Ovid Therapeutics Expands Leadership Team and Scientific Advisory Board

  • Amit Rakhit, M.D., M.B.A., Appointed Chief Medical & Portfolio Management Officer
  • Daniel H. Geschwind, M.D., Ph.D., Joins Ovid’s Scientific Advisory Board

New York, NY – April 13, 2016 – (Business Wire) – Ovid Therapeutics Inc. (Ovid), a privately held biopharmaceutical company focused on developing therapies for orphan diseases of the brain, today announced the appointment of Amit Rakhit, M.D., M.B.A, as Chief Medical & Portfolio Management Officer.  Dr. Rakhit will lead Ovid’s clinical efforts and oversee medical affairs and commercialization of the Company’s therapeutic portfolio.  Ovid also announced the addition of Daniel H. Geschwind, M.D., Ph.D., to Ovid’s Scientific Advisory Board (SAB).

“We welcome Dr. Rakhit and Dr. Geschwind to the Ovid team,” said Dr. Jeremy Levin, Chief Executive Officer and Chairman of Ovid. “We are building a company rooted in science and focused on developing important medicines for neurodevelopmental disorders. Drs. Rakhit and Geschwind bring to Ovid additional world-class expertise translating new scientific discoveries in genetics and molecular pathways into novel opportunities for drug development. Their leadership and insight will be instrumental in advancing OV101, our lead product candidate for Angelman Syndrome and Fragile X Syndrome, into clinical studies, as well as expanding our knowledge and pipeline in the area of orphan diseases of the brain.”

Prior to joining Ovid, Dr. Rakhit was Senior Vice President, Head of Worldwide Medical at Biogen, leading the firm’s global medical teams, with a focus on commercial launch activities and pipeline support for disease areas including neurology, hematology, and immunology. He also served as Vice President, Program Leadership & Management at Biogen, running global development and commercialization programs focused on orphan diseases and neurodegenerative disorders such as ALS and Spinal Muscular Atrophy. Previously, Dr. Rakhit held leadership roles at Bristol-Myers Squibb, including Director, Cardiovascular R&D, focused on Plavix, and Executive Medical Director, Cardiovascular/Metabolics – EMEA, in which role he oversaw European medical activities for Plavix, Avapro, Pravachol, Coumadin, Onglyza, and Eliquis.  Attaining the role of Vice President, Intercontinental Medical, he was ultimately responsible for business expansion and cross-portfolio R&D efforts across 27 markets. Dr. Rakhit received his B.A. degree in molecular cell biology from the University of California, Berkeley, and his M.S. degree in clinical investigation from Vanderbilt University. He also received his M.D. degree from Tufts University School of Medicine, and dual M.B.A. degrees from Columbia University School of Business and London Business School. Dr. Rakhit completed his fellowship training at Boston Children’s Hospital affiliated with Harvard Medical School.

Dr. Rakhit stated, “Ovid is dedicated to leveraging recent scientific advances to rapidly develop novel medicines for patients with rare and orphan neurological diseases.  I am passionate about Ovid’s mission and believe that the Company’s proven ability to forge partnerships across diverse patient groups, caregivers, academic research centers, and clinical investigators is a tremendous strength. I look forward to advancing our pipeline and bringing potential new medicines to patients in disease areas of significant unmet medical need.”

Dr. Geschwind recently was appointed Senior Associate Dean and Associate Vice Chancellor of Precision Medicine in the UCLA Health System and David Geffen School of Medicine. He is a Professor of Neurology and Psychiatry and Biobehavioral Sciences at the UCLA School of Medicine, where he holds the Gordon and Virginia MacDonald Distinguished Chair in Human Genetics. Dr. Geschwind is also the Director of the Center for Autism Research and Treatment (CART) and Co-Director of the Center for Neurobehavioral Genetics at UCLA. Dr. Geschwind’s laboratory has pioneered the application of gene expression and network methods to develop new therapeutics for neurologic and psychiatric disorders, focusing on autism and neurodegenerative disorders, for which disease-altering therapies are not currently available. Dr. Geschwind also played a major role in the founding, and has provided continuing scientific oversight, of the Autism Genetic Resource Exchange. He received his A.B. degree in psychology and chemistry at Dartmouth College, and M.D. and Ph.D. degrees at Yale University School of Medicine. He completed a neurology residency at UCLA, joining the faculty in 1997.

Dr. Geschwind commented, “Our field has benefitted from advances in genetics combined with translational research in neurodevelopmental disorders. This research has greatly expanded our understanding of the biology of diseases in this area.  The time is now ripe to develop novel therapies for these indications. I am excited about Ovid’s work and hope to contribute to their efforts to develop novel medicines.”

About Ovid Therapeutics Inc.

Ovid Therapeutics Inc. is a privately held, New York-based, biopharmaceutical company committed to transforming the lives of patients with orphan diseases of the brain. Ovid focuses on patients and their unmet medical needs. Using the significant operational, product development and business development experience of its management team, Ovid aims to become a leading neurology company, with multiple products and a rich pipeline, coupled with compelling research and development. Ovid has raised $80M in substantially oversubscribed financings led by Fidelity Management and Research Company and including Cowen Private Investments, Sanofi-Genzyme BioVentures, Tekla Capital Management, Sphera Global Healthcare Fund, Jennison Associates, Redmile Group, DoubleLine Equity Healthcare Fund, and Cormorant Asset Management, as well as additional blue chip mutual funds and leading life sciences investors.

For more information on Ovid, please visit http://ovidrx.com.


Burns McClellan, on behalf of Ovid Therapeutics
Justin Jackson, 212-213-0006, ext. 327