It's a rare opportunity for a medicinal chemist to discover a molecule that progresses in the clinic. To discover one that could potentially treat a disease they've suffered from since adolescence is almost unheard of in science. But Ryan Moslin, a senior research investigator at Bristol-Myers Squibb, may have done it.
Since joining Bristol-Myers Squibb's immunology research team in 2010, Moslin has been instrumental in the research and development of TYK2, an investigational inhibitor with the potential to treat autoimmune diseases such as psoriasis – a condition he has.
On his first day, Moslin started working on a small molecule to selectively inhibit TYK2, a member of the Janus (JAK) family of non-receptor tyrosine kinases. The asset recently completed its Phase 2 proof-of-concept trial in adults with moderate to severe plaque psoriasis.
"For medicinal chemists, playing a role like this from start to finish in a drug discovery and development program doesn't really happen more than once a career," Moslin said. "I'm appreciating the moment as much as I can, because it may not happen again."
As a kid, Moslin didn't think he would grow up to be a scientist. Over time, as he honed his natural ability for math and developed an affinity for chemistry, he increasingly embraced what made him different.
He did the same throughout college and graduate school at MIT, where he earned a doctorate in chemistry with a focus on organic synthesis and did post-doctoral research in materials science. Moslin liked that the two routes of study were different, and saw how, when brought together, they could be complementary in working to overcome difficult problems.
When asked what gets Moslin out of bed and into the lab each morning, the answer comes easily.
"It sounds a bit cliché, but I get up because of my kids," he said. "Parenting is a challenge. I do believe that a terrible amount of hard work, patience and love will solve almost any problem. However, there are problems that can't be solved that way. For some of those problems, that's where medicine may come in."
Moslin remembers his own struggles with psoriasis as a teenager. He's able to understand the impact potential new treatments could have on a person's life.
"The idea that you can help… if not your child, then someone else's child – even 10 years down the road – and that someone else is working on something that may help my child one day, is what it's all about," Moslin said. "You come to work for the next generation."