Ali H. Munawar, Ph.D.
Ali is an experienced entrepreneur with a track record of leading discovery projects from ideation to proof-of-concept and executing M&A transactions. He has built biotech startups from the ground up, collectively raising over $50M in seed and venture capital investment for companies that he founded.
Ali was the founding CEO of Novira Therapeutics and led the evolution and growth of Novira and directing its novel approach to targeting virus capsid assembly as an antiviral strategy. His pioneering graduate work in non-enzymatic antiviral inhibitors that disrupt protein-protein interactions led to a Gates Foundation award that propelled Novira. Novira was acquired in 2015 by Johnson & Johnson.
Previously, he led the commercialization strategy, business development, and alliance management functions at the Joslin Diabetes Center, securing over $22M in business deals with multiple Big Pharma companies.
As the CEO, Ali is also a hands-on scientist specializing in difficult to “drug”, frontier targets often referred to as the “high hanging fruits in drug discovery”. He is actively involved in innovative hit and lead generations strategies that have led to the development of drug starting points for over half a dozen drug targets. Ali holds a Master’s in Bioengineering from Harvard University and received a Ph.D. in X-ray crystallography and structure-based drug design from KU Leuven in Belgium.
Ali has a background in strategic consulting, is an active member of various venture and scientific communities. He is involved with early-stage investment, venture creation, and due diligence. He is passionate about paying it forward by mentoring new entrepreneurs. In his spare time, Ali is passionate about animals, nature, and the outdoors.