Charging forward


NOCION is a biopharmaceutical company that is addressing vexing medical problems head on. We are developing “nocions”—a new kind of therapy that selectively affects actively firing nociceptors—to provide targeted, robust and sustained relief for the treatment of serious conditions including cough, itch, pain and inflammation.

Nocions silence inflamed nociceptors —nerves that cause the sensation of pain—while leaving touch and movement neurons unaffected


Create a nocion by ionizing and optimizing a proven sodium channel blocker


Nocions enter inflamed nociceptors through large-pore channels


Nocions get trapped inside the inflamed nociceptors, inhibiting sodium channels and providing long-acting relief

About Our Platform

Anchored in the well-understood physiology of nociceptors, our novel platform develops small molecules called nocions, which preferentially target activated sensory neurons that are responding to external insult. These inflamed sensory neurons are a source of cough, itch, pain and inflammation. More specifically, nocions are designed to only enter activated nociceptors via large-pore channels on these neurons that open in response to insult.

Once inside, nocions block all sodium channels. And because nocions are charged, they do not enter non-nociceptors or redistribute from nociceptors to local cells by passive diffusion. Thus, nocions are essentially trapped inside target cells to provide a targeted, robust and sustained effect that cannot be achieved with traditional small molecule anesthetics.

Our approach is different

Other investigatory approaches to treating neurogenic inflammation include trying to develop molecules that either selectively block Nav 1.7 or antagonize large-pore channels. Both these approaches have been met with limited success due to undesired side effects and/or insufficient efficacy. In contrast, nocions only target activated sensory neurons using large-pore channels as doorways in and block all sodium channels in these cells.

Potential benefits are significant

Nocions offer a number of potential benefits vs standard sodium channel blockers, including:

  • Targeted treatment for inflamed nociceptors
  • Greater potency
  • Longer half-life
  • Lower risk of off-target activity
  • Reduced risk of undesired side effects frequently associated with traditional local anesthetics
  • Topical administration with low systemic exposure
  • Non-CNS, non-opiate treatment of pain

Proof-of-concept demonstrated in vitro and in vivo


A lead compound targeting cough,
with an eye towards a broad range of additional indications

Our focused platform may be applied to a broad range of applications. We’re actively finalizing leads to create a suite of product candidates intended to treat a wide variety of conditions.

Nocion is exploring multiple indications


  • Chronic idiopathic cough
  • Idiopathic pulmonary fibrosis cough
  • Post-infection cough
  • Asthma-COPD overlap syndrome


  • Gynecological pain
    • Vulvodynia
  • Interstitial cystitis
  • Rectal pain
    • Levator ani syndrome
    • Proctalgia fugax


  • Acute post-op pain
  • Burns
  • Complex regional pain syndrome
  • Dental pain
  • Lower back pain
  • Muscle pain
  • Osteoarthritis
  • Peripheral neuropathy


  • Atopic dermatitis
  • Erythromelalgia
  • Hand eczema
  • Post-herpetic neuralgia
  • Pruritus
    • Brachioradial pruritus
    • Chronic idiopathic pruritus
    • Genital/anal pruritus
    • Notalgia paresthetica
    • Scalp pruritus
  • Trigeminal trophic syndrome


  • Abdominal wall pain
  • Esophagitis
  • Hemorrhoids
  • Inflammatory bowel disease
  • Irritable bowel syndrome
  • Oral mucositis
  • Stomach pain
  • Burning Mouth Syndrome


  • Allergic conjunctivitis
  • Dry eye syndrome (chronic ocular pain)
  • Post-surgical ocular pain


Chronic cough is a significant unmet medical need with no proven standard of care. Nocions may provide benefit to patients with chronic idiopathic cough, post-infectious cough, IPF-cough, asthma-COPD overlap syndrome and additional inflammatory respiratory conditions.

Leadership team

Richard P. Batycky, Ph.D.

President & Chief Executive Officer

A natural-born leader with an affinity for start-ups

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Richard P. Batycky, Ph.D.

President & Chief Executive Officer

Rick has been CEO at Nocion since August 2018. He has over two decades of experience in drug development across an array of platforms and disease states, and has been with several start-ups from founding through acquisition. Most recently, he was the Chief Scientific Officer and a founder of Civitas Therapeutics. Civitas was acquired by Acorda, whereupon he became their Chief Technology Officer and Civitas’ lead asset—a novel dry powder inhalation therapy to treat motor issues in Parkinson’s patients—has been approved by the FDA as InbrijaTM.

Rick was previously the Chief Scientific Officer and Sr. Vice President of Research & Development at Pulmatrix. He was previously the Vice President of Research and Development at Alkermes, overseeing many facets of product development across pulmonary, injectable and oral platforms. Rick was an original member of Advanced Inhalation Research (AIR®), where he oversaw product development.

Rick held several academic posts prior to joining AIR. He received his B.Sc. in Chemical Engineering from the University of Calgary and his S.M. and Ph.D. in Chemical Engineering from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT).


Bridget M. Cole, Ph.D.

Senior Vice President of Drug Discovery

Bridget finds solutions—and has the track record to prove it

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Bridget M. Cole, Ph.D.

Senior Vice President of Drug Discovery

Bridget joined Nocion in August 2018, bringing over 20 years of experience advancing compounds from high-throughput screening through phase 2 clinical trials. Most recently, she was the Vice President of Medicinal Chemistry at Axial Biotherapeutics, where she developed microbiome-inspired therapies for the treatment of neurodegenerative conditions.

Prior to Axial, Bridget held the position of Vice President at Flatley Discovery Lab, where she led discovery programs intended to develop and advance compounds for the treatment of cystic fibrosis, including phase 2 clinical candidates, FDL169 and FDL176. Before joining Flatley, she held positions as Vice President at Surface Logix, Associate Director of Chemistry at the Pfizer Research Technology Center and Project Leader in the Pfizer Veterinary Medicine Division.

Bridget holds a B.S. in Chemistry from Boston University and a Ph.D. in Organic Chemistry from Brandeis University.


James L. Ellis, Ph.D.

Chief Scientific Officer

A seasoned drug hunter inspired by science’s endless possibilities

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James L. Ellis, Ph.D.

Chief Scientific Officer

Jim has been CSO at Nocion since July 2018. He has over 20 years leadership experience in drug discovery in multiple therapeutic areas, working in organizations from biotech startups to large pharma. Most recently, Jim lead GSK’s Innovation Hub in Cambridge after serving as Vice President and Head of GSK’s Sirtuin Discovery Performance Unit.

Prior to GSK, Jim was Vice President of Research for Surface Logix and the Executive Project Director and Chief Biology Advisor for NitroMed. Previously, Jim was the Group Director, Allergy & Respiratory Disease and Senior Director of Pharmacology at UCB Pharma where he was responsible for UCB’s global allergy and respiratory franchise research pipeline.

Prior to joining industry, Jim was an Assistant Professor of Medicine at Johns Hopkins University, where he also did his post-doctoral research. Jim received his B.Sc. in Pharmacology from the University of Aberdeen in Scotland and his Ph.D. in Neurobiology from University College London.


Jonathan Garen

Chief Business Officer

A prolific pharma and biotech business executive with a track record of deal making and value creation

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Jonathan Garen

Chief Business Officer

Jon joined Nocion as Chief Business Officer in September of 2021. He has over 20 years of experience in Strategy, Business Development, M&A, and Commercial Planning in companies ranging from large and medium pharma to startup biotech. He has completed over 25 licensing, acquisition, and renegotiations leading to multiple approved products.

Mr. Garen joins Nocion from uniQure, where he served as Chief Business Officer with responsibility for corporate development, commercialization, strategic planning and alliance management. At uniQure, he led the commercial planning for the first in class hemophilia b gene therapy and strategic planning for pipeline development, and completed several transactions to grow the pipeline and partner uniQure’s hemophilia b program with a global pharmaceutical company. Mr. Garen was also a member of the Board of the Alliance for Regenerative Medicine, an international organization focused on the issues facing regenerative medicine and advanced therapies including gene therapy.

Prior to joining uniQure, Mr. Garen was Chief Business Officer at Syros Pharmaceuticals, where he was responsible for business transactions. Before Syros, Mr. Garen was the Assistant Vice President of Business Development at Forest Laboratories where he worked from 2003 to 2015. At Forest Laboratories, Mr. Garen was responsible for numerous acquisitions and license agreements to build the companies’ pipeline in all its focus therapeutic areas, and led a team of business development professionals. Earlier in his career, Mr. Garen was Director of Global Licensing with Pharmacia Corporation and a Founder and Vice President of Technology Exchange, Inc.

Mr. Garen holds a Master of Environmental Studies degree from Yale University and a Bachelor of Science degree in Physics from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology.


Michael M. Lipp, Ph.D.

Senior Vice President of Pharmaceutical Development

A pharmaceutical product development expert from preclinical through commercial

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Michael M. Lipp, Ph.D.

Senior Vice President of Pharmaceutical Development

Mike joined Nocion in August 2019. He has over two decades of experience in pharmaceutical development and drug delivery technologies ranging from the preclinical stage through commercial approval. Most recently, he was Head of Pharmaceutical Development at Civitas Therapeutics through its acquisition by Acorda Therapeutics. Mike was Site Head of the Acorda Waltham R&D Facility and led the efforts related to the Chemistry, Manufacturing and Control (CMC) activities associated with InbrijaTM which was approved by the FDA in 2018 for the treatment of OFF episodes in Parkinson’s Disease.

Mike was previously Vice President of Pharmaceutical Development and Intellectual Property at Pulmatrix where he was a co-inventor of the iSPERSETM pulmonary dry powder technology. Prior to that, he was Director of Formulation Development at Alkermes. Mike began his career as a Post-Doctoral Fellow working with Advanced Inhalation Research (AIR®), where he became a Staff Scientist focusing on pulmonary product development prior to its acquisition by Alkermes.

Mike received his B.S. in Chemical Engineering from Cornell University and his Ph.D. in Chemical Engineering and Materials Science from the University of California, Santa Barbara.  Mike pursued a NIH Postdoctoral Fellowship at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology in the laboratory of Professor Robert S. Langer (one of the Founders of AIR), where he remains a Research Affiliate.


Christopher J. Silber, M.D.

Chief Medical Officer

A dedicated clinical research physician, committed to helping people with innovative therapeutics

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Christopher J. Silber, M.D.

Chief Medical Officer

Chris joined Nocion in August 2020 as Chief Medical Officer, bringing more than 25 years of industry experience and a track record of clinical-regulatory success, developing novel therapeutics.

Before joining Nocion, Chris most recently served as Senior Vice President at Sage Therapeutics where he led clinical development efforts for zuranolone (SAGE-217) for depression indications, and the approval of ZULRESSO™ for post-partum depression. Prior to Sage, Chris served as Chief Medical Officer for Agilis Biotherapeutics (now a subsidiary of PTC Therapeutics), leading gene therapy efforts for rare diseases of the CNS.

During his earlier tenure at Lundbeck (and former Ovation Pharmaceuticals), he led development teams to the approval and commercialization of SABRIL® and ONFI®. Prior to Ovation, he held executive roles of increasing responsibility in clinical research with focus in neuroscience and analgesia at Takeda, Hospira, Abbott and Forest Laboratories.

Chris received his B.A. degree from Tufts University, an M.D. from the State University of New York at Buffalo, and post-graduate training in family medicine at Duke University Medical Center.




Professor in Neurology & Neurobiology,
Harvard Medical School


Professor of Neurobiology,
Harvard Medical School


Chief of Pulmonology & Critical Care
Brigham & Women’s Hospital

Board of Directors


General Partner, Canaan Partners


Partner, Mass General Brigham Venture


Partner, F-Prime Capital


Independent Director


President & CEO, Nocion Therapeutics


Managing Partner, RA Capital


Managing General Partner, Mission BioCapital