Featured image for post: Brett A. English, Pharm.D., Ph.D.

Brett A. English, Pharm.D., Ph.D.

Vice President of Scientific Affairs and Clinical Development

An accomplished clinical researcher, basic scientist, and psychiatric pharmacist, Dr. English joined Apex in 2021 to provide strategic direction and leadership to the Scientific Affairs team, medical/scientific guidance and training to clinical project teams, and consultation and support services to pharmaceutical companies. Specialized in translational neurosciences, he has deep expertise in early phase program planning and electrophysiology, imaging, and pharmacodynamic biomarker applications.

Dr. English brought with him to Apex over 15 years of experience as a clinical scientist and Principal Investigator on investigator-initiated and industry-sponsored Phase I-III trials in CNS disorders. He also has experience serving as a Product Team Lead and Clinical Development Lead for numerous compounds in early phase development in the CNS therapeutic area. In addition to his clinical research experience, Dr. English has experience in basic biomedical research, including preclinical models of neuropsychiatric disorders utilizing several in-vitro and in-vivo behavioral and physiological experimental paradigms. He has also utilized novel high-throughput pharmacogenetic screening methods to discover novel variants in neuro-transporter proteins and their association with psychiatric disorders.

Work History

Prior to joining Apex, Dr. English spent three years at Arena Pharmaceuticals. He served as the Senior Director, Clinical Development and Global Clinical Development Lead for a novel cannabinoid 2 receptor agonist Olorinab (APD371) for the treatment of visceral pain in patients with IBS. In this role, he supervised a cross-functional team of over 25 staff and was accountable for the clinical studies and overall clinical development plan and regulatory strategy for the product. He oversaw clinical conduct, serving as a medical monitor for patient studies. At Arena, Dr. English also served as the Clinical Development Lead for two early phase compounds in the Cardiovascular therapeutic area, with responsibility for FIH-POC studies.

From 2016 to 2018, Dr. English was Associate Director, Clinical Development/Department Head, Early Phase Clinical Development at Dart Neuroscience where he was responsible for several early phase compounds and translational medicine programs. He provided oversight of FIH-POC trials and led the experimental medicine/translational sciences functional group exploring novel biomarker strategies supporting preclinical-to-clinical go/no-go decision criteria.

From 2011 to 2016, Dr. English was Senior Director, Scientific Affairs (Translational Neuroscience) at Parexel International. He used his expertise in biomarker strategies and program planning to provide sponsors creative de-risking solutions for their early phase programs. With respect to novel experimental medicine paradigms and technologies supporting drug development, he was instrumental to the growth and expansion of Parexel’s early phase services. Dr. English helped design and execute complex biomarker-driven studies which included pre-defined stopping criteria and go/no-go decision points. He also developed extensive expertise in ethnobridging trials while at Parexel.

Upon completion of his Ph.D. degree in 2009 from the lab of Randy Blakely, Dr. English joined Vanderbilt University Medical Center’s Division of Allergy, Pulmonary and Critical Care as a clinical psychiatric pharmacist and research fellow with the ICU Delirium and Cognitive Impairment Research Team working with Wes Ely. He served as a clinical psychiatric pharmacist with the ICU treatment team focusing his clinical efforts on improving psychosomatic medicine services in critically ill patients. Simultaneously, he trained as a translational medicine fellow at Vanderbilt’s Center for Neuroscience Drug Discovery, investigating the efficacy of novel compounds to improve negative and cognitive symptoms in preclinical models of schizophrenia and Alzheimer’s disease in the labs of Carrie Jones and Jeff Conn.

Dr. English has extensive experience within the Department of Veterans Affairs and Department of Defense medical programs and conducted trials evaluating PK/PD and pharmacogenetics of psychotropic drugs in the VA Research and Development system for several years.

Dr. English has considerable teaching experience having served as an adjunct faculty instructor at USC School of Pharmacy since 2012 and previous academic appointments at the Lipscomb University College of Pharmacy in Nashville; University of Alabama at Birmingham; Samford University, McWhorter School of Pharmacy in Birmingham; and The University of Texas Health Science Center at San Antonio.

Dr. English has had several significant appointments including serving as the Vice-Chair of the IRB and as Chair of the Research & Development Committees at the VA Medical Center in Birmingham and Tuscaloosa, Alabama. He is the recipient of many honors and awards, and his work has been supported by numerous grants from the NIH, American Heart Association, Veterans Affairs, and institutional awards. Dr. English has published more than 50 peer-reviewed scholarly articles, book chapters, and abstracts and presented his research at many professional and scientific meetings.

In addition to his professional medical and scientific experience, Dr. English also serves as a Commander (O-5) Medical Service Corps Officer in the United States Navy Reserve. He has been deployed in several overseas assignments. He has also provided support during Defense Support to Civil Authorities (DSCA)operations ranging from Hurricane Katrina to ongoing COVID-19 response. Dr. English’s Naval career, which began in 1999, has enhanced his exceptional leadership skills and ability to operationalize strategic goals.


Dr. English obtained a Ph.D. in Pharmacology from the Vanderbilt University School of Medicine. He received his Pharm.D. degree at Samford University McWhorter School of Pharmacy where he conducted several drug formulation stability studies. He completed his psychiatric pharmacy residency at the University of Texas Health Science Center, San Antonio (UTHSCSA), working on pharmacokinetics of generic clozaril and pharmacogenetics of CYP450 polymorphisms trials and drug-drug interaction studies. He also completed a fellowship in translational medicine at the Vanderbilt University, School of Medicine where he focused on characterizing novel muscarinic 1 positive allosteric agonists (M1 PAM) in various preclinical behavioral pharmacology models as well as cognitive impairment in patients with post-ICU delirium. His B.S. in psychology with an emphasis in neuroscience is from the University of Alabama at Birmingham.