Chief Scientific Officer
John Renger, Ph.D., joined Cerevel Therapeutics in 2019 as chief scientific officer. He is responsible for the company’s research initiatives and early clinical development strategy.
Dr. Renger joins Cerevel Therapeutics from Imbrium Therapeutics L.P. where he served as vice president of research and development and regulatory affairs, leading the company’s overall scientific direction and clinical development strategy. Previously, Dr. Renger held roles of increasing responsibility at Merck & Co. over a 15-year tenure, most recently serving as associate vice president, where he led therapeutic target acceleration and translational capabilities for the company’s neuroscience programs.
Throughout his nearly 20 year career, John led teams that advanced more than 40 compounds into clinical development addressing a range of nervous system diseases, including pain, neurodegenerative diseases, adult attention-deficit and hyperactivity disorder, motor symptoms of essential tremor, schizophrenia, and chronic insomnia, among others. He oversaw clinical development of gene knockdown technology platforms to evaluate antisense delivery approaches and worked on multiple teams that have designed PET tracers for clinical use to image therapeutic targets in the brain. He initiated a translational electroencephalogram sleep research lab that was instrumental in the discovery, development, and ultimate regulatory approval of Belsomra® (suvorexant), a first-in-class orexin receptor antagonist, in both the United States and Japan. This achievement represented the discovery of a new treatment approach and is the first and only approved medicine to specifically target sleep-wake neural networks within the brain.
A neuroscientist by training, Dr. Renger was a postdoctoral fellow at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology Center for Learning and Memory. Previously, he worked at the RIKEN Brain Science Institute in Japan. Dr. Renger earned his Ph.D. in biological sciences and neurogenetics at the University of Iowa where he also completed his B.S. in biology. He has published more than 142 peer-reviewed articles, been featured in the popular press, and serves on the board of directors or scientific advisory boards of multiple companies.