Michael Pape
Michael Pape
Esperion Theraputics

Dr. Pape is President and CEO of Nymirum and a Founding Partner of Sigvion Capital, a life-science venture capital firm.  Dr. Pape has worked in both large pharmaceutical companies and startup life science companies. At Upjohn and Parke-Davis/Warner-Lambert (now Pfizer) he was instrumental in the success of numerous cardiovascular drug discovery and development programs including Lipitor and other novel drugs. He has published dozens of articles detailing the biochemistry that underlies atherosclerosis, diabetes, and obesity. Dr. Pape left Pfizer in 1998 to co-found Esperion Therapeutics, a biopharmaceutical company focused on developing novel cardiovascular therapeutics. He was involved in nearly all aspects of building Esperion, from its startup to its acquisition by Pfizer for $1.3 billion in 2004.

Dr. Pape is co-founder of Esperion Therapeutics, Akebia Therapeutics, Nymirum, and Sigvion Capital.

Dr. Pape received his bachelor’s degree in Microbiology from the University of Michigan, Ph.D. in Biochemistry from Purdue University, and MBA from the University of Chicago, Booth School of Business.

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QWhat does it take to be an entrepreneur?

A You have to leave something behind, step out and give it a big try. I don't think that differs from person to person.

Q Lipitor is the most successful drug ever developed. You were at Parke Davis on the development team working on the next generation of heart disease drugs. What was the team's goal?

A Lipitor lowers LDL, which is your bad cholesterol. We were looking at ways we could raise HDL, which is your good cholesterol, to reduce heart disease - regress it. This hadn't been done before. Lipitor only prevents it from getting worse.

QYou didn't stay with that?

A We did. We just took a different approach but not within the walls of "Big Pharma." We got a call asking whether we'd be interested in leaving a big company and starting a biotech company based on some technology that came out of the Pharmacia and Upjohn merger in the mid-'90s. That technology was to infuse HDL particles which could reduce the plaque burden level in arteries.

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