Somnia Therapeutics is a pre-IND biopharmaceutical company developing a safe, convenient, and affordable pill before bedtime solution that will revolutionize the treatment of obstructive sleep apnea (OSA). Our solution is based on a novel and innovative approach to prevent or alleviate apneas. Our oral drug candidate has been tested in patients and shown to be effective in reducing OSA. We are currently preparing for more extensive clinical trials.


Somnia is a patient-centric biotechnology company formed by a group of scientists, physicians, and pharmaceutical professionals with proven track records in developing novel drugs for unmet needs.

Our Approach

Somnia’s approach focuses the weakening muscles surrounding the upper airway due to sleep and aging, which is one of the main causes for the occurrence of apnea events. Somnia’s drug increases the tonicity of upper airway muscles to avoid the collapses introduced by rhythmic respiratory contractions.


Our company name is inspired by the god in Greco-Roman mythology, the ancients’ personification of dream.
Research has shown that an improvement of obstructive sleep apnea (OSA) during the night reduces daytime sleepiness, improves overall health, helps patients feel more energetic and makes them more productive throughout the day.

the team

We are a team of scientists, physicians, biotech executives, and entrepreneurs with a passion for developing therapies for unmet medical needs.

Jian-Qiang (Jim) Fan, Ph.D. is a scientist, pharmaceutical entrepreneur and the inventor of the Somnia technology for treating OSA. He is committed to delivering this innovative approach to patients. Previously, he was the co-founder of Amicus Therapeutics, Inc (NASDAQ:FOLD) based on pharmacological chaperone therapy (PCT) he developed while a faculty member in the Department of Human Genetics at Mount Sinai School of Medicine.

The FDA-approved drug Galafold for treating Fabry disease was discovered and initially developed in his lab. Dr. Fan was a pioneer in understanding protein misfolding as a mechanism for loss-of-function genetic disorders and in developing PCT technology as a treatment for genetic diseases by rescuing and stabilizing the associated misfolded proteins.

Jim also founded Pfantastic Medical Research Institute (PMRI) as a platform for scientists, physicians, and pharmaceutical professionals with like-minded passions for seeking therapeutic solutions for diseases with unmet needs. Somnia’s sleep apnea treatment was one of the outcomes from PMRI. Jim received his PhD degree from Kyoto University, Japan, and trained as a postdoctoral fellow at Johns Hopkins University.



David Palling, Ph.D. has an extensive career in the pharmaceutical industry (Big Pharma, start-ups and specialty companies). Most recently he was the VP of Manufacturing and Supply Chain at Correvio, a company with sales worldwide in cardiology and infectious disease acute care.

Previously, Dr. Palling was Chief Manufacturing Officer for Symbiomix, a venture-backed company which developed and gained approval for a formulation of secnidazole for treatment of bacterial vaginosis.

Dr. Palling co-started Amicus Therapeutics with Dr. Fan in 2002 and served as their first Head of Development. Earlier, he worked at Roche and J&J. Dr. Palling received BSc and PhD degrees in Chemistry from The University of London, King’s College and carried out post-doctoral research in biochemistry at Brandeis University.

Operations Advisor

Mark Theeuwes has over two decades of pharmaceutical experience, currently Chief Operating Officer of Reunion Neuroscience. Most recently he was President and CEO of Receptor Life Science.

Prior to Receptor, Mark was the COO of Engage Therapeutics where he helped lead the company through a successful Phase 2b efficacy study of the first and only drug-device combination for rapid termination of an active epileptic seizure, which led to the company’s acquisition by UCB.

Prior to that Mark worked in integral commercial and operational roles of increasing responsibility at Egalet, NPS, ViroPharma, OraPharma, J&J and Alza, four of which ended in an acquisition of the company.


Strategic Advisor

Paul Fehlner co-founded and is President & CEO of reVision Therapeutics, Inc., created to reimagine the drug development lifecycle by repurposing products into high-impact, affordable treatments for ophthalmic diseases. He is also the Chief Intellectual Property Counsel for Spyre Therapeutics. Prior to that, he as the Chief Legal Officer and Corporate Secretary for Axcella Therapeutics. Previously, Dr. Fehlner spent nine years as the Head of Intellectual Property for Novartis Pharma in Basel, Switzerland.

Prior to Novartis, Dr. Fehlner practiced intellectual property law with several firms, reaching the level of partner and practice group leader, and served as Biotechnology Patent Counsel for Rhône-Poulenc Rorer. Dr. Fehlner assisted the World Health Organization in design of the COVID-19 Technology Access Pool (C-TAP) in 2020-21, presented at the 2019 Brocher Foundation expert working group on access to cell and gene therapies, and has been named to the IAM Strategy 300 World’s Leading Patent Professionals multiple times.

He earned a JD from Fordham University School of Law, a PhD in immunology and biochemistry from Rockefeller University (Lois P. Markey Fellow), and a BS in chemistry from Haverford College (high honors; Phi Beta Kappa).

Partner, business advisor
Rick is CEO at the strategic communications firm Keating and a senior advisor at McKinsey. Rick and his firm counsel investors and companies on transformational ideas in the life sciences, pharma, and other innovation-driven industries. He is also the founder of pilkrōs®, an ideation and venture collective. Rick graduated from Villanova university and completed the MIT Harvard public disputes and mediation program.