Developing novel serpin-based therapies for the treatment of fibrosis and fibroproliferative disorders

About MDI

MDI Therapeutics is a pharmaceutical company developing novel serpin-based therapies for the treatment of fibrosis and fibroproliferative disorders. The Company was founded on key enabling technologies developed at the University of Michigan. MDI’s lead program is a first-in-class orally available plasminogen activator inhibitor (PAI-1) inhibitor.

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The Science

PAI-1: Multi-Functional, Metastable Protein with Unique Mechanism1,2,3

Attractive pharmaceutical target, yet no approved drugs known to directly inhibit PAI-1

  • Initially identified in the 1980s
    • Best understood for its role regulating fibrinolysis and physiologic wound healing by rapid inhibition of tPA and uPA
    • Implicated in numerous pathological processes, including CVD, arterial and venous thrombosis, and chronic fibrotic diseases 4,5
  • 100s of small-molecules, natural products, and mAb antagonists/inhibitors have been described 6
  • Inherent structural instability of PAI-1 biases HTS “hits” toward promiscuous molecules with low affinity, hydrophobicity, and poor specificity 6

1. Thromb Haemost. 2008 Dec;100(6):1029-36. | 2. Front Med (Lausanne). 2019; 6: 25. | 3. Proc Natl Acad Sci USA. 2014 Oct 28;111(43):15414-9. | 4. Expert Opin Ther Pat. 2013;23:801-15. | 5. Eur J Med Chem. 2015;92:619-36. | 6. Methods in Enzymology. 501:177-207, 2011.

Our Team

  • Stephen Benoit Profile Picture

    Stephen Benoit

    President & CEO

    Stephen Benoit

    President & CEO

    Stephen Benoit has served as a member of MDI’s board of directors since November 2017. He brings broad experience in VC-backed start-ups, and small and large-cap public companies in the pharmaceuticals, food & agriculture biotechnology, food safety training and education, consumer packaged foods, and specialty ingredients industries. Since 2012, Mr. Benoit has served as a member of the board of directors of Metabolic Solutions Development Company (MSDC), a clinical-stage developer of small molecule therapeutics to treat diseases associated with metabolic dysfunction, including diabetes, NASH, Alzheimer’s disease, and Parkinson's disease, and was MSDC’s chief executive officer from October 2010 to 2017. Prior to joining MSDC, Mr. Benoit was the founding President & COO of the International Food Protection Training Institute, which was designated by U.S. Food and Drug Administration as the National Coordination Center for Food Safety Training; and from September 2001 through 2008, he was a co-founder, President & CEO of NanoMed Pharmaceuticals, a developer of nanoparticle-formulated therapeutic agents to treat cancer. Mr. Benoit has also held senior management positions with a developer of direct-to-consumer personal genetic assessments, a Fortune 250 global food manufacturing company, a small-cap public company that developed and manufactured antimicrobial peptides for food and animal health products, and a small-cap public company that pioneered food & agricultural biotechnology. He began his career at Bank of America.

    Mr. Benoit earned a Master of Business Administration, Finance and a Bachelor of Business Administration, Finance from Loyola Marymount University (Los Angeles). He has been a Visiting Executive Lecturer at the University of Virginia, Darden School of Business and Western Michigan University.

  • Daniel A. Lawrence Profile Picture

    Daniel A. Lawrence, PhD

    Founder/Chairman, Clinical & Scientific Advisory Board

    Daniel A. Lawrence, PhD

    Founder/Chairman, Clinical & Scientific Advisory Board

    Daniel A. Lawrence is Professor of Cardiovascular Medicine, and the Frederick G L Huetwell Professor of Basic Research in Cardiovascular Medicine at the University of Michigan. He is a recognized world leader in serpin biology. He has published over 140 peer-reviewed articles, holds numerous patents in the field, and was awarded the prestigious 2010 International Society for Fibrinolysis and Proteolysis Prize. He has served as the Chair of the Plasminogen Activation & Extracellular Proteolysis Gordon Conference, and Co-Chair of the Xth International Workshop on Molecular & Cellular Biology of Plasminogen Activation. Professor Lawrence’s scientific career has focused on the impact of serpins in the pathology of vascular function and disease, where he has made significant discoveries. Dr. Lawrence was a member of the team that cloned and purified plasminogen activator inhibitor-1 (PAI-1), allowing its recognition as a member of the serpin family of structurally related proteins that inactivated proteases via a then unknown mechanism. He proceeded to study the serpin mechanism of action and was the first to propose the now recognized serpin mechanism of inhibition through distortion of the protease catalytic site. Dr. Lawrence has pioneered research in advancing an understanding of how the unique molecular structure of serpins contributes to diseases as diverse as inflammation, fibrosis, and thrombosis, including being the first to identify a novel serpin target site that could potentially be exploited to pharmacologically regulate a variety of family members and functions.

    A list of Dr. Lawrence’s publications can be found here.

  • J. Craig Hartman Profile Picture

    J. Craig Hartman, PhD

    Vice President, Preclinical Development

    J. Craig Hartman, PhD

    Vice President, Preclinical Development

    Craig Hartman brings to MDI over 35 years of experience working in Non-Clinical Pharmacology and Toxicology, successful Preclinical and Clinical Drug Development, Regulatory and Medical Writing, Strategic Planning and Due Diligence, Synthetic Small Molecules and Biopharmaceuticals. Dr. Hartman’s therapeutic area experience gained at Cardioxyl Pharmaceuticals, Gilead (Myogen), Baxter (Somatogen) and Pharmacia & Upjohn, includes Cardiovascular Diseases, Pulmonary & Respiratory diseases, Gastrointestinal, Endocrinology, Neurology and Ophthalmology, in all phases of development. Dr. Hartman’s successful authorship includes pharmaceutical regulatory submissions of 3 NDAs, and 13 INDs [includes CTA (EU)], Rare Disease Drug Applications, IBs, Special Protocol Assessments, Labels, Combination Products, Biowaivers, Environmental Assessments, funded proposals (including SBIRs), and preclinical reports including TK, and gap analyses.

    Dr. Hartman earned a Doctor of Philosophy, Pharmacology and Toxicology from Medical College of Wisconsin, Milwaukee, WI and a Bachelor of Science, Biology from Purdue University, West Lafayette, IN.

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Our Board

  • Dr. Grazia Piizzi Profile Picture

    Dr. Grazia Piizzi, PhD

    Director

    Dr. Grazia Piizzi, PhD

    Director

    Dr. Grazia Piizzi, PhD has served as a member of MDI’s board of directors since March 2022. Dr. Piizzi is Chief Scientific Officer of Juvenescence Ltd. and she has more than 15 years of experience in the global pharmaceutical and biotech industry. Dr. Piizzi spent 10 years at Novartis Cambridge and Basel leading global teams responsible from target ID to clinical candidate selection across multiple disease areas. Later, she joined Merck Cambridge to build the new Exploratory Science Center (ESC) and worked closely with Merck BD&L and Venture teams. At Merck, Dr. Piizzi established a multidisciplinary team and platform to identify opportunities in infectious diseases, microbiome, and immune-cancer-microbiome interactions. More recently, Dr. Piizzi was the SVP of Small Molecules R&D and Head of Inflammation at a Flagship Pioneering startup, Cygnal Therapeutics, decoding the links between peripheral neurons and diseases.

    Dr. Piizzi received her Ph.D. in Organic Chemistry at UCLA, and subsequently completed her postdoctoral work at MIT on the synthesis and biological properties of natural products. She currently serves in the NIH SBIR committee to review research and commercialization grants for drug discovery and development.

  • Robert L. Zerbe Profile Picture

    Robert L. Zerbe, M.D.

    Robert L. Zerbe, M.D.

    Robert Zerbe has served on MDI’s board of directors since April 2022. Dr. Zerbe has served as a member of the board of directors of Cirius Therapeutics, Inc., a developer of therapies for the treatment of liver and metabolic diseases, since May 2016. He also has served as a member of the board of directors of Vericel Corporation, a developer of patient-specific expanded cell therapies for severe diseases and conditions, since January 2006 and as chairman of the board of directors since October 2012. Until July 2016, Dr. Zerbe was the chief executive officer of QUATRx Pharmaceuticals Company, or QUATRx, a drug development company he co-founded in 2000. Prior to his role at QUATRx, Dr. Zerbe held several senior executive management positions with pharmaceutical companies including Eli Lilly and Company, from 1982 to 1993, and Pfizer (formerly Parke-Davis) from 1993 to 2000. During his tenure at Eli Lilly and Company, Dr. Zerbe’s clinical research and development positions included managing director, Lilly Research Center U.K., and vice president of clinical investigation and regulatory affairs. He joined Parke-Davis in 1993, becoming senior vice president of worldwide clinical research and development. Dr. Zerbe has also served on the board of managers of Metabolic Solutions Development Company, LLC since 2015.

    Dr. Zerbe received his M.D. from the Indiana University School of Medicine, and has completed post-doctoral work in internal medicine, endocrinology and neuroendocrinology at Indiana University and the National Institutes of Health.

  • Stephen Benoit Profile Picture

    Stephen Benoit

News at MDI

MDI Therapeutics announces closing of Series A investment

Novi, Michigan – March 21, 2022 – MDI Therapeutics, Inc. (“MDI”), a pharmaceutical company developing novel serpin-based therapies for the treatment of fibrosis and fibroproliferative disorders, is pleased to announce it has closed a Series A financing with Juvenescence Ltd. Juvenescence, a biopharmaceutical company focused on treating aging and age-related disease, will provide MDI with up to $9 million in funding and collaborate with MDI to advance its lead program through Phase 1 clinical trials.

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MDI Therapeutics
46430 Peary Ct.
Novi, MI 48377