Nikola Kojic, MD, PhD - World Medical Innovation Forum
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Nikola Kojic
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Nikola Kojic, MD, PhD

CEO and Co-Founder, Oryon Cell Therapies

Nikola Kojic, MD-PhD is CEO and co-founder of Oryon Cell Therapies, Inc. – a novel startup company devoted to realizing the promise of regenerative medicine to fundamentally transform the treatment of brain diseases. Oryon’s initial focus is on Parkinson’s disease and the use of autologous (patient’s own) cell therapy to help restore normal motor function. The scientific basis of Oryon comes from the work of its co-founder and renowned Parkinson’s cell therapy expert Prof. Ole Isacson of McLean Hospital and Harvard Medical School. Oryon Cell Therapies was incubated at Takeda Pharmaceuticals, where Dr. Kojic served as Entrepreneur in Residence. Prior to Takeda, Dr. Kojic was Head of Biology Discovery at VL51 – an early stage Flagship Pioneering neuroscience company. Before Flagship, Dr. Kojic served in various key roles at Portal Instruments, a clinical stage biotech company developing a revolutionary needle-free subcutaneous injection platform. He joined Portal as employee #3, when it was an MIT spinoff from the lab of MIT Prof. Ian Hunter. He remained the only MD and PhD during his tenure, which included head of clinical and scientific development and culminating as Vice President of Clinical Development. Over this 4-year period Dr. Kojic helped grow the company to 40 people, and in late 2017 Portal closed a $100M development deal with Takeda Pharmaceuticals for their blockbuster IBD drug Entyvio. Prior to Portal, Dr. Kojic had a prolific academic career, which took him from a Mechanical Engineering undergrad at UC Berkeley to MIT for a MS in Mechanical Engineering, where in a series of first-author papers he helped uncover how spiders produce their miraculous silk fibers. After his MS, Dr. Kojic then received his MD-PhD through the Harvard Medical School – MIT program (HST). His PhD mentor was Dr. Jeff Drazen, who was the editor-in-chief of the New England Journal of Medicine and Distinguished Parker B. Francis Professor of Medicine at Harvard Medical School. While in Dr. Drazen’s lab, Dr. Kojic focused on asthma and helped elucidate fundamental mechanisms of how mechanical stimuli are transduced by airway epithelial cells and lead to asthma progression. After his medical training at Harvard Medical School (MD), he completed two postdocs: one at Tufts University working on novel silk-based biomaterials and one at the Center for Engineering in Medicine at Massachusetts General Hospital where he made key contributions in the area of cancer metastasis and circulating tumor cells. During his academic career, Dr. Kojic published over 25 peer-reviewed papers (>10 first author) in various journals such as Nature, Biophysical Journal, Experimental Biology, and authored a textbook entitled Computer Modeling in Bioengineering (published by John Wiley) in addition to holding two patents.

the Future of Medicine and AI

May 11–13, 2020 | Boston, MA