientific Advisor for Freedom Biosciences and he serves in other industry advisory capacities.

John Dunlop

Head of Research & Development, Neumora

John Dunlop is head of Research and Development at Neumora, a company recently launched to pioneer an innovative approach to precision medicines for brain diseases. Prior to Neumora, John was at Amgen, where he led the neuroscience research program responsible for therapeutic discovery activities in neurodegenerative diseases, pain and migraine. Prior to Amgen, he led neuroscience discovery and early development at AstraZeneca and previously held executive leadership roles in neuroscience at Wyeth and Pfizer.

John is an industry member of the HEAL (Helping End Addiction Long term) Partnership Committee, an NIH advisory committee established to support NIH initiatives launched to address the nation’s opioid crisis. He is a board member of Target-ALS, a non-profit enterprise dedicated to accelerating drug discovery and development in ALS, and the Massachusetts Biotechnology Council (MassBio), and is on the scientific advisory boards of Vigil Neuroscience and the Packard Center for ALS Research at Johns Hopkins.

John holds a B.Sc. in biochemistry from the University of Glasgow and a Ph.D. in neuroscience from the University of St. Andrews.

Murali Gopalakrishnan

Global Head, Neuroscience Search & Evaluation, Corporate Strategy Office, AbbVie

Murali Gopalakrishnan is currently Global Head, Search & Evaluation-Neuroscience in the Corporate Strategy Office at AbbVie, North Chicago, Illinois, USA.

In prior roles, Murali held various positions of increasing responsibility at Abbott / AbbVie leading research programs across multiple therapeutic areas including neuroscience, pain, nephrology and urology, and delivering multiple clinical candidates to the R&D pipeline. At Abbott, Murali has also served as the Head of the Global External Research group, with responsibility for creating and leading a Discovery-focused external innovation team focused on the establishment of partnerships on emerging science, targets, technologies and preclinical assets. Subsequently, he assumed responsibility for the growth and leadership of AbbVie China R&D Center in Shanghai, and subsequently led the Renal Therapeutic Area as Discovery Head, across sites in Chicago & Shanghai, and via a network of external partnerships. More recently, he has taken on a leadership position within AbbVie’s Search & Evaluation team as Global Head, Search & Evaluation in Neuroscience with responsibilities for sourcing and enabling external partnerships.

Murali obtained his undergraduate degree in Pharmacy (B. Pharm) from Banaras Hindu University, India, PhD in Pharmacology from School of Pharmacy, University at Buffalo, New York, and subsequently completed his post-doctoral training and MBA degree. He has published over 150 papers including review articles and contributed to 15 US patents.

Barry Greene

CEO and Member of Board of Directors, Sage Therapeutics

Barry E. Greene joined Sage as CEO in December of 2020, bringing more than 30 years of biopharmaceutical industry experience to this position. He previously joined the Sage Board of Directors in October of 2020. Prior to Sage, he served as president of Alnylam Pharmaceuticals, Inc. since 2007, and he previously held the position of chief operating officer when he first joined the company in 2003. Prior to his 17-year tenure at Alnylam, Mr. Greene was the general manager of Oncology at Millennium Pharmaceuticals, Inc. where he led the Company’s global strategy and execution for its oncology business, including strategic business direction and execution, culminating in the successful U.S. Food and Drug Administration approval and launch of VELCADE® (bortezomib) in mid-2003. Prior to joining Millennium in 2001, Mr. Greene served as executive vice president and chief business officer for, a healthcare consulting company. Earlier in Mr. Greene’s career, he held multiple leadership positions at AstraZeneca (formerly Astra Merck), and was a partner of Andersen Consulting, where he was responsible for the pharmaceutical/biotechnology marketing and sales practice. He is a member of the board of the Pharmaceutical Research and Manufacturers of America (PhRMA).

He received his B.S. in Industrial Engineering from the University of Pittsburgh and served as a Senior Scholar at Duke University’s Fuqua School of Business.

Ekaterina Malievskaia

Co-Founder & Chief Innovation Officer, COMPASS Pathways

Dr. Ekaterina Malievskaia is the Chief Innovation Officer and Co-founder of COMPASS Pathways, a mental health care company dedicated to accelerating patient access to evidence-based innovation in mental health.

Ekaterina received her medical degree from St Petersburg Medical Academy in St Petersburg, Russia, and then moved to the US where she completed her Internal Medicine residency training. She worked in private practice, academic medicine and public health for more than 15 years in the greater New York area. She was a Clinical Instructor of Medicine at Mount Sinai School of Medicine, as well as a Research Professor at City University of New York.

After moving to London in 2011, Ekaterina worked in global health and medical philanthropy, focusing on improving outcomes in maternal and child health. She founded COMPASS Pathways with her husband George Goldsmith in 2016, having experienced at first hand the challenges in accessing evidence-based and effective mental health care for a family member.

Brigitte (Bigs) Robertson

CMO, Delix Therapeutics

Dr. Robertson is the Chief Medical Officer at Delix Therapeutics. Her industry career started as a physician scientist in translational medicine at GlaxoSmithKline in the Center for Excellence in Drug Discovery and she has demonstrated an enduring commitment to advancing the understanding and treatment of CNS disorders throughout her career as a clinician, in academics and in Industry. She has held senior roles in clinical development and experimental medicine, at Sepracor/Sunovion, Neurovance, Euthymics, and Shire/Takeda, where she served as the Therapeutic Area Head of Neuroscience. In this last role, she led global clinical development and helped drive the disease area strategy for a large portfolio of early and late-stage assets in neurological, psychiatric, and neurodegenerative disorders, successfully guiding programs through global regulatory review and gaining approval across several indications. Most recently and just prior to joining Delix, Dr Robertson served as Chief Medical Officer at Yumanity. Dr. Robertson has authored numerous articles published in leading peer-reviewed journals, while also taking part in several industry and academic consortia to advance biomarkers and improve trial outcomes in CNS drug development.

Dr. Robertson completed residency training with a focus on neuropsychiatry at the University of Colorado Health Sciences Center. She then completed a fellowship in child and adolescent psychiatry and a second post-doctoral research fellowship, sponsored by the NIH in neuroimaging and psychopharmacology at the University of California in San Diego (UCSD). In addition, she has held faculty positions at CCP Children's hospital in San Diego, USCD, and Duke University.

Lauren Martz

Executive Director, Biopharma Intelligence, BioCentury

As Executive Director of Biopharma Intelligence, Lauren guides BioCentury’s coverage of clinical and translational development, bringing her experience in covering innovative technologies and breakthroughs in product development to support in-depth analysis of the biopharma industry. Lauren has written extensively on emerging technologies, therapeutics and targets, clinical trial design and IP issues affecting the industry since joining BioCentury in 2007. Lauren has also been a key driver of BioCentury’s analysis of medical conferences, using a data-driven approach to identify emerging industry trends. She is a contributor to the annual Back to School project and a frequent guest on the BioCentury This Week podcast. Lauren holds a B.S.E. in Bioengineering from the University of Pennsylvania and an MBA from Temple University.

Ben Robbins

General Partner, GV

Ben Robbins is a general partner at GV, investing across healthcare delivery and neuropsychiatric therapeutics. As a psychiatrist by background, Ben also leads GV’s investments in mental health-related companies, including Headway and Brightline. His investments include Aspire (acquired by Anthem), Rodin (acquired by Alkermes), Carebridge, Patina, Waltz Health, Nym, and Cerevance.

Ben joined GV as a venture partner in 2014 and was named general partner in 2022. In a past life, Ben worked as an intern at “The Daily Show” with Jon Stewart. Since then, he has completed psychiatric training at Massachusetts General Hospital and Mclean Hospital, the top and second-ranked departments of psychiatry in the United States.

He also co-founded a non-profit to fund, build, and operate a primary school for AIDS orphans in Tanzania.

Ben received his M.D. from Harvard Medical School, MBA from Harvard Business School, and B.A. with honors from Dartmouth College, where he was a member of the football team.

Daphne Zohar

Founder & CEO, PureTech Health

Daphne Zohar is the founder and chief executive officer of PureTech and a member of the board of directors. She has also served as the founding chief executive officer of a number of PureTech’s Founded Entities. A successful entrepreneur, Ms. Zohar created PureTech, assembling a leading team to help implement her vision for the Company, and was a key participant in fundraising, business development and establishing the underlying programs and platforms that have resulted in PureTech’s substantial pipeline, which is comprised of 27 therapeutics and therapeutic candidates being advanced via the Company’s Wholly Owned Pipeline and Founded Entities, including two that have been cleared for marketing by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration and granted marketing authorization in the European Economic Area. Ms. Zohar has been recognized as a top leader and innovator in biotechnology by a number of sources, including EY, BioWorld, MIT Technology Review, The Boston Globe and Scientific American.

Richard Soll


Dr. Richard Soll is presently Senior Advisor, Strategic Initiatives for the Research Service Division at WuXi AppTec and Head of the WuXi office in Boston, Massachusetts. He has held various leadership roles at WuXi as Senior Vice President including head of the medicinal chemistry unit known as the International Discovery Service Unit, business development, and corporate alliances.

Dr. Soll’s contributions led to the discovery of the HCV NS5A inhibitor elbasvir (a component of Zepatier®) in the Merck-WuXi partnership, the JAK2 inhibitor fedratinib at TargeGen which formed the basis of the $7B partnership between Celgene and Impact Biomedicines, and more than 10 other clinical stage drugs throughout his career.

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