Feb 15, 2021
In this episode we speak with Dr. Errol De Souza, PhD,
Executive Chairman of the Board of Directors at
Bionomics. Bionomics just raised nearly $16mm to
conduct clinical trials on their revolutionary drug to treat
Dr. De Souza is one of the premier entrepreneurs in
the biotech space with a special focus on development of
therapeutics for treatment of Central Nervous System
disorders. During his career as an entrepreneur, Dr. De
Souza has raised several hundred million dollars in capital in both
private and public markets and has taken companies public
(Neurocrine Biosciences IPO) and sold companies (Synaptic sale to
Over Dr. De Souza's career, he has served in a number of
high-ranking R&D roles, including SVP and U.S. head of Aventis
(1998-2002), co-founder and EVP of R&D at Neurocrine
(1992-1998) and Head of CNS at DuPont Merck (1990-1992).
Dr. De Souza is currently a Director of several public and
private companies and currently serves as a member of the board of
directors of Catalyst Biosciences (CBIO). He has previously served
on the board of directors of several public companies including
IDEXX Laboratories (IDXX), Neurocrine Biosciences (NBIX), Palatin
Technologies (PTN) and Synaptic Pharmaceuticals (SNAP).
HERE ARE SOME OF THE THINGS WE TALKED ABOUT:
- De Souza shares his background and how it led him to the
- We discuss what goes into the process of developing a drug for
the Central Nervous System and ways that this process is the same
and different from the development of other pharmaceuticals.
- De Souza discusses the two categories of disorders that come
from the Central Nervous System, psychiatric and neurological, and
the drug development history of the two dating back to the
- We talk about the story behind Bionomics, their new compound
BNC210 which is used for the treatment of PTSD which received a
“Fast Track” designation from the FDA.
- De Souza helps us break down exactly what is PTSD, how it
occurs, what’s going on in the brain and talks about how we can use
that knowledge to develop biopharmaceutical treatments for PTSD
(which is what Bionomics is leading the way on right now). He talks
about current PTSD treatments and their shortcomings as well.
- We talk about the Bionomics collaboration with Merck which uses
similar compounds in the clinical treatment of cognitive deficits
in Alzheimer’s disease and why there are similarities between
Alzheimer’s and PTSD based on the neurochemistry of the brain.
- Finally, Dr. De Souza gives some advice for entrepreneurs who
are starting out early in their career and investors that are
coming into this space who lack the background knowledge.
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What If Ventures (Mental Health