Franz Hefti, PhD


Franz Hefti is chief development officer of Prevail Therapeutics, and former president and interim chief executive officer of Proclara. He has 20 years of experience in the pharmaceutical and biotechnology industry and more than a decade of experience in academia. Prior to joining Proclara, Hefti was the chief scientific officer at Avid Radiopharmaceuticals, a company developing a diagnostic agent for Alzheimer’s disease and that was acquired by Eli Lilly in 2010. Before that, he led the drug development efforts as the executive vice president of drug development at Rinat Neuroscience Corporation. During his tenure at Rinat, three antibody drug candidates advanced from the discovery stage through preclinical and clinical development, and the success of these programs led to the acquisition of Rinat Neuroscience by Pfizer in 2006. Previously, Hefti was the senior vice president of neuroscience research at Merck and Co., and the director of the neuroscience research department at Genentech. Earlier in his career, he spent more than a decade in academia as a professor at the University of Southern California and an associate professor at the University of Miami, where he carried out seminal research on therapeutic applications of neurotrophic factors. He received a doctorate with honors from the University of Zurich and completed his postdoctoral research at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology and the Max Planck Institute in Munich.

Hefti has published over 250 papers on neurotrophic factors and topics in neuropharmacology. He currently serves on the boards of directors of several biotech companies pursuing novel therapies in neuroscience-related diseases.