Collectively our team brings decades of experience in successful drug development and a passion to provide real alternatives to the millions of patients with disorders of the CNS.

Our Motivation

Though the brain plays such a critical role in our bodies, it’s interconnections have until recently been poorly understood.  Consequently, very few targeted medications have been developed to help those suffering from serious central nervous system (CNS) disorders. Significant unmet medical need persists in this area, and the field has seen little innovation in the advancement of effective therapies.

Over 50% of the world’s population will suffer from a serious central nervous system (CNS) disorder at some point in their lives. Neurological and neuropsychiatric disorders inflict higher treatment and productivity costs than cancer, cardiovascular disease, and diabetes combined. Years of life are lost for these patients, and many face years ahead with a severe disability that impedes everyday living.

Despite existing therapy options (many of which are widely prescribed), many patients remain untreated or poorly treated with persistent symptoms that are often disabling. 

Despite this need, many in the pharmaceutical industry have abandoned the search for novel drug treatments, developing only biosimilars including generic drugs with slightly tweaked chemistry. The mechanism of action for the most widely used antidepressants, anxiolytics, and antipsychotic drugs remains nearly the same as their 1950s prototypes. 

Changing brain function in specific, targeted ways is a complex endeavor. There are over 86 billion nerve cells in the human brain, which is more than 12 times the number of people on earth. Our nerve cells are connected by trillions of nerve fibers, axons and dendrites, the firing of which creates our thoughts, feelings, and actions.

To explore this incredibly complex process, MapLight’s founders have developed remarkable new technologies to investigate the circuitry of the human brain. These tools are mapping unexpected “worlds” in the brain, like the invention of the telescope that led us to map and understand the solar system. MapLight is using these new precision neuroscience methods to identify and validate novel therapeutic approaches to address CNS disorders. Our unique combination of optogenetic animal models and spatial transcriptomics enables the discovery of novel drug targets to treat the defining symptoms of these challenging disorders and to bring hope and relief to the countless patients suffering from serious central nervous system (CNS) disorders.

Leadership Team

Christopher Kroeger, M.D., MBA

Chief Executive Officer, Founder, Board Member
Chris is the CEO and cofounder of MapLight Therapeutics. Chris brings more than 20 years of experience leading, building and advising development-stage therapeutic and medical device companies, combined with the expertise of a physician and scientist.
More >

James Lillie, Ph.D.

Chief Scientific Officer
Jim is the Maplight’s Chief Scientific Officer. He leads the Company’s preclinical research and development efforts. 
More >

Anatol Kreitzer, Ph.D.

Chief Discovery Officer
Anatol is MapLight’s Chief Discovery Officer and leads the Company’s platform development and target discovery efforts.
More >

Jonathan Gillis, CPA, MSA

Chief Financial Officer
Jon is MapLight’s Chief Financial Officer. He is responsible for all of the Company’s finance functions and leads the management of general and administrative operations. 
More >


(in addition to those referenced above)

Karl Deisseroth

Karl Deisseroth is the D.H. Chen Professor of Bioengineering and of Psychiatry and Behavioral Sciences at Stanford University, and Investigator of the Howard Hughes Medical Institute.
More >

Robert Malenka, M.D., Ph.D.

Founder, Board Member
Dr. Robert C. Malenka is the Pritzker Professor of Psychiatry and Behavioral Sciences, Director of the Nancy Pritzker Laboratory and Deputy Director of the Wu Tsai Neurosciences Institute.
More >

Karoly Nikolich

CEO, Alkahest, Inc.; Venture Partner, Pivotal bioVentures; Adjunct Professor, Stanford University Medical School
Karoly Nikolich led Genentech’s entry into neuroscience during the 1980s and led and participated in the development of numerous protein therapeutics.
More >

Board of Directors

(in addition to those referenced above)

Peter Bisgaard

Mr. Bisgaard joined Nan Fung Life Sciences in 2017. He was previously a Senior Partner at Novo Ventures (US) Inc. since 2009. As part of Novo’s senior team, he was responsible for Novo Ventures’ overall investment and portfolio strategy as well as the ongoing development of the Novo Ventures team in the US. Prior to that, Mr. Bisgaard was with Novo A/S since 2001 in Denmark.
More >

George Pavlov

George Pavlov is the CEO of a single family office located in Silicon Valley, where he oversees a broad range of activities, including philanthropy.
More >