Hager Biosciences is a privately-owned biopharm-aceutical company established by experienced medicinal chemists to provide pre-clinical therapeutic leads and candidates through operationally agile & effective drug discovery chemistry platforms for the pharmaceutical and biotech industries.


Bel Mekonnen, Ph.D., Chief Executive Officer and President, is well versed scientist with a demonstrated passion for therapeutic drug discovery. Having progressed several small molecule drug discovery projects to critical milestone decision points during his tenure at Pfizer (Legacy Wyeth Pharmaceuticals) and ArQule, Dr. Mekonnen's extensive discovery research experience spans from early stage HTS-based Lead Discovery and Optimization to the identification of  pre-clinical candidates. Dr. Mekonnen led diverse therapeutic area research projects and teams through effective collaboration with multi-disciplinary colleagues, most recently as a Principal Scientist and project team leader at Pfizer. In addition, during tenure at ArQule, he successfully spearheaded the ArQule-Solvay Pharmaceutical international alliance that afforded pre-clinical candidates and milestone driven annual revenue for ArQule. Dr. Mekonnen has over 15 years of pharmaceutical discovery experience across diverse therapeutic areas with target pharmacology including Neuroscience, Cardiovascular & Metabolic Diseases, Inflammation and Oncology. Dr. Mekonnen envisioned and along with his colleagues founded Hager Biosciences to provide pre-clinical therapeutic leads and candidates through operationally agile & effective proprietary drug discovery chemistry platforms for the pharmaceutical and biotech industries. After receiving his Ph.D. from University of New South Wales, Sydney, Australia, he was a postdoctoral fellow in the department of Molecular Genetics at UT Southwestern Medical Center, Dallas, Texas, and then a visiting fellow at NIH, Bethesda, MD. He has authored over 20 publications and patents/patent applications.

John A. Butera, Ph.D., Chief Scientific Officer and Senior Vice President of Research, is a scientific leader with over 25 years of diversified experience as a drug hunter in the pharmaceutical industry.  Most recently, Dr. Butera served as Director of Medicinal Chemistry at Pfizer Global Research and Development (legacy Wyeth Pharmaceuticals), in Princeton NJ. Recognized externally as a thought leader and citizen in the scientific community, he serves as a reviewer for multiple scientific journals, as a grant reviewer for the NIH, and on the ACS Medicinal Chemistry Long Range Planning Committee to propose, organize, and chair symposia at National and International scientific conferences.  He has authored/co-authored 38 journal articles, 36 posters/presentations, and has been awarded 60 US or WO patents.  Dr. Butera joined Hager Biosciences, LLC in August, 2010 as a co-founder, and brings to Hager his strong history of award-winning leadership strategies, an ability to focus interdisciplinary teams to leverage the experience of each contributor, and a mandate to provide vision and maximize efficiency.  As a key member of the Wyeth Chemical Sciences Management Team, Dr. Butera led numerous internal research projects via effective collaboration with his direct reports at three Wyeth sites in NJ, PA, and NY. In addition, he successfully spearheaded numerous external alliances with international biotech companies to add value to the Wyeth development portfolio.  His expertise spans across the entire spectrum of the pre-clinical drug discovery paradigm; from Hit to Lead, to Lead Optimization, and to Development-track Recommendation.  Central to his ability to deliver quality scientific leadership is his broad command of modern and classical medicinal chemistry approaches for simultaneous optimization of both the biological and physical-chemical properties of drug candidates.  These efforts have culminated in the advancement of 8 compounds to development track during his tenure at Wyeth.  Dr. Butera has demonstrated a comprehensive background and has managed portfolios of programs across multiple therapeutic areas including Neuroscience, Cardiovascular and Metabolic Diseases, Muscular-skeletal Disorders, Women's Health / Fertility, and Inflammation.

Jianxing William Huang, Ph.D., Head of Chemistry, has over fourteen years of discovery research experience in the pharmaceutical and biotech industry. He started his industrial career with ArQule Inc, and took a leading role in corporate chemical library design, evaluation and execution of research plans. As a team leader, he coordinated multiple high through-put collaborative med chem optimization campaigns with major pharma partner companies. At GPC Biotech Inc, Dr. Huang successfully advanced a number of oncology drug discovery programs to lead optimization and development stages to meet critical milestones. He co-discovered one of the clinical candidates currently in trials for advanced solid tumors. Following one year at AstraZeneca Pharmaceuticals, Dr. Huang co-founded Hager Biosciences. His drug discovery experience has been in various research areas including kinases, GPCRs, and protein-protein interaction perturbation with small molecules; targeting oncology, infectious diseases, and CNS disorders. Dr. Huang received his PhD from Indiana University, and completed his post doctoral training at Harvard University.

  • Hager Biosciences
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  • 116 Research Drive, Suite 265
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  • Bethlehem, PA 18015, USA
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  • Call: 610-849-5075
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  • Fax: 610-849-5001
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  • Email: info@hagerbio.com
  • Copyright © Hager Biosciences, LLC.