InMed Pharmaceuticals is pleased to welcome the BayMedica team following its acquisition in October 2021. Meet Dr. Jim Kealey, our VP of Synthetic Biology.
Jim talks about his background in yeast and E.coli biosynthesis and applying his expertise in fermentation to overcome some of the supply challenges of producing enough product for testing of therapeutics. Jim and his BayMedica colleagues were the first to produce a lichen polyketide in yeast, which is relevant for the production of cannabinoids because the natural cannabinoid consists of a polyketide core structure.
Dr. Jim Kealey has an extensive background in biochemistry, molecular biology, enzymology and synthetic biology. He has focused his research efforts using these skills to engineer organisms, including yeast, to produce small molecules, pharmaceuticals, and biofuels. At Intrexon, Jim built and managed a large research team that developed pioneering methods and platforms to convert inexpensive methane into higher value products. His use of a Design-Build-Test-Learn approach allowed him to grow his cross-functional team to 30+ members while rapidly engineering molecules from proof of concept to pilot commercialization scale.
Jim was previously at Amyris where he and his colleagues were focused on the rapid engineering and development of S. cerevisiae to produce terpenes for industrial applications – (terpenes are common compounds in cannabis). While at Kosan Biosciences, Jim led groups that focused on the production of polyketides – a class of molecules that include anticancer, antibiotic and cannabinoids.
Jim earned a BA in Biochemistry & Molecular Biology of UC Santa Cruz and a PhD in Pharmaceutical Chemistry from UCSF.