LeeWright200aLee Wright, PhD

VP, Research and Discovery

Dr. Wright has over 17 years of pharma experience, including early stage drug development and refinement and preclinical studies. He has extensive experience in synthetic chemistry, medium and large-scale synthesis, and impurity profiling, SAR modeling, and metabolite analysis. In addition, he has CRO / management experience with PD-ADME studies, and modeling of safety / toxicology and animal efficacy.

He has contributed to the development of Roxadustat, currently in Phase III for the treatment of anemia and chronic kidney disease.

With a PhD in Synthetic Chemistry and expertise in design and execution of synthetic routes, Dr. Wright is proficient in the development and managment of scalable processes. He is fluent with normal and reverse phase chromatography and all standard spectroscopic methods of substance identification, including NMR, HRMS, triple quadrupole MS and FTIR. He is knowledgeable in the fields of molecular modeling, metal-based catalysis and biochemistry, and is an effective manager of both PhD and MS level scientists.

Academic and Professional Appointments

Vice President, Research and Discovery,  Quercus Molecular Design,  Farmington, CT, 2017-present

Senior Research Scientist, Medicinal Chemistry, Fibrogen, Inc, San Francisco, CA - 2004-2017

  • Design and synthesis of small molecule inhibitors of teh EGLIN (PHD 1, 2, and 3) family of isozymes responsible for the regulation of Hypoxia-Inducible Factor (HIF)
  • Developed molecular modeling-based projects centered around structure-activity relationships related to the aforementioned enzyme targets
  • Managed one RA-level scientist
  • Addition responsibilities include: Chemical Spill Response team leader, Micro-company Safety Liaison, Chemistry Database Manager

Research Scientist, Project Leader, CellGate, Inc., Sunnyvale, CA, 2001-2004

  • Design and synthesis of prodrug conjugates of varioius small molecule therapeutics, including antiproliferatives, antivirals, antibiotics, peptides, nucleic acids, proteins, and photodynamic therapeutic agents
  • Developed, led, and managed several project groups, including programs in ocular therapy and large molecule delivery
  • Led and managed multiple collaborative efforts, both with academic laboratories as well as other pharmaceutical organizations
  • Led project groups up up to 4 chemists
  • Aided in the design and oversaw implementation of animal models for in-house in vivo assays

Graduate Research, PhD, Organic Chemistry, Stanford University, Stanford, CA with Prof. Paul A. Wender, 1995-2001

  • Synthetic efforts direct toward generating structural analogs of Resiniferatoxin (RTX), a highly potent dapnhane analog of capsaicin
  • Investigation of the chemistry of arginine oligomers for delivery of small molecule therapeutics
  • Design and synthesis of water-soluble, cell-penetrating conjugated of εV1-7, an isozyme selective PKC epsilon agonist
  • Design and synthesis of a new class of cell-penetrating molecular transporters

Fellowships Awards - Stanford University

Stanford Graduate Fellow, 1996-1999

Centennial Teaching Award, 2001


B.S. Chemistry, B.S. Biology, B.S Mathematics, Cum Laude, Valedictorian, West Liberty University, West Virginia

Undergraduate Fellowships and Awards

Elbin Scholar, 1991-1995
Beneke Scholar, 1991-1995
Undergraduate Research Fellowship, 1993
WLC Award for Outstanding Science Major, 1994
1st Place WLC Independent Research Competition, 1995
WLC Award for Excellence in Teaching, 1995
Outstanding Chemistry Graduate, 1995
Outstanding Biology Graduate, 1995