Ronald W. Barrett, Ph.D.


Ronald W. Barrett, Ph.D. is CEO and Chairman of Medikine.  He is the former CEO and a Director of XenoPort, Inc (XNPT), a biopharmaceutical-focused company he co-founded in 1999, which was acquired by Arbor Pharmaceutical in 2016.  Under Barrett’s guidance, XenoPort completed multiple private and public financings, corporate partnerships and advanced five in-house discovered compounds into human trials including mid- to late-stage clinical trials.  Barrett led the company’s efforts that resulted in the FDA approval of HORIZANT (gabapentin enacarbil), the first and only non-dopaminergic drug approved for moderate to severe RLS in the US. Prior to founding XenoPort, Barrett was Senior Vice President of Research at Affymax Research Institute, where he pioneered the development and use of new drug discovery technology – work that led to 2 FDA-approved medicines.  Barrett began his professional career in the neuroscience drug discovery group at Abbott Laboratories. He is currently a Director of Concert Pharmaceuticals, Inc. (Nasdaq:CNCE), Quadriga Bioscience and the RLS Foundation, a non-profit patient advocacy group. Barrett has co-authored >50 manuscripts from peer-reviewed journals and is an inventor of >50 issued patents in the U.S.  He received a BS degree in biology from Bucknell University and a Ph.D degree in pharmacology from Rutgers University.


William J. Dower, Ph.D.


Dr. Dower is a founder of Medikine and currently serves as Chief Scientific Officer.  He was a co-founder and Senior Vice President, Discovery Biology of XenoPort, Inc., where he led the company’s efforts to identify and characterize drug transport mechanisms.  Prior to XenoPort, he was Senior Director of Molecular Biology at Affymax Research Institute, where his group pioneered the development of the recombinant peptide display methods that are now in use worldwide.  This research culminated in the discovery of peptide mimetics of important growth factors such as erythropoietin, work for which Drs. Dower and Barrett were awarded the 1997 AAAS Newcomb Cleveland Prize for Outstanding Paper of the Year in the journal Science.  Dr. Dower has co-authored >40 peer-reviewed publications, and is an inventor on >60 issued U.S. patents.  He received his B.A. and Ph.D. degrees in biological sciences from the University of California, San Diego. 


Michael C. Needels, Ph.D.

FOUNDER, COO, President & Head of chemistry

Dr. Needels is a founder of Medikine and serves as Chief Operating Officer, President, and Head of Chemistry.  He was previously Chief Operating Officer of the Fogarty Institute for Innovation, a non-profit incubator of medtech startups, and he was a co-founder and President of Nodality, Inc., a company focused on technology to guide treatment decisions by revealing patient-specific intracellular signaling pathway dynamics. He has also served as a Research Fellow at XenoPort, Inc., and was a Research Director at Affymax Research Institute, where he co-invented with Drs. Dower and Barrett the first technology for construction and screening of large libraries of synthetic compounds using DNA-encoding. Dr. Needels has co-authored 14 peer-reviewed manuscripts and is an inventor of three issued U.S. patents.  He received a B.A. degree in biochemistry from University of California, Berkeley, and M.S. and Ph.D. degrees in bioorganic chemistry from Cornell University.