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Niall O’Donnell joined RiverVest® in 2006 as a Kauffman Fellow and became a managing director in 2014. He focuses on biopharmaceutical opportunities, building and operating RiverVest portfolio companies.
Dr. O’Donnell is a co-founder and board member of Reneo Pharmaceuticals and Mirum Pharmaceuticals, and board member of Amplyx Pharmaceuticals, Avalyn Pharmaceuticals and Spruce Biosciences. Dr. O’Donnell was acting interim chief medical officer at Lumena Pharmaceuticals, Inc. where he was central to the development and execution of its clinical strategy prior to the company’s acquisition by Shire plc in 2014. He also served on the board of Excaliard Pharmaceuticals, Inc., which was acquired by Pfizer Inc. Dr. O’Donnell helped co-found and seed Excaliard, develop the company’s clinical strategy and is a co-inventor on several key Excaliard patents.
“At RiverVest, we help entrepreneurs bring their life-transforming products to the patients. An enormous motivating factor to me is to be involved in some small way at the genesis of a drug or device company that can bring huge clinical benefit to patients.”
Prior to joining RiverVest, Niall spent five years as an immunologist at Johnson & Johnson Pharmaceutical Research and Development in San Diego. Niall co-authored the first paper validating the newly discovered histamine H4receptor as a key regulator of immune pathologies. Dr. O’Donnell was a member of the scientific advisory board of Ziarco Ltd., a developer of H4 Receptor antagonists. Ziarco was acquired by Novartis in 2016.
Niall earned his Ph.D. in Biochemistry from the University of Dundee, Scotland, and M.A. in Biochemistry from Pembroke College, Oxford. He also received an M.B.A. from the Rady School of Management of the University of California, San Diego. His professional affiliations include the American Thoracic Society and American Association of Immunologists.