Dr. Paul Grothaus is a Program Director in the Translational Research Branch in the Division of Neuroscience. Dr. Grothaus oversees some of the Division’s portfolio on Alzheimer’s disease (AD) and AD-Related Dementias (ADRD) drug discovery.
Dr. Grothaus is a medicinal/natural products chemist with expertise in drug discovery and development. Prior to joining NIH, he spent 27 years in the private sector biotechnology and pharmaceutical industries as a research scientist with increasing levels of influence and responsibility. As an Associate Director of Medicinal Chemistry at Celera Genomics in South San Francisco, he led the chemistry team which designed and synthesized ibrutinib (Imbruvica™), a first-in-class therapy that inhibits Bruton’s tyrosine kinase, a key protein in the B-cell receptor signaling complex. Ibrutinib has received three Oncology Breakthrough Therapy Designations by the FDA and was approved for the treatment of chronic lymphocytic leukemia/small lymphocytic lymphoma (CLL/SLL), mantle cell lymphoma (MCL), and Waldenstrom’s macroglobulinemia (WM).
Dr. Grothaus joined the NCI Developmental Therapeutics Program in 2007 as a chemist in the Natural Products Branch at the Frederick National Laboratory for Cancer Research. There, he coordinated collection and processing of plants, marine invertebrates, and microorganisms to provide extracts which were screened for novel molecules with anticancer activity. He played an integral role in planning and launching the NCI Program for Natural Product Discovery (NPNPD), including development of general fractionation methods adaptable to high-throughput robotic automation. Dr. Grothaus also served on the Discovery Committee and as a Project Lead for the NCI Experimental Therapeutics (NExT) Program, the primary path for extramural researchers to gain access to NCI resources to develop projects toward the clinic.
In 2017, he moved to NCI headquarters at Shady Grove and launched the Stepping Stones preclinical development program whose goal is to provide services to fill identified, discrete gaps so that extramural investigators may build a robust data packet to enable further development of small molecule therapeutics within NExT or with outside resources.