Ken Bartizal has over 35 years of anti-infective (antibacterial, antifungal, antiviral) drug discovery, evaluation, and development experience in the pharmaceutical industry. He began his pharmaceutical career at Pfizer Central Research in Antibiotic Drug Discovery. Then, embarking on a 20-year career at Merck, he was ultimately promoted to Executive Director and Head of Infectious Diseases.

Key accomplishments during Dr Bartizal’s tenure at Merck included discovery through marketing approval of the first echinocandin antifungal agent, caspofungin (Cancidas®). Similarly, he oversaw development for marketing approval of ertapenem (Invanz®)— Merck’s carbapenem antibiotic for antibiotic-resistant bacteria—and was the lead nonclinical contributor to its IND and NDA filings. Dr Bartizal also brought to clinical development the azalide antibiotic gamithromycin (Zactran®) in animal health for the treatment of bovine and swine respiratory diseases, and a semisynthetic isoxazoline insecticide (Bravecto®) for oral treatment of flea and tick infestations in companion animals.

After Merck, Dr Bartizal served as CDO at Trius Therapeutics, leading development of tedizolid (Sivextro®) from pre-IND to NDA filing (acquired by Cubist Pharmaceuticals, then by Merck). Afterwards, he served as CDO at Cidara Therapeutics, developing the once weekly echinocandin rezafungin (Rezzayo®)—approved by the FDA in 2023 for the treatment of candidemia and invasive candidiasis. He also serves as part-time CSO at Curza Therapeutics, developing a broad-spectrum antibacterial monotherapy addressing multi-drug resistant gram-negative and -positive pathogens. Dr Bartizal received his BS, MS, and PhD degrees from the University of Notre Dame.