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Michael Luther Ph.D., MBA

Adjunct Professor


For the last two years, Dr. Michael Luther has led North American Business Development efforts for Astellas as Global Head of Search & Evaluation in Business Development and Head of Astellas Ventures to drive deals and investments that support Astellas drug discovery and development efforts from emerging start-ups to acquisition of late-stage clinical assets. This includes over 9 deals including 2 NewCo spinouts in less than two years. Mike has over 35 years’ experience as anentrepreneurial scientist and executive in the biopharmaceutical industry including various senior leadership roles ranging from biotech start-ups to global pharmaceutical companies and CROs.

Before joining Astellas, Mike was the CEO and founder of Bantam Pharmaceutical, a biotechcompany focused on the clinical development of cancer therapeutics targeting the mitochondrial stress response pathway and targets.  He remains an active advisor and member of the board of directors.

In past roles, Mike was the Senior Vice President for Drug Discovery & Development at Curio andfounding CEO for the David H. Murdock Research Institute at the North Carolina Research Campus, a public-private partnership to accelerate bench to market activities in life sciences.

Mike also has over 20 years in senior executive roles in the global pharmaceutical industry includingVice President and head of global drug discovery divisions for both Merck and GSK.  At GSK, he led multiple discovery teams that resulted in the successful launch of 4 novel therapeutics in oncology and metabolic disease as well as initiating the pharmaceutical industry’s initial efforts in precision medicine and drug repositioning. 

Dr. Luther holds Bachelor of Science degrees from North Carolina State University, a doctorate from St. Louis University School of Medicine, and an MBA from Duke University.  He was a Carl Stone Muscular Dystrophy Fellow at The Salk Institute and is the author of over 75 publications andpatents.