Dr. Michael Luther, President and CEO of Bantam Pharmaceutical, has over 25 years of experience in successfully leading bio-pharmaceutical organizations and companies at the interface of science and business.
Prior to joining Bantam, Dr. Luther was most recently the Senior Vice President and Chief Scientific Officer for Albany Molecular Research (AMRI). In this role, he was responsible for AMRI’s global discovery and development businesses. Before AMRI, Michael was the Corporate Vice President of Global Discovery Research for Charles River Laboratories.
Dr. Luther has spent 25 years in the bio-pharmaceutical industry, including serving as the Vice President and Site Head at the Merck-Frosst Centre for Therapeutic Research in Montreal. In this role, he led drug discovery to proof of concept efforts for Inflammation and Metabolic Disease. Dr. Luther was also with GlaxoSmithKline for over 16 years in a number of positions of increasing responsibility including his last role as a Vice President in Discovery Research. In his various roles at GSK, he was responsible for leading several successful discovery teams that led to launch of new medicines as well as leading some of the pharmaceutical industry’s initial efforts in both personalized/precision medicine and drug repositioning.
Dr. Luther holds Bachelor of Science degrees in Biology and Chemistry from North Carolina State University, a doctorate degree in Biochemistry from the St. Louis University School of Medicine, and an MBA from Duke University. He is the author of over 45 scientific publications, and holds issued patents in diagnostics and pharmaceutical discovery and development.
Dr. Luther was one of the founding board members for both the College of Life Sciences Research Foundation at North Carolina State University, and the Quebec Drug Discovery Consortium. He is a board member at Transgenomic Inc. In addition, he is on the board of directors for The Chagas Disease Foundation, Albany College of Pharmacy and Health Sciences, and the North Carolina Biotechnology Industry Organization.
Dr. Matthew J. Kostura, Chief Scientific Officer, received his PhD in Biology from the University of Maryland followed with post-doctoral research at Cold Spring Harbor Laboratories. His graduate and post-doctoral research interests were in translational regulation by small molecules and by viral RNA. Dr. Kostura has gained over 25 years of experience in drug discovery and early development from target validation through clinical proof of concept in scientific and management roles in large pharma while at Merck Research Labs and GlaxoSmithKline. In addition, he has significant experience in more entrepreneurial roles in start-up ventures. While at TransTech Pharma, he served as the SVP of R&D, directing a research team of 35 scientists conducting drug discovery and development research in oncology, immunology and inflammation, metabolic disease and neurodegenerative disorders. That effort resulted in the progression of four compounds into first-in-human studies. Dr. Kostura possesses an in-depth knowledge of the development and use of high-content, multi-modal, phenotypic screening models that are increasingly being used to discover compound mechanism of action as well as biomarkers useful for compound evaluation from bench to clinic. Currently, Dr. Kostura is the CSO at Inanovate, Inc. a startup venture developing technology to discover and bring to market diagnostic and prognostic tests for breast cancer.
Dr. Alan Cooper, Head of Chemistry, is a medicinal chemistry leader with over 38 years of experience leading preclinical drug discovery research and early stage clinical trials at both Schering-Plough Research Institute and Merck Research. His areas of expertise are in oncology, antibacterial, antifungal, antiviral and immunology (rheumatoid arthritis) drug discovery. He participated in the discovery of several marketed drugs such as Posaconazole®, Noxafil®, Isepamicin®, Lonafarnib® and Netilmicin®. Additionally, he directed the development of a second generation farnesyl protein transferase inhibitor (backup to Lonafarnib®) for the inhibition of tumor cell growth while at Schering-Plough Research Institute. More recently Dr. Cooper led a multidisciplinary/multisite team to develop an ERK kinase inhibitor for the treatment of cancer that is presently in clinical trials.
Dr. Cooper holds a PhD in Chemistry from Rutgers University and is the author of over 100 publications and patents and patent applications. At present, Dr. Cooper is principal at Cooper MedChem Consulting, LLC. He is also an adjunct professor at Montclair State University teaching medicinal and organic chemistry.
Dr. Cooper is an ACS Fellow and very active within the American Chemical Society. He is presently a national councilor for the last 20 years representing the North Jersey Section and is a past chair of that Section. He has served on numerous committees nationally, regionally and locally and is presently serving on the Committee on Committees (ConC) which is one of three council elected committees. He has also served on a number of ACS Presidential Task forces.