Developing novel therapies for serotonergic driven disorders

Praeventix is focused on the development of novel 5-HT7 receptor antagonists as potential treatments for chronic pruritus, IBD and cocaine use disorder 

About Us

Mission to improve quality of life for those who suffer from serotonergic driven disorders

Praeventix is an early development stage biopharmaceutical company committed to the discovery, research and early clinical development of novel serotonergic therapeutics with potential applications in dermatologic, autoimmune and neurodegenerative diseases.

Praeventix was founded by Dr. Douglas Pippin based on discoveries he researched at Temple University.

We are initially focused on the development of pre-clinical candidate PRA-523, a potential first-in-class neuromodulatory therapy for pruritus and other potential indications, including IBD. In addition, we are researching 5-HT7 modulators for the potential treatment of cocaine use disorder (CUD).

Potential first indication


Pruritus, the urge to scratch due to an unpleasant sensation, is a symptom of many diseases and the most common skin complaint in dermatology


Chronic pruritus (>6 weeks) has an estimated lifetime prevalence of >20% in the general population

Itch-Scratch Cycle

Itch sensation transmitted through C fibers to the cerebral cortex; generates spinal reflex response 

Patient Impact

Pruritus affects sleep, mood, personal relationships and can significantly reduce quality of life 

Unmet Need

Pruritus is currently managed, but not cured, using a range of topical and systemic treatments 

Unmet need in

Atopic Dermatitis

Pruritus is a trademark symptom of atopic dermatitis (AD), affecting all patients regardless of age and disease severity


~20% of children and up to 10% of adults suffer from AD


Chronic inflammatory skin disease characterized by itchy skin lesions and rashes 

Patient Impact

When accompanied by intense scratching, pruritus affects QoL and increases risk of injury 

Unmet Need

Anti-inflammatory agents often used to treat AD, but pruritus left unresolved long-term 

Lead Molecule


A neuromodulatory
5-HT7 receptor antagonist

Our initial focus is on the development of pre-clinical candidate PRA-523, a neuromodulatory 5-HT7 receptor antagonist, as a potential first-in-class treatment for chronic pruritus.

  • Highly potent, selective 5-HT7 antagonist
  • Activity observed in preclinical models of pruritus
  • Peripherally restricted pharmacokinetic profiles
  • Good dermal penetration/permeability

Recent studies have shown that serotonin (5-HT) is a contributing factor to the severity of pruritus, and elevated levels of 5-HT have been reported in patients with AD and chronic eczema.

Our approach to blocking 5-HT7 activation with a selective 5-HT7 antagonist has the potential to offer a first-in-class treatment for the management of pruritus in AD patients.

Our Pipeline

Pursuing novel serotonergic therapeutics

Inflammatory bowel disease (IBD): Over 2MM Americans suffer from IBD, which causes severe, chronic gastrointestinal inflammation. While much of IBD pathophysiology remains unexplained, it is well documented that the innate and adaptive immune systems play major roles.

Cocaine Use Disorder (CUD): In 2021, 1.4MM people in the US over the age of 12 suffered from CUD in the past year. Cocaine prevents dopamine (DA) uptake by dopamine transporters (DAT) and interferes with the normal operation of the mesocorticolimbic dopamine (MCL-DA) system, also known as the reward system Cocaine also blocks norepinephrine and serotonin transporters, and there is substantial interplay between 5-HT signaling and MCL-DA activity.

Our Team

Experienced leadership committed to developing our novel pipeline

Lonnie Moulder

Mr. Moulder (Executive Chair) is the Managing Member of Tellus BioVentures, a life sciences investment fund. Prior to establishing Tellus, Mr. Moulder co-founded TESARO and served as Chief Executive Officer and Director until its acquisition by GlaxoSmithKline. He previously served as President and Chief Executive Officer of Abraxis BioScience. Prior to Abraxis, he served as Vice Chairman of Eisai Corporation of North America following Eisai’s acquisition of MGI PHARMA, where he served as President and Chief Executive Officer. This followed him serving as a member of the founding management team of a venture-stage biotech company. Mr. Moulder began his career as a clinical pharmacist followed by a 17-year career at predecessor companies of Sanofi, beginning with Marion Laboratories.

Mr. Moulder is a Temple University Trustee and a Council Member for both the University of Chicago Booth School of Business and the Polsky Center for Entrepreneurship and Innovation. He serves on the Board of Directors for Zai Lab and Helsinn Group and for the Tellus BioVentures portfolio companies: Aegle Therapeutics, Dianthus Therapeutics, Interius BioTherapeutics, Navrogen, Praeventix, TamuroBio, Vittoria and Zenas BioPharma. Mr. Moulder received a Pharmacy degree from Temple University and an M.B.A from The University of Chicago Booth School of Business.

Dr. Douglas Pippin

Dr. Pippin (Co-Founder, CEO and President, PI/PD) is a scientist, educator, serial biotechnology entrepreneur and corporate executive with deep expertise in drug development. He brings over 20 years of experience in discovering and developing novel therapeutics across a range of areas. Dr. Pippin’s track record of success includes serving in key roles to close a $500M deal with Genentech to discover, develop, manufacture, and commercialize therapeutics and selling Cellular Genomics, Inc. to Gilead, Inc. for $120M. As the Founding CEO of Praeventix, Dr. Pippin has successfully raised $9.1M of funding through non-dilutive competitive grant awards (NIH), public-private partnerships (Temple University School of Pharmacy), and private investment funds (Tellus BioVentures). Over the years, Dr. Pippin’s research group efforts have led to the discovery of 3 clinical candidates, one FDA approved OTC Eczema/anti-pruritic treatment, two follow-on candidates currently in IND enabling studies for AD/pruritus, and numerous late-stage pre-clinical candidates, including symptomatic and disease modifying treatments for arthritis (pre-clinical and clinical), ovarian cancer (Phase II), lung cancer (Phase I), and Lymphoma (Phase II). Dr. Pippin’s discovery efforts over the last five years have been focused primarily on identifying and commercializing novel therapeutic candidates for Pruritus/Inflammation/Addiction/Immunology (Serotonin signaling modulators and Sphingosine-1-Phosphate lyase modulators). Dr. Pippin’s work designing ligands targeting the serotonergic receptor 5-HT7 has led to the discovery of Praeventix’s novel selective lead candidate PRA-523 as a potential first-in-class topical treatment for pruritus.

Heidi Kempinski

Ms. Kempinski (COO) is an experienced R&D and operations executive with over 30 years of experience in global drug development.  Her experience includes the development of large and small molecules and cell and gene therapy products, spanning all development stages through to commercialization.  Ms. Kempinski has successfully built and led integrated R&D operations for companies of variable size and maturity. Ms. Kempinski also serves as Senior Principal and Operating Executive at Tellus BioVentures, LLC, an early-stage life sciences investment fund and Chief Operating Officer for both Aegle Therapeutics and TamuroBio Inc, Tellus Portfolio companies. Previously, she also served as Chief Operating Officer for Zenas BioPharma, a Tellus portfolio company, where she built the R&D organization from the ground to over 50 employees in 2 countries and built and managed a portfolio of 6 IND/clinical stage products.  Prior to Tellus, Ms. Kempinski served as VP of Business Operations and Strategic Alliances at GlaxoSmithKline following the acquisition of TESARO in 2019.  Ms. Kempinski was part of the founding management team of TESARO where she established pharmaceutical development and manufacturing, quality, regulatory, clinical operations, and program management for the company, ultimately leading to multiple, successful development programs, regulatory approvals in >30 countries and product launches in the US and EU. Ms. Kempinski brings fundraising experience through the generation of corporate strategic plans, investor pitch decks, and supporting investor diligence processes resulting in $203.5M Series A-B financing, and the successful acquisition of 3 of her prior companies for a total of $9B. 

Contact Us

Get in touch

Praeventix, Inc.
665 Stockton Drive, Suite 200H
Exton, PA 19341