Michael Tocci, Ph.D.
Dr. Michael Tocci has more than 35 years of experience in pharmaceutical drug discovery and development and has held key leadership positions at Merck, Cell & Molecular Technologies, and Sanofi. He has published over 50 papers in leading journals and contributed translational studies to the clinical development of SAR113244, SAR156597, Sarilumab, Dupilumab, and Aubagio®.
After graduating from the SUNY College at Cortland he went on to obtain his PhD in virology from the Milton S. Hershey Medical Center, and conducted postdoctoral studies at the Roche Institute for Molecular Biology. He joined Merck Research Laboratories in 1981, where he became Director of Molecular Immunology, focusing on the role of cytokines, chemokines, and inflammatory mediators in immune and inflammatory diseases. He is best known for leading efforts to elucidate the molecular mechanism of action of the immunosuppressants, Cyclosporin A and Tacrolimus, and for the discovery and characterization of Caspase 1, the enzyme responsible for processing Interleukin-1 to its active form. After leaving Merck, he co-founded Cell & Molecular Technologies, Inc., a biotech specializing in contract research. Dr. Tocci joined Sanofi’s predecessor Aventis Pharma in 2001, as US Head of Genomic Sciences, and later became Vice President & Global Head of Immuno-inflammation Drug Discovery & Preclinical Development for Sanofi. He has served as a reviewer for numerous scientific journals and on grant review committees for both government and private foundations. Currently, Dr. Tocci serves as the Associate Dean of Research for the New Jersey Center for Science, Technology & Mathematics at Kean University and is a recognized expert in translational research in modern drug discovery.