Kemal Payza – Head R&D

Kemal brings to Neurasic deep expertise in the areas of pharmacology and overall project risk assessment.

Before joining Neurasic, Kemal was Project Director at adMare BioInnovations and Director of the Montreal Discovery Portfolio at AstraZeneca. During that time, he also served on several global teams managing AstraZeneca’s Neuroscience discovery portfolio, such as the CNS/Pain Lead Optimization Projects Network, the Lead Generation Team, and the Portfolio Management Team. He had relocated to Montreal in 1994, to become one of the founding members of the Astra Pain Research Unit, where he established the In Vitro Pharmacology section. In the years following the Astra merger with Zeneca, Kemal became Director of the Molecular Pharmacology Department, and contributed to the delivery of several candidate drugs targeting various GPCRs, ion channels, and enzymes. Kemal also led several target identification and lead generation projects, served on lead optimization project teams, and contributed to the evaluation of various external project opportunities. Kemal began his professional research career in 1988 as a postdoctoral fellow at the National Institute of Health (NICHD in Bethesda, MD), where he was the recipient of an Intramural Research Training Award covering his work on the mechanism and modulation of neuro-secretion. Subsequently, as a Staff Fellow at NIMH (Washington, D.C.), he studied the in vitro pharmacology of Neuropeptide FF receptors.

Kemal earned his PhD in 1987 in Pharmacology and Therapeutics at the University of Florida, an MSc from the Marine Science Institute of Middle East Technical University in Turkey, and a BSc in Biochemistry from the State University of New York at Binghamton. He received both the New York State Regents Scholarship and the S.U.N.Y. Foundation Scholarship. He has 37 publications in peer-reviewed journals, one patent, and published a book chapter on the in vitro pharmacology of cloned human opioid receptors.