Management Team

Jim O’Mara
President and Chief Executive Officer

Jim brings more than 10 years of GI experience to Neurogastrx after having been one of the original members of the Linzess team at Ironwood Pharmaceuticals. Jim had both commercial and business development responsibilities at Ironwood and left the company as Senior Vice President of Corporate Development. While at Ironwood he developed the initial Linzess commercial profile and directed transaction strategies, deal sourcing, diligence, and negotiations culminating in deals in the US, Europe, Japan and China. Prior to joining Ironwood Jim was Vice President of Corporate Development for Cozint Interactive, one of the first on-line market intelligence companies. Jim started his biotech career at MPM Capital where he was a Vice President focusing on business development transactions for emerging biotech companies. Jim has a BS in Pharmacy from the Massachusetts College of Pharmacy.


Cyril De Colle, PhD
Chief Scientific Officer

Dr. Cyril De Colle, Founder and Chief Scientific Officer, brings over 20 years of experience as a successful pharmaceutical scientist leading multiple discovery stage programs through IND submission and into clinical trials. Prior to Neurogastrx, Cyril served as Vice President, Neuroscience at Kinemed, where he led the neuroscience division advising multiple global and venture backed pharmaceutical companies on drug development programs. Prior to Kinemed, he managed and led clinical stage programs targeting neurological disorders at Jazz Pharmaceuticals (Nasdaq: JAZZ). Dr. De Colle has also served as a Senior Research Scientist at international pharmaceutical companies including Amgen (Nasdaq: AMGN) and Roche Pharmaceuticals where he successfully led neurodegenerative and neuropsychiatric programs from discovery stage into clinical trials. Dr. De Colle began his pharmaceutical research career at Parke-Davis (Pfizer). He received a MS in Pharmacology and a Ph.D. in Neuroscience from the University of Montpellier in France.


Jeffrey M. Johnston, M.D.
Chief Medical Officer

Jeff brings 30 years of clinical development experience in the pharmaceutical and biotechnology industry to his new role at Neurogastrx. As Vice President at Ironwood Pharmaceuticals in Cambridge, MA, he was the architect and leader of linaclotide clinical development from Phase 1 through Phase 3 and NDA submission, review, approval and launch in the US and EU. In addition, he was the Ironwood lead for development with partner companies in Japan (approved) and China (under review). Prior to Ironwood, Dr. Johnston served as Chief Development Officer and Vice President of Drug Development at Critical Therapeutics in Lexington, MA where he led an early phase development program targeting sepsis. He was previously Vice President and Chief Medical Officer at Triangle Pharmaceuticals and spent more than a dozen years in positions of increasing seniority in the clinical development organization at GlaxoSmithKline. He received his BS degree from Davidson College (valedictorian) and MD from Duke University. Prior to joining the pharmaceutical industry Jeff was on the faculty of the University of Utah and the University of Texas at San Antonio Schools of Medicine and, while at GSK he was Clinical Professor of Medicine at the University of North Carolina. He has been elected to fellowship in the American College of Physicians, the American College of Gastroenterology, and the American Gastroenterological Association. His work has been widely published in peer-reviewed journals.


Sara Burke
Head of Program Management

Sara serves as Head of Program Management at Neurogastrx and brings 20 years of experience in the biotech and pharmaceutical industry working on all phases of development from preclinical IND to late stage clinical development projects, both in the US and globally. Most recently, Sara was at Sunovion Pharmaceuticals where she led the NDA submission and subsequent approval of Lonhala Magnair, a drug-device combo for the treatment of COPD, as well as acted as a key contributor to the life cycle management and label expansion of Aptiom for the treatment of epilepsy. Prior to that, Sara was in program and alliance management at Ironwood Pharmaceuticals, serving as international development lead for Ironwood partnerships in the EU, Japan, and China. Sara began her career working in molecular biology laboratories for various small biotech companies, including Archemix and Cereon Genomics. Sara holds a Bachelor’s in Biology from Stonehill College and a Master of Business Administration from Babson College.


Brenda Jeglinski
Head of Clinical Operations

Brenda has been in Clinical Operations for over 18 years. As a well-rounded industry professional, Brenda has worked in various therapeutic areas ranging from psoriasis and MS at Biogen, to rare diseases such as thalassemia at Sideris, and Duchenne muscular dystrophy and Huntington’s disease at Wave Life Sciences. More importantly to Neurogastrx, Brenda was one of the first clinical operations individuals to work on Linzess® (indicated for IBS-C and CIC) at Ironwood Pharmaceuticals, managing the program from early Phase 1 through and including NDA approval. Prior to joining Neurogastrx, Brenda managed a global Phase 3 program in Oncology at Verastem where she successfully led the operations team through agency inspections that ultimately contributed to the approval of Copiktra®, indicated for adult patients with chronic lymphocytic leukemia, small lymphocytic lymphoma and follicular lymphoma. Brenda has a BS in Management Studies from Lesley University.


Steve Wax, M.D., PHD
Head of Clinical Research

Steve Wax, M.D., Ph.D. is a Rheumatologist who has been working in industry since 2005. Steve completed the MD/PhD program at Mount Sinai Medical School in New York. After short tracking residency at Montefiore Medical Center in Bronx, NY, Steve went on to Brigham and Women’s Hospital for Rheumatology fellowship. He then remained on staff for 3 years, doing clinical work and basic research. In 2005, he joined Roche to work on Rheumatoid Arthritis programs. After 2 years, he relocated to Boston and began work at EMD Serono where he stayed until 2019. During this time, he worked on several phase I and 2 programs for immune-related diseases (systemic lupus, rheumatoid arthritis, osteoarthritis, scleroderma, IgA nephropathy, psoriasis). The new challenges and opportunities of working in a dynamic start-up company in the gastrointestinal therapeutic area drew Steve to Neurogastrx.