About Us

New England Discovery Partners (NEDP) is a chemistry contract research organization (CRO) that specializes in synthetic and medicinal chemistry, and structure-based drug design. Our experience, dedication and commitment to quality makes us an ideal partner for discovery stage research.

Senior Staff

Michael Van Zandt, Ph.D., President & CEO

Michael is an accomplished synthetic organic and medicinal chemist with more than 20 years of experience in large and small pharmaceutical company environments.  Before founding NEDP, Michael was a department head and project leader for The Institute for Pharmaceutical Discovery (IPD) where he successfully managed multiple programs by building strong scientific teams focused on exceeding performance expectations and effective communication.

While at IPD, Michael co-led the aldose reductase project team which ultimately resulted in the identification and clinical development of lidorestat for treatment of diabetic complications (Phase II).  Before joining IPD, Michael was a medicinal chemist at the pharmaceutical division of Bayer, where he played a prominent role in the discovery of tanomastat, a first-in-class MMP inhibitor for treatment of osteoarthritis and cancer that progressed through Phase III clinical development.

Michael received his Ph.D. in Organic Chemistry with a minor in Biochemistry while working with Distinguished Professor Carl R. Johnson at Wayne State University.  Michael also has a strong interest in neglected parasitic diseases and is committed to the discovery and development of new medications to improve world health. Michael is an inventor on more than 30 issued patents and author on more than 20 publications in peer-reviewed journals.  He is a frequent reviewer for the Journal of Medicinal Chemistry and Bioorganic Medicinal Chemistry Letters.

G. Erik Jagdmann, Jr, Ph.D., Principal Scientist

After receiving his Ph.D. from Princeton University under the guidance of Professor E. C. Taylor, Erik went on to a postdoctoral fellowship with Professor A. I. Meyers at Colorado State University.  He has over 25 years of industrial experience in the pharmaceutical and biotechnology industries, including 11 years as a group leader with Eli Lilly, North Carolina Labs.  His experience has spanned all phases of discovery chemistry including hit generation, parallel synthesis, lead optimization, early process development and scale-up.  He is particularly successful at developing highly efficient, scalable and cost-effective syntheses for complex medicinal chemistry targets, natural products and metabolites.  Erik has over 40 publications and patents.

Darren Whitehouse, Ph.D., Principal Scientist

Darren is a highly skilled synthetic organic and medicinal chemist with over 15 years experience in large pharma and biotech companies.  Before joining NEDP, Darren was a Sr. Staff Scientist, lab head and project leader at the Institutes for Pharmaceutical Discovery (IPD), where he led multidisciplinary teams in NIDDM and Insulin Resistance programs.  Prior to joining IPD, Darren was a research fellow at Neurogen Corp., and a medicinal and combinatorial chemist at Bristol-Myers Squibb PRI.

Darren received his Ph.D. in natural product synthesis from the University of Manchester, UK from the research group of Professor E. Jim Thomas, and has carried out post-doctoral research with Professor Dieter Enders (RWTH-Aachen, Germany), Professor Dennis C. Liotta (Emory University) and Dr. David J. Austin (Yale University).  He has expertise in many areas of medicinal chemistry, from lead generation to lead optimization and early process scale-up work, and has experience of multiple therapeutic areas.  To date, he has over 40 issued patents, journal and book publications and invited presentations.