Lex Van der Ploeg is the Founder, President, Chairman, and CSO of RIFFIT, an edtech company focused on AI-enabled digital applications to advance learning and communication for diverse neurological conditions, as well as general communication and entertainment. He is also an advisor to DeuteRx, Neuromity, Rhythm Pharmaceuticals, and Board of Advisors for IRIS Kinetics.
Van der Ploeg is an experienced biotech executive, scientist, and entrepreneur, contributing to the development of novel therapeutics and successful M&A transactions. Over the past ten years, he has played a key role in the development of Rhythm Pharmaceuticals’ setmelanotide (IPO in 2017), the sale of Motus Therapeutics for relamorelin (acquired by Allergan in 2016), and the sale of DeuteRx’s DRX065 (now PXL065 following its 2018 acquisition by Poxel). He also supported the sale of Deuteria Pharmaceuticals to Celgene, the sale of Deuteria assets to Salarius, and the founding of Neuromity.
Prior to RIFFIT, Van der Ploeg was the senior vice president of integrative medicine and translational sciences at Abraxis Bioscience, acquired by Celgene in 2010. He spent 17 years at Merck, establishing and growing the Merck Boston research laboratories, discovering the ghrelin receptor, and contributing to the discovery of the target for ivermectin and the development of vorinostat. Van der Ploeg put over 15 programs into clinical development and guided programs at Banyu Res labs in Japan for ten years, and restructured the Merck San Diego laboratory. Before joining industry, he was a tenured faculty member at Columbia University in infectious diseases.
Van der Ploeg has received numerous awards, has over 250 peer-reviewed publications, and is an inventor on over 70 patents.