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Matthew D. Shair, PhD

Matt is a world-leading chemical biologist and organic chemist who has made important contributions to the discovery of new therapeutic targets, to understanding their mechanism and to the development of small molecules to perturb their function. Matt conceived of Nuvalent and in 2017 he founded the company with Deerfield Management.

Matt is a Professor in the Department of Chemistry and Chemical Biology at Harvard University as well as an affiliate of the Broad Institute and the Harvard Stem Cell Institute. Matt and his lab at Harvard have made critical strides in target-oriented synthesis of complex molecules including syntheses of CP-263,114, longithorone and cortistatin A. His lab helped pioneer diversity-oriented synthesis and they were amongst the first to combine it with cell-based phenotypic screening to identify new compounds with novel activities, including the discovery of the Cdc42 inhibitor secramine. They identified the first small molecules to inhibit the oxysterol-binding protein family, and these compounds are now used to study the role of these proteins at membrane contact sites.  Matt’s lab discovered that CDK8 and CDK19 are therapeutic targets for treatment of acute myeloid leukemia. These studies provided a deeper understanding of how these kinases regulate transcription in cancer and they led Matt’s lab to develop candidate small molecule therapeutic inhibitors of CDK8/19, which they out-licensed, resulting in one the largest upfront licensing payments in Harvard’s history. Due in-part to his lab’s studies, CDK8/19 inhibitors have now entered clinical trials for treatment of AML/MDS. Matt contributed to the founding of Infinity Pharmaceuticals and he has been an advisor to several large and small pharmaceutical companies. Matt has been the recipient of many awards for his research contributions including the Cope Scholar Award and the Sackler Prize in the Chemical Sciences.