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Meet Frank

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Francesco G. Salituro, Ph.D., currently the Founder and sole proprietor of Salituro MedChem Solutions, LLC, has been a scientific leader in pharmaceutical industry for over 34 years and has successfully driven drug discovery programs across multiple therapeutic areas. His work has resulted in 20 small molecule clinical candidates, including Zuranolone (SAGE-217), SAGE-718, SAGE-324, SAGE-904, Mitapivat, Neflamopimod, Decernotinib, Pimodivir, and three marketed drugs, Zulresso®, IDHIFA® and TIBSOVO®.


Most recently, Francesco held the position of Vice President of Chemistry at Sage Therapeutics, from 2012 through 2020. Prior to Sage, Francesco held leadership positions at Agios Pharmaceuticals, Wyeth Research and Vertex Pharmaceuticals after initially joining Merrell Dow Pharmaceuticals in 1986. Francesco’s research has led to over 60 scientific publications and over 80 issued US Patents. Additionally, Francesco has been active within the Gordon Research Conferences, serving as Chairman of the prestigious GRC on Medicinal Chemistry in 2011. 

Since September of 2014, Francesco has been serving on the Board of Directors for the Epilepsy Foundation of New England (EFNE). He is also the co-founder of Joseph's HOPE Scholarship Fund, and more recently the Joseph's HOPE Emergency Fund, both of which are within the EFNE umbrella.


Francesco received his B.S. Degree in Life Sciences from the University of Wisconsin-Parkside in 1980 and his Ph.D. in Medicinal Chemistry from the University of Wisconsin-Madison in 1984; he additionally held a postdoctoral position at University of Illinois-Champaign Urbana from 1984-1986. 

Outside of career and EFNE, Francesco pursues several passions including cooking, oenology, gardening, art collecting, and music. He has played in several rock bands over the past 18 years, including his current band Almost the Cure, all in support of his Joseph’s HOPE charities. Francesco is also co-owner of AudioArt, a state-of-the-art audio theater store located in Sudbury, MA.

Explore Franks Top Publications

1."Highly Sensitive Assays for Proteinases Using Immobilized Luminogenic Substrates," B.R. Branchini, F.G. Salituro, J.D. Hermes, and N.J. Post, Biochem. Biophys. Res. Commun., 97, 334.(1980). 


2. "Sensitive Enzyme Assays Based on the Production of Chemiluminescent Leaving Groups," B.R. Branchini, J.D. Hermes, F.G. Salituro, N.J. Post, and G. Claeson, Anal. Biochem., 111, 87 (1981). 


3. "Enzyme-Activated Antagonists of the Strychnine Insensitive, Glycine/NMDA Receptor," F.G. Salituro, R.C. Tomlinson, M.G. Palfreyman, I.A. McDonald, W.Schmidt, H.Q. Wu, P. Guidetti, R. Schwarcz, J. Med. Chem., 37, 334-336 (1994) 


4. The Discovery of VX-745: A Novel and Selective p38α Kinase Inhibitor; Duffy, J. P., Harrington, E. M., Salituro, F. G., Cochran, J. E., Green, J., Gao, H., Bemis, G. W., et al. (2011). ACS Medicinal Chemistry Letters (2011), 2(10), 758–763. 


5. The Discovery of VX-787, 

Clark, Michael; Ledeboer, Mark; Davies, Ioana; Byrn, Randal; Jones, Steven; Perola, Emanuele; Tsai, Alice; Jacobs, Marc; Nti-Addae, Kwame; Bandarage, U; Boyd, Michael; Bethiel, Randy; Court, John; Deng, Hongbo; Duffy, John; Dorsch, Warren; Farmer, Luc; Gao, Huai; Gu, Wenxin; Jackson, Katrina; Jacobs, Dylan; Kennedy, Joseph; Ledford, Brian; Liang, Jianglin; Maltais, Francois; Wang, Tiansheng; Leeman, Joshua; McNeil, Colleen; Taylor, William; Memmott, Christine; Jiang, Min; Rijnbrand, Rene; Bral, Christopher; Germann, Ursula; Nezami, Azin; Zhang, Yuegang; Salituro, Francesco; Charifson, Paul; Murcko, Mark; Wannamaker, Woods; Bennani, Youssef; Bennett, Hamilton; J. Med Chem. 2014, 57(15), 6668-78. 


6. Discovery of VX-509: A Potent and Selective Janus kinase (JAK) 3 Inhibitor for the Treatment of Autoimmune Diseases; 

Luc Farmer*t, Mark W. Ledeboer*, Thomas Hoock, Michael J. Arnost, Randy S. Bethiel, Youssef L. Bennanit, James J. Black, Christopher L. Brummel, Ananthsrinivas Chakilam, Warren A. Dorsch, Bin Fane, John E. Cochran, Summer Halas, Edmund M. Harrington, James K. Hogan, David Howe, Hui Huang, Dylan H. Jacobs, Leena M. Laitinen, Shengkai Liao, Sudipta Mahajan, Valerie Maronel, Gabriel Martinez-Botellag, Pamela McCarthy, David Messersmith, Mark Namchuk, Luke Oh, Albert C. Pierce, Scott A. Raybuck, Arthur Rugg, Francesco G. Saliturog, Kumkum Saxena, Dean Shannon, Dina Shlyakter, Lora Swenson, Shi-Kai Tian, Christopher Town, Jian Wang, Tiansheng Wang, Marion W. Wannamaker, Raymond J. Winquist, and Harmon J. Zuccola,. J. Med Chem. 2015, 58(18), 7195-7216 


7. AG-221, a First-in-Class Therapy Targeting Acute Myeloid Leukemia Harboring Oncogenic IDH2Mutations. 

Yen K, Travins J, Wang F, David MD, Artin E, Straley K, Padyana A, Gross S, DeLaBarre B, Tobin E, Chen Y, Nagaraja R, Choe S, Jin L, Konteatis Z, Cianchetta G, Saunders JO, Salituro FG, Quivoron C, Opolon P, Bawa O, Saada V, Paci A, Broutin S, Bernard OA, de Botton S, Marteyn BS, Pilichowska M, Xu Y, Fang C, Jiang F, Wei W, Jin S, Silverman L, Liu W, Yang H, Dang L, Dorsch M, Penard-Lacronique V, Biller SA, Su SM. 

Cancer Discov. 2017 May;7(5):478-493. doi: 10.1158/2159-8290.CD-16-1034. Epub 2017 Feb 13. 


8. Discovery of AG-120 (ivosidenib): a first-in-class mutant IDH1 inhibitor for the treatment of IDH1 mutant cancers; J Popovici-Muller, RM Lemieux, E Artin, JO Saunders, FG Salituro,et al. ACS medicinal chemistry letters 9 (4), 300-305, Jan 2018 


9. AG-348 enhances pyruvate kinase activity in red blood cells from patients with pyruvate kinase deficiency. 

Kung C, Hixon J, Kosinski PA, Cianchetta G, Histen G, Chen Y, Hill C, Gross S, Si Y, Johnson K, DeLaBarre B, Luo Z, Gu Z, Yao G, Tang H, Fang C, Xu Y, Lv X, Biller S, Su SM, Yang H, Popovici-Muller J, Salituro F, Silverman L, Dang L. 

Blood. 2017 Sep 14;130(11):1347-1356. 


10. Anticonvulsant profile of the neuroactive steroid, SGE-516, in animal models. 

Hammond RS, Althaus AL, Ackley MA, Maciag C, Martinez Botella G, Salituro FG, Robichaud AJ, Doherty JJ. 

Epilepsy Res. 2017 Aug;134:16-25. 

11. Neuroactive Steroids. 2. 3α-Hydroxy-3β-methyl-21-(4-cyano-1H-pyrazol-1'-yl)-19-nor-5β-pregnan-20-one (SAGE-217): A Clinical Next Generation Neuroactive Steroid Positive Allosteric Modulator of the (γ-Aminobutyric Acid)A Receptor. 

Martinez Botella G, Salituro FG, Harrison BL, Beresis RT, Bai Z, Blanco MJ, Belfort GM, Dai J, Loya CM, Ackley MA, Althaus AL, Grossman SJ, Hoffmann E, Doherty JJ, Robichaud AJ. 

J Med Chem. 2017 Aug 17. 

12. Neuroactive Steroid N-Methyl-d-aspartate Receptor Positive Allosteric Modulators: Synthesis, SAR, and Pharmacological Activity. 

Daniel S La, Francesco G Salituro, Botella G Martinez, Andrew M Griffin, Zhu Bai, Michael A Ackley, Jing Dai, James J Doherty, Boyd L Harrison, Ethan C Hoffmann, Tatiana M Kazdoba, Michael C Lewis, Michael C Quirk, Albert J Robichaud; Journal of Medicinal Chemistry;2019, 62, 16, 7526.

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