Craig A. Smith, Ph.D. is co-founder, VLST Scientific Fellow and Chairman of the Scientific Advisory Board of VLST Corp. Prior to co-founding VLST, Dr. Smith's research accomplishments at Immunex include having cloned a receptor for TNF and, working with colleague Dr. Ray Goodwin, engineered a novel, soluble recombinant form (later termed Enbrel) for use in treating autoimmune diseases such as rheumatoid arthritis. For this discovery and invention, both Dr. Smith and Dr. Goodwin shared the Scientific Achievement Award from the National Arthritis Foundation, the PhRMA Discoverers Award and the IPO National Inventor of the Year (2001). He has published more than 100 scientific articles and is a named inventor on 20 patents.
Dr. Smith also initiated and led a research program that discovered novel superfamilies of TNF-related gene products, which collectively help orchestrate fundamental immune processes, several of which are in clinical trials for cancer and autoimmune disorders. Long interested in virology, Dr. Smith is generally credited with establishing the molecular nature of virulency genes in eukaryotic viruses which productively infect humans and animals: many of which encode proteins that modulate the host immune response to viral advantage by targeting crucial genes of the human immune system. The research program put in place to exploit this observation led to the co-founding of VLST. Dr. Smith received his B.S. in Molecular Biology from the University of Wisconsin, Madison and his Ph.D. in Molecular Biology from the Molecular Biology Institute at the University of California, Los Angeles