Keith M. Gottesdiener, MD | Chief Executive Officer and Chairman of the Board of Directors
Dr. Gottesdiener has been our Chief Executive Officer and a member of our board of directors since October 2011. He joined Rhythm after 16 years at Merck Research Laboratories. Dr. Gottesdiener joined Merck early clinical development in 1995, helping to transition compounds from the bench to the bedside and through to proof of concept. He held positions of increasing responsibility, eventually leading Merck’s early clinical development across all therapeutic areas from 2001 through early 2006. From 2006-2011, he was a leader of Merck’s late clinical development organization, first overseeing the development of Merck’s infectious diseases and vaccine products through pivotal trials, registration, and life cycle management, including Gardasil™ (HPV Vaccine), Rotateq™ (rotavirus vaccine), Zostavax™ (zoster vaccine) and Isentress™ (HIV integrase inhibitor), among others. In 2008, Dr. Gottesdiener was appointed Late Stage Therapeutic Group Leader, and in that role led Merck’s late-stage clinical development efforts (from Phase 2 thru patent expiry) across all therapeutic areas. After Merck’s merger with Schering Plough in 2009, he continued as co-head of late development. Dr. Gottesdiener received his B.A. from Harvard College and his M.D. from the University of Pennsylvania. He completed his residency and fellowship at the Brigham and Women’s Hospital-Beth Israel Medical Center-Dana Farber Cancer Institute Children’s Hospital programs. After his fellowship, Dr. Gottesdiener did postdoctoral research in the laboratory of Dr. Jack Strominger at Dana Farber Cancer Institute working on the molecular immunology of the T-cell receptor. In 1986, he joined the faculty as an assistant professor at Columbia University, started an independent research laboratory with NIH RO-1 funding, focusing on gene transcription, and was Associate Clinical Professor of Medicine at the time he left to join Merck in 1995.
Bart Henderson, MBA | President & Founder
Mr. Henderson has been our President since February 2010 and is a Founder of Rhythm. Previously, he was Entrepreneur-in-Residence at MPM Capital and Chief Business Officer of Radius, where he was a founding employee and led the acquisition of four pipeline programs. Mr. Henderson founded sales and marketing at Vertex when the company launched its first product, broadened its product pipeline, signed corporate partnerships valued at $1.2 billion, and raised $715 million in financing. He founded business development at Microbia (now Ironwood Pharmaceuticals Inc.), which signed its first corporate partnerships and significantly expanded its pipeline during his tenure. In addition, Mr. Henderson held marketing management positions at Amgen and Merck. He holds an MBA from Dartmouth’s Tuck School of Business and a B.A. from Amherst College.
Elizabeth Stoner, MD
| Chief Development Officer & Founder
Dr. Stoner is a Founder of Rhythm and has been our Chief Development Officer since 2010. Dr. Stoner has been a Managing Director at MPM Capital since October 2007. Prior to joining MPM Capital, Dr. Stoner served in various roles, most recently as Senior Vice President of Global Clinical Development Operations at Merck Research Laboratories, or MRL, since 1985. Dr. Stoner currently serves as a director of Radius Health, Inc. and Momenta Pharmaceuticals Inc., and she served as a director of Metabasis Therapeutics, Inc. from 2009 to 2010. Dr. Stoner received an M.D. from Albert Einstein College of Medicine, an M.S. in Chemistry from the State University of New York at StonyBrook and a B.S. in Chemistry from Ottawa University, Kansas.
Lex H.T. Van der Ploeg, PhD | Chief Scientific Officer
Dr. Van der Ploeg has been our Chief Scientific Officer since October 2011. He has more than 25 years of drug development experience focused on obesity, metabolic disorders, oncology, and neurodegenerative diseases. Before joining Rhythm, he was Senior Vice President of Integrative Medicine and Translational Science at Abraxis Bioscience and Head of R&D at Abraxis Health; both companies were acquired by Celgene Corporation. Prior to that, he held R&D leadership roles at MRL directing drug development programs in metabolism, oncology, and neurodegenerative diseases as Vice President, Basic Research and Site Head, MRL Boston; Site Head, MRL San Diego; and Head, Obesity Research for Merck Rahway and Banyu, Japan. Previously, Dr. Van der Ploeg was an associate professor in the Department of Genetics and Development at Columbia University. He has received numerous awards and grants for his research and has published more than 200 peer-reviewed research papers. Dr. Van der Ploeg is a named inventor on more than 50 patents and patent applications. He received an M.S. in Biochemistry from the University of Amsterdam and a Ph.D. in Biochemistry/Enzymology/Genetics from the University of Amsterdam/Netherlands Cancer Institute.