Rick Wagner, Ph.D.

President and Chief Executive Officer, X-Chem

Rick Wagner, Ph.D., is the founder of X-Chem, Inc., X-Rx, Inc., and X-BODY Biosciences. Wagner currently serves as president and chief executive officer of X-Chem, where he led the establishment of fully funded collaborations with Roche and AstraZeneca, along with initial financing from PPD.

Prior to these endeavors, Wagner had previously joined Praecis Pharmaceuticals, Inc., in December 2002 as executive vice president, science and technology. In December 2003, he assumed responsibilities for discovery research until February 2007. At Praecis, Wagner was an inventor of the DirectSelect small molecule screening technology. Here, his team created a 10 billion compound screening library and demonstrated that lead molecules could be directly identified from the starting library against previously intractable targets. In 2006, Wagner negotiated two collaborations based on the DirectSelect technology with both Gilead Sciences and GlaxoSmithKline. The technology and company were both purchased by GlaxoSmithKline in February 2007 based on the success of the collaboration.

Prior to Praecis, Wagner started operations at Phylos, Inc., in July 1997 as vice president of R&D. In 2000, he was promoted to the position of senior vice president, research. Wagner was responsible for research efforts in Lexington, Mass., and at Phylos GmbH, a German subsidiary of Phylos. Phylos utilized proprietary technology platforms to discover its own pipeline of biopharmaceuticals, principally in the area of antibodies and antibody-mimetics. Wagner led two programs, one in the area of Trinectin (now Adnectin) molecules, which are a class of antibody mimetics being pursued by Adnexus, Inc. (bought by Bristol Myers Squibb). The second program was in the area of single domain antibody therapeutics. At Phylos, Wagner was on the negotiating team for a $27M five-year agreement with Hoechst (now Sanofi) and attracted the lead investor to a $25M Series B financing.

Wagner previously worked at Gilead Sciences, Inc., Calif. (1989-1997), where his last position was director, cell biology, and he was a member of Gilead's management team. While at Gilead, Wagner was a leading expert on the development of antisense therapeutics.  

Wagner received his B.S. in biochemistry from Trinity College, Hartford, Conn., and later received his Ph.D. in chemistry from Brown University. Wagner was an NCI post-doctoral fellow at the Wistar Institute/University of Pennsylvania in Philadelphia.