Ken Song, MD
President and CEO
Ken Song serves as President and CEO, and Board Member of Metacrine. Dr. Song’s experience spans clinical medicine, basic science research, venture capital, and entrepreneurship. Prior to joining Metacrine, he was the co-founder and CEO of Ariosa Diagnostics from 2010 to 2016. At Ariosa, he was co-inventor of the flagship product and successfully led the organization from early research to product development to commercialization in over 100 countries. Ariosa was acquired by Roche in early 2015 for $625M. From 2007 to 2010, Dr. Song was a venture capital investor at Venrock where he led investments in both private and public therapeutic, medical device, and diagnostic companies. Dr. Song trained in internal medicine at the University of California, San Francisco (UCSF) and then went on to specialize in gastroenterology and hepatology at the University of Washington along with a scientific fellowship at the Fred Hutchinson Cancer Center. He also spent several years as a consultant at McKinsey & Company focusing on early stage life science companies. Dr. Song received his B.S. in Biology from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, and his M.D. from UCSF.
Trisha Millican serves as the Chief Financial Officer of Metacrine, Inc. Mrs. Millican’s experience includes corporate finance, corporate and business development and business operations. Prior to joining Metacrine, she was Senior Vice President of Finance of Seragon Pharmaceuticals. She led corporate finance and was a key player in the sale to Genentech/Roche in August 2014 for up to $1.725 billion. Prior to joining Seragon, she served as Vice President of Finance at Aragon Pharmaceuticals Inc. until its sale in August 2013 to Johnson & Johnson for up to $1 billion. She has over 15 years of finance experience in healthcare serving in various senior financial management roles including Zogenix, Inc., a publicly-traded specialty biotechnology company, from September 2009 to August 2012 and Metabasis Therapeutics, Inc., a publicly-traded biotechnology company, until its sale in 2010. Mrs. Millican spent five years with the public accounting firm Deloitte, is a certified public accountant in the state of California and holds a B.S. in Accounting from the University of San Diego.
Nicholas Smith, PhD
Senior Vice President, Chemistry
Dr. Smith is the Senior Vice President of Chemistry for Metacrine, Inc. He has more than 18 years drug discovery experience in the pharmaceutical industry both in biotech and big pharma. Most recently at Seragon Pharmaceuticals (acquired by Roche in 2015 for $725M upfront and up to $1B in milestones), and Aragon Pharmaceuticals (acquired by Johnson & Johnson in 2014 for $650M up front and $350M in milestones), Dr. Smith was Vice President of Chemistry where he oversaw medicinal chemistry projects, including the delivery of two estrogen receptor degrader (SERD) clinical candidates, and a next-generation androgen receptor antagonist program. In addition, Dr. Smith was responsible for the Aragon and then Seragon IP portfolios, and aspects of CMC. Prior to Aragon Pharmaceuticals, Dr. Smith was Head of Chemistry at Kalypsys Pharmaceuticals where he oversaw a number of medicinal chemistry projects and led teams that delivered clinical candidates in the therapeutic areas of oncology and pain. Prior to Kalypsys, Dr. Smith was a Research Fellow at Merck & Co., where he led chemistry groups that contributed to clinical candidates in the areas of obesity and inflammation. Dr. Smith was a post-doctoral fellow at the University of Toronto and has a Ph.D. in synthetic organic chemistry from the University of Southampton, UK.
Vice President, Development and Operations
Eric Bischoff is the Vice President of Business Operations for Metacrine, Inc. Mr. Bischoff has a strong multidisciplinary background in metabolic disease and oncology targets with over 25 years of experience in the biotech/pharmaceutical industry. Prior to joining Metacrine, he served as senior director of business operations and contracts at Seragon Pharmaceuticals, a private oncology drug discovery and development company, where he oversaw company operations and contracts. At Seragon he was involved in business development efforts resulting in the $1.7B acquisition of Seragon Pharmaceuticals by Genentech, a member of the Roche Group for an upfront payment of $725M and $1B in contingent development milestones. Prior to Seragon, Mr. Bischoff served as director of operations at Aragon Pharmaceuticals which was acquired by Johnson & Johnson for $1B. Prior to Aragon he worked as a pharmacologist at companies including X-Ceptor Therapeutics, acquired by Exelixis, Ligand Pharmaceuticals and Hybritech, Inc. Mr. Bischoff received his B.S. In Biology from the University of California at San Diego.
Brandee Wagner, PhD
Brandee Wagner serves as the Director of Biology. Dr. Wagner has more than 15 years drug discovery experience in the pharmaceutical industry focused exclusively on metabolic disease targets. Most recently she was a Research Fellow at Regulus Therapeutics from 2013 to 2015 leading a project developing an anti-miR targeting microRNA-103/107 for the treatment of nonalcoholic steatohepatitis (NASH) in patients with type 2 diabetes under a strategic alliance with AstraZeneca. In late 2015 Regulus and AstraZeneca announced the initiation of Phase 1 for the clinical candidate RG-125 (AZD4076). From 2000 to 2013, she was a research scientist at Arena Pharmaceuticals, Exelixis and X-Ceptor Therapeutics, focusing on GPCRs and nuclear receptors in metabolic disease. Dr. Wagner obtained her PhD at Duke University and was a post-doctoral fellow at the Salk Institute and the Joslin Diabetes Center.
Mack Flinspach, PhD
Director, Protein Engineering
Mack Flinspach serves as the Director of Protein Engineering at Metacrine. Dr. Flinspach’s experience spans biotherapeutic drug discovery, protein engineering, and structural biology. Prior to joining Metacrine he was the lead peptide engineer for the Aranea internal venture at Janssen Pharmaceutical Companies of Johnson & Johnson from 2013 to 2015. At Aranea, he co-led an interdisciplinary project team targeting Nav1.7 to NME using an engineered spider venom peptide approach. From 2008 to 2013, Dr. Flinspach was a project team leader and protein expression group leader in Biologics Research west coast within Janssen R&D working on lead discovery and optimization of monoclonal antibodies, alternative scaffolds and peptides across a wide variety of therapeutic areas. From 2006 to 2008 Dr. Flinspach was a staff scientist in structural biology at Senomyx, Inc. Dr. Flinspach trained in structural biology at the University of California, Irvine and did his post-doctoral training at the Salk Institute and the Genomics Institute of the Novartis Research Foundation. Dr. Flinspach earned his B.A in Biology from California State University, San Bernardino, and his PhD in Biological Sciences from the University of California, Irvine.