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Brian Murphy

Brian Murphy, PhD


Department: Pharmacology & Physiology


  • PhD, Pharmacology- University of Toronto
  • MSc, Microbiology- University of Toronto
  • BSc hons, Microbiology- University of Toronto

Awards & Honors

  • Ondetti & Cushman Award (Scientific Innovation) Bristol Myers Squibb (2022)
    “In recognition for the discovery and development of BMS-986278 for the treatment of fibrosis-associated diseases”

Brian Murphy, MSc, PhD, is a professor in the Department of Pharmacology & Physiology at Drexel University College of Medicine. He is the pharmacology thread director in both the Foundations and Frontiers as well as the Human Disease medical school courses curriculum at the Center City Philadelphia campus. His educational roles include preparation of pharmacology independent learning modules in the Foundations of Disease and Human Disease courses as well as facilitation of pharmacology active learning sessions, including simulations, team based- and case-based learning. Dr. Murphy is also a facilitator in the Case-Based Learning course for second-year medical students. Additionally, Dr Murphy teaches both basic and theoretical receptor pharmacology principles both in person and online within the graduate pharmacology (PHPH) program and the Drug Discovery and Development (DDD) master’s degree program at Drexel.

Research Interests

Early-stage drug discovery, obesity, diabetes, lung and liver fibrosis, second messenger regulation of GPCRs, receptor binding kinetics


Before transitioning to full-time teaching in 2023, Dr. Murphy served as a Scientific Director at Bristol Myers Squibb, where he and his team spearheaded multiple small molecule drug discovery initiatives. His latest research concentrated on developing therapies for Idiopathic Pulmonary Fibrosis (IPF). Through this work, the team identified and developed the small molecule antagonist BMS-986278 targeting the lysophosphatidic acid type-1 receptor (LPA1). BMS-986278 which has demonstrated significant efficacy in phase 2 trials and has now progressed to Phase III clinical trials for the treatment of IPF.

Dr. Murphy’s research interests centered on early-stage drug discovery, specifically developing small molecule oral drugs to treat obesity, diabetes, and, more recently, lung and liver fibrosis. He has explored and prosecuted a range of targets in these areas, including G protein-coupled receptors (GPCRs), protein kinases, integrins, and other intracellular and extracellular signaling proteins. Additionally, his interests extend to the mechanisms of second messenger-mediated regulation of GPCRs as well as the impact of receptor binding kinetics on the efficacy of small molecule drugs.


Selected Publications

“Discovery of an Oxycyclohexyl Acid Lysophosphatidic Acid Receptor 1 (LPA1) Antagonist BMS-986278 for the Treatment of Pulmonary Fibrotic Diseases”
Cheng P.T.W., R.F. Kaltenbach 3rd, H. Zhang, J. Shi, L.J. Kennedy, S.J. Walker, Y. Shi, Y. Wang, S. Dhanusu, R. Reddigunta, S. Kumaravel, S. Jusuf, D. Smith, S. Krishnananthan, J. Li, T. Wang, R. Heiry, C.S. Sum, S.S. Kalinowski, C.P. Hung, C.H. Chu, A.V. Azzara, M. Ziegler, L. Burns, B.A. Zinker, S. Boehme, J. Taylor, J. Sapuppo, K. Mosure, G. Everlof, V. Guarino, L. Zhang, Y. Yang, Q. Ruan, C. Wu, A. Apedo, S.C. Traeger, M.E. Cvijic, K.A. Lentz, G Tirucherai, L. Sivaraman, J. Robl, B.A. Ellsworth, G. Rosen, D.A. Gordon, M.G Soars, M. Gill, B.J. Murphy
J. Med. Chem. 64(21) 15549-15581 (2021)

“Mechanism of hepatobiliary toxicity of the LPA1 antagonist BMS-986020 developed to treat idiopathic pulmonary fibrosis: Contrasts with BMS-986234 and BMS-986278”
Gill MW, Murphy BJ, Cheng PTW, Sivaraman L, Davis M, Lehman-McKeeman L
Toxicology and Applied Pharmacology. Mar 1; 438:115885 (2022)

“Pharmacological Characterization of GPCR Agonists, Antagonists, Allosteric Modulators and Biased Ligands from HTS to Lead Optimization”
Sum, C.S., B.J. Murphy, Z. L, T. Wang, L. Zhang, M.E. Cvijic
Assay Guidance Manual [NIH]. (2019)

“Lysophosphatidic Acid Receptor Antagonism Protects against Diabetic Nephropathy in a Type 2 Diabetic Model”
Zhang M-Z, X. Qang, H. Yang, A.B. Fogo, B.J. Murphy, R. Kaltenbach, P. Cheng, B. Zinker, R. Harris
J. Am. Soc. of Nephrol. 28 (11) 3300-3311 (2017)

“Synthesis and antiobesity Properties of 6-(4-Chlorophenyl)-3-(4-((3,3-difluoro-1-hydroxycyclobutyl)methoxy)-3-methoxyphenyl)thieno[3,2-d]pyrimidin-4(3H)-one (BMS-814580): A Highly Efficacious Melanin Concentrating Hormone Receptor 1 (MCHR1) Inhibitor”
Ahmad S., W.N. Washburn, A.S. Hernandez, S. Bisaha, K. Ngu, W. Wang, M.A. Pelleymounter, D. Longhi, N. Flynn, A. Azzara, K. Rohrbach, J. Devenny, S. Rooney, M. Thomas, H. Godonis, S. Harvey, H. Ahang, B. Gemzik, E.B. Janovitz, C. Huang, L. Zhang, J.A. Robl, B.J. Murphy
J. Med. Chem. 59(19) 8848-8858 (2016)

“Identification of a nonbasic melanin hormone receptor 1 antagonist as an antiobesity clinical candidate”
Washburn W. N., M. Manfredi, P. Devasthale, G. Zhao, S. Ahmad S, A. Hernandez, J. A. Robl, W. Wang, J. Mignone, Z. Wang , K. Ngu, M.A. Pelleymounter, D. Longhi, R. Zhao, B. Wang, N. Huang, N Flynn, A.V. Azzara, J. C. Barrish, K. Rohrbach, J. J. Devenny, S. Rooney, M. Thomas, S. Glick, H.E. Godonis, S. J. Harvey , M. J. Cullen, H. Zhang, C. Caporuscio, P. Stetsko, M. Grubb, B. D. Maxwell, H. Yang, A. Apedo, B. Gemzik, E. B. Janovitz, C. Huang, L. Zhang, C. Freeden, and B. J. Murphy
J. Med. Chem. 57(18): 7509-7522 (2014)

Contact Information

Academic Office

Graduate School of Biomedical Sciences and Professional Studies
60 N. 36th Street
Health Sciences Bldg., Rm. 10E09
Philadelphia, PA 19104