Job title: Chief Operating Officer & Chief Scientific Officer
Manu Chakravarthy, M.D., Ph.D., is the Chief Medical Officer and Senior Vice President, Clinical Development for Axcella Health.
In this position, he provides strategic direction and oversight for Axcella’s clinical research and development activities, including the execution of a variety of clinical trials across several indications. Manu brings a deep commitment to innovation and translational medicine with an unwavering focus to address serious unmet medical needs by translating breakthrough discoveries into the clinic, and meaningfully improve human health.
Prior to assuming his current role, Dr. Chakravarthy served as the Global Head of External R&D in diabetes and cardiovascular research at Eli Lilly & Co where he was responsible for external innovation efforts, including the identification/evaluation of novel therapeutics, platforms, and technologies for in/out-licensing, establishing academic collaborations, and consortia management across the value chain to complement and enhance Lilly’s internal R&D portfolio. He also served as the industry co-leader of the Innovative Medicine Initiative’s LITMUS project, one of the largest public-private consortia efforts to elucidate noninvasive biomarkers for NAFLD. Before his global leadership role at Lilly, Dr. Chakravarthy spent more than 7 years at Merck & Co., where he began his industry career in Experimental Medicine as an associate director and progressively gained increasing experience across the R&D spectrum from discovery, clinical pharmacology, biomarker development and late-stage drug development in endocrine, metabolic, neuroscience and anti-viral therapeutic areas. During this time, he assumed positions of increasing responsibility and leadership within the company, ultimately serving as a Distinguished Scientist and led the clinical pharmacology groups in Discovery Medicine for groups in diabetes and cardiometabolic diseases within Translational Medicine.
Dr. Chakravarthy received his medical degree from the University of Texas Houston Medical School, his doctorate in cell biology & physiology from the University of Texas Graduate School of Biomedical Sciences and the MD Anderson Cancer Center, and his bachelor’s degree in Liberal Arts from St. John’s University. He completed a residency in Internal Medicine at the Hospital of the University of Pennsylvania and clinical Fellowship in Endocrinology, Diabetes & Metabolism at the Barnes-Jewish Hospital in St Louis. Dr. Chakravarthy undertook postdoctoral research training as an American Diabetes Association Postdoctoral Fellow at Washington University School of Medicine in St. Louis with Professor Clay Semenkovich focusing on lipid metabolism. His research elucidated the role of de novo lipogenesis via fatty acid synthase in hepatic steatosis, including the discovery of an endogenous ligand for the nutritionally regulated transcription factor, PPARalpha. Following his clinical and postdoctoral research training, Dr. Chakravarthy was appointed as Instructor of Medicine in the Department of Endocrinology & Metabolism at Washington University School of Medicine. Dr. Chakravarthy is Board-certified in Endocrinology, Diabetes & Metabolism and continues to serve patients as an Adjunct Clinical Assistant Professor of Medicine at the Rutgers School of Medicine, NJ.