Company Lead, Viridia Life Sciences and EmpathBio

Dean Carson, Ph.D.

Dr. Dean Carson joined atai Life Sciences as Entrepreneur in Residence in 2022. After 3 months, he transitioned to CEO of two of atai’s wholly owned subsidiaries, Viridia Life Sciences and EmpathBio.

Previously, Dean was Vice President of Scientific Affairs at Saniona, Inc., a Copenhagen headquartered biotech company focused on the development of ion-channel targeting compounds for rare neurological and metabolic diseases. He was a key member of the financing team responsible for raising significant funds to build out Saniona’s Boston office and was a senior member of the clinical development team that successfully shepherded several compounds through early to mid-stage clinical trials.

Prior to that he was founder and CEO of Katana Pharmaceuticals, Inc., a San Francisco based biotech focused on the development of novel treatments for underserved neonatal and pediatric conditions. Katana’s assets were acquired in 2020. He has held multiple other senior management positions, including as Vice President of US Operations for the Australian neurotech Anatomics and Director of Translational Medicine at the Stanford spin-off Trigemina. Dean was also a member of Janssen’s medical affairs team where he was involved in pre-commercial launch activities for SPROVATO® (esketamine). As a biotech consultant Dean has also supported multiple European companies build a US presence through financing activities, clinical development strategy, and medical affairs.

Dean is a neuroscientist and psychopharmacologist by training. He holds a bachelor’s degree in psychology and behavioral neuroscience from the University of New South Wales (Sydney), a PhD in neuropharmacology from the University of Sydney, and completed a postdoctoral research fellowship in psychiatry and behavioral sciences at Stanford University. He has over 30 scientific publications and multiple issued patents.

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