About Us

Vision

  • We strive to eradicate difficult-to-treat and incurable diseases
  • We aspire to continuously innovate and develop technologies for efficiently improving the efficacy and safety of novel drugs

Mission and Objectives

  • To improve the quality of life in patients afflicted with incurable diseases with next-generation cell & gene therapy
  • To engineer mini-Organs with different genetic backgrounds (e.g., polymorphisms, missense/deletion/insertion mutations) for designing new therapeutics tailored for genetic diversity in the patient population
  • To capitalize on our proprietary and ever-advancing mini-Life Platform, our subsidiary, Novoheart, engineers a range of biomimetic human mini-Organs for effectively screening and accurately developing novel next-generation therapeutics for various incurable diseases at significantly reduced time and cost, thereby, maximizing the benefits while minimizing the side effects for patients
  • To build upon our bioengineered human tissue-based assays for disease modelling and drug discovery, our subsidiary, Sardocor, aspires to create the shortest regulatory path to the clinic for advancing effective next-generation cell & gene therapy
  • To complement our cell & gene therapy, we also have small molecule programs for treating a variety of diseases at different stages

Key Milestones

1997

gene therapy proof-of-concept study performed in a rat model of heart failure by Dr. Roger Hajjar at Harvard University

1999

translational gene therapy study performed in failing human heart cells isolated in cardiac transplant by Dr. Roger Hajjar

 
2000

Dual gene therapy modulates excitability and contractility in guinea pig by Dr. Ronald Li and his colleagues

 
2005

Intracoronary delivery in the pre-clinical pig model of heart failure by Dr. Roger Hajjar

genetically engineered human heart muscle cells derived from human embryonic stem cell by Dr. Ronald Li’s team

American Heart Association’s Best Basic Study of the Year

2006

Gene-Based Biological Pacemaker by Dr. Ronald Li’s team

American Heart Association’s Ground-breaking Study of the Year

2007

-in-man gene therapy trial for heart failure in the U.S. by Dr. Roger Hajjar

American Heart Association’s Best Basic Study of the Year

Patented technology for driving maturation of human heart cells by Dr. Ronald Li’s team

 
2008

lab grown rat “heart-in-a-jar” by Dr. Kevin Costa

 

Invention of Alignment technology – groundwork for the human ventricular Cardiac Anisotropic Sheet (hvCAS) by Drs. Ronald Li and Michelle Khine

 
2010

Rat engineered cardiac tissue – Precursor to human ventricular Cardiac Tissue Strip (hvCTS) by Dr. Kevin Costa

2013

human “heart-in-a-jar” prototype created and tested by Dr. Ronald Li and Dr. Kevin Costa

2014

Medera’s subsidiary, Novoheart, was established in 2014 to focus on Disease Modelling and Drug Discovery

hvCTS published by Drs. Ronald Li and Kevin Costa

Pfizer and Novoheart undertook a double-blinded drug screening study using the mini-Heart technology

 
2015

human “heart-in-a-jar” created in Li and Costa lab

 
2016

IND approval for novel gene therapy to inhibit phosphatase activity in heart failure

demonstration of gene editing to correct inherited cardiomyopathy in an engineered cardiac tissue strip model by Drs. Kevin Costa and Roger Hajjar

 

human mini-Heart models of Friedreich’s Ataxia was successfully co-developed by Novoheart and Pfizer

 
2017

Novoheart was dual listed on Toronto and Frankfurt Stock Exchanges

 

Landmark Study Demonstrating the Use of Machine Learning to Accelerate Drug Screening

 

Patent on Pioneering New Multi-organoid Bioreactor Platform

 
2018
Novoheart was awarded Top 50 Innovative Biotechnology Enterprises by KPMG

Development of a high-throughput cardiac contractility screening system with Amgen

 
2019

Drs. Roger Hajjar and Ronald Li co-founded Sardocor to develop next-generation gene therapies for heart failure and other difficult-to-treat diseases

 

Exclusive Agreement with Harvard University to Develop Next-Generation Human Heart-in-a-Jar

 

Partnership with AstraZeneca to co-develop the world’s first human mini-Heart model of Heart Failure with preserved Ejection Fraction (HFpEF)

 
2020

Novoheart Named 2020 Venture 50 Company Ranked Among the Year’s Top Performing Stocks in Life Sciences

 

1000 doses of Sardocor’s gene therapy drug SRD001/2 are available for patient injection

 

Novoheart was privatized, moved to the U.S. and restructured for merging with Sardocor to create a one-stop platform for disease modelling and drug discovery all the way to clinical trials

2021

Sardocor was granted an open IND from the FDA to start gene therapy clinical trials for Heart Failure with preserved Ejection Fraction (HFpEF) and reduced Ejection Fraction (HFrEF)

2022-2023

Sardocor’s HFpEF, HFrEF and Duchenne Muscular Dystrophy (DMD) are anticipated to enter Phase 2B

Our Team

Senior Management

Ronald Li, PhD
Chairman, Chief Executive Officer & Founder

Jonathan Plehn, MD
Chief Medical Officer

Jeffrey Rudy
Chief Operating Officer

Kevin Costa, PhD
Chief Scientific Officer & Scientific Co-Founder

Erin Roberts, PhD
Deputy Chief Scientific Officer (Bioengineering)

Kenneth KC Wong
Vice-Chairman

Scientific Co-Founders

Ronald Li, PhD
Chairman, Chief Executive Officer & Founder

Roger Hajjar, MD
Scientific Co-Founder

Kevin Costa, PhD
Chief Scientific Officer & Scientific Co-Founder

External Advisors

Celina Chew, Senior Advisor to Chairman and CEO

  • Former President of Bayer Greater China and Country Group Head for Bayer, North ASEAN region
  • Over 25 years experience of corporate experience covering executive management, legal and compliance

Scientific Advisory Board

Medera takes a multi-disciplinary approach to broadly focus on the discovery and development of next-generation therapeutics for some of the most challenging incurable diseases. Our SAB members, who are world-renowned authorities in their own specialties with diverse expertise, steer our scientific directions by making recommendations to Medera’s Senior Management and Board of Directors.

Disease Modelling & Drug Discovery

Mark Mercola, PhD

  • Professor of Medicine, Cardiovascular Research Institute, Stanford University. Former faculty at Harvard Medical School and University of California, San Diego
  • Recipient of NIH MERIT award for his work on heart formation
  • Dr. Mercola is known for identifying numerous pathways that are responsible for inducing and forming the heart, including the discovery that Wnt inhibition is a critical step in cardiogenesis that provided the conceptual basis and reagents for the large-scale production of cardiovascular tissues from pluripotent stem cells
  • Dr. Mercola’s academic research is focused on developing and using quantitative high throughput assays of patient-specific cardiomyocyte function to discover drug targets for preserving contractile function in heart failure and promoting regeneration following ischemic injury
Leslie Tung, PhD

  • Professor and Immediate Past Director of the Department of Biomedical Engineering at the Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine
  • Dr. Tung’s research involves the study of functional properties of engineered networks of living cardiac cells at varying structural levels that include single cells, cell strands, 2D sheets, and 3D tissue
  • His research examines how electrical waves propagate in heart cells grown in a dish as a model system to study mechanisms for cardiac arrhythmias (otherwise known as irregular heartbeats)

Heart Failure with preserved Ejection Fraction (HFpEF)

Barry Borlaug, MD

  • Professor of Medicine; Consultant and Chair for Research, Division of Circulatory Failure, Department of Cardiovascular Medicine; and Consultant, Division of Interventional Cardiology, Department of Cardiovascular Medicine, at the Mayo Clinic, Rochester, Minnesota
  • Named World Top 2% scientists 2021 by Stanford University
  • Dr. Borlaug’s research interests focus on the mechanisms, diagnosis and treatment of heart failure, particularly heart failure with preserved ejection fraction, with emphasis on hemodynamics
  • Dr. Borlaug is an active member of the American College of Cardiology, American Heart Association, Heart Failure Society of America, International Society for Heart and Lung Transplantation, and the Society of Cardiac Angiographers and Interventionalists
Benjamin Levine, MD

  • Professor of Internal Medicine Cardiology and Distinguished Professor of Exercise Sciences at the University of Texas Southwestern Medical Center
  • Founded the Institute for Exercise and Environmental Medicine (IEEM) in 1992 which has become one of the premier laboratories in the world for the study of human clinical and integrative physiology
  • Elected to the Association of University Cardiologists, the American Association of Physicians, received the Michael J. Joyner International Teaching Award from the Danish Cardiovascular Research Academy, and has been selected as one of the “Best Doctors” for cardiovascular medicine in Dallas and America multiple times
  • Renowned sports cardiologist who sees athletes with cardiovascular medical problems from around the world and serves as a consultant to the NCAA, the NHL, the NFL, the USOC, USA Track and Field, and other athletic organizations

Michael Zile, MD

  • Professor of Medicine at the Medical University of South Carolina
  • Director of Cardiology in Ralph H. Johnson VA Medical Centre of Veteran’s affairs Medical Center in Charleston
  • Adjunct professor of bioengineering at Clemson University
  • Dr. Zile is a recognised leader in the area of cardiac function, CHF, diastolic heart failure and valvular heart disease
  • Dr. Zile’s research is supported by grants from National Heart, Lung and Blood Institute, the AHA, the Department of Veteran Affairs and MUSC

Heart Failure with reduced Ejection Fraction (HFrEF)

Jean-Sébastien Hulot, MD

  • Professor of Medicine, Pharmacology at Paris University, Paris, France
  • Team Leader, Heart Failure Translation Research Lab, Paris Cardiovascular Research Center
  • Associate Professor of Medicine, Cardiology at the Cardiovascular Research Center at Mount Sinai School of Medicine in New York, USA from 2010-2014
  • Dr. Hulot leads an INSERM-labelled research team investigating on novel molecular mechanisms that drive heart failure
  • Dr. Hulot’s research focus is elucidation of mechanisms that drive pathological cardiac remodelling, including adverse fibrotic remodelling

Duchenne Muscular Dystrophy (DMD)

Dongsheng Duan, PhD

  • Margaret Proctor Mulligan Professor in Medical Research Professor
  • Curators Distinguished Professor, School of Medicine, University of Missouri
  • Dr. Duan’s major research interest in understanding and treating Duchenne Muscular Dystrophy, with focus on the molecular and cellular biology of the disease gene, the disease mechanism and possible genetic therapies for the disease
  • Dr. Duan was part of a team that identified a key genetic sequence which is instrumental in DMD, which led to the successful treatment of dogs with the disease
  • Dr. Duan has received numerous recognitions including the American Society of Gene Therapy’s Outstanding New Investigator award

Pat Furlong, MS, BSN

  • Founding President and Chief Executive Officer of Parent Project Muscular Dystrophy (PPMD), the largest non-profit organization in the United States focused on Duchenne Muscular Dystrophy
  • Served on the boards of the Genetic Alliance and the National Organization for Rare Disorders, the National Institutes of Health’s Muscular Dystrophy Coordinating Committee, the Institute of Medicine’s Committee on Pediatric Studies Conducted Under BPCA and PREA, and the FDA’s Molecular and Clinical Genetics Panel
  • Named among the Top 50 Orphan Drug Thought-Leaders by the World Orphan Drug Congress in 2014
  • Received numerous awards including 2012 Global Genes | RARE Champion of Hope Advocacy Award and the 2008 Research!America Advocacy Award

Michael Taylor, MD, PhD

  • Director of Advanced Imaging Innovation at Cincinnati Children’s Hospital Medical Center, Professor of Pediatrics at the University of Cincinnati
  • Dr. Taylor’s research focuses on determining whether changes in the properties of heart muscle — as imaged by cardiac magnetic resonance (MR) — can provide accurate diagnosis and important prognosis for pediatric cardiology patients
  • Ongoing studies in Dr. Taylor’s group include Duchenne Muscular Dystrophy, heart transplantation, single ventricle and myocarditis
  • Clinically, Dr. Taylor’s group is focused on non-invasive imaging of congenital and acquired heart diseases