Lucio Rovati



Lucio Rovati is Chief Scientific Officer and CEO of Rottapharm Biotech. After graduation in Medicine and Postgraduate specialization in Clinical Pharmacology at the University of Milan, he served as attending physician in Internal Medicine and as research fellow in the Department of Medical Pharmacology of the University of Milan. In Rottapharm, he served as Head of Clinical Research before becoming Chief Scientific Officer and Executive Medical Director, directing all R&D and medical activities of the Company. He founded Rottapharm Biotech in 2014. He is invited Professor of Clinical Pharmacology at the University of Milano-Bicocca, where he also coordinates a Postgraduate Master in Pharmaceutical Medicine. Finally, he is the author of over 175 full papers in peer reviewed international scientific journals (H-index=42).


  • Clinical and non-clinical development of new drugs
  • Pharmacology and clinical pharmacology of the musculoskeletal, digestive and central nervous systems
  • Central and peripheral analgesics
  • Disease modification in osteoarthritis and rheumatoid arthritis
  • Functional and inflammatory bowel disorders


Our main activity in neurosciences is in the clinical and non-clinical research of new analgesic medications, in particular in models of nociceptive and neuropathic pain. Our current biological target is the type 2 imidazoline (I2) receptor. I2 receptors are not yet fully characterized proteins, that were initially and wrongly associated to the alpha adrenergic receptors family, before reconsidering their role as modulators of a selected population of MAO enzymes. Moreover, recent studies suggest that ligands of these recptors, able to cross the blood-brain barrier, are also able to directly control pain descending pathways and to block the development of tolerance and dependence to opioids. Always within neurosciences, Rottapharm Biotech is active in studying new orexin antagonists able to modulate sleep and drug addiction. Finally, we have recently opened a new discovery project on neurodegenerative diseases.


  1. Panerai AE, Rovati LC, Cocco E, Sacerdote P, Mantegazza P. Dissociation of tolerance and dependence to morphine: a possible role for cholecystokinin. Brain Res. 1987;410:52-60.
  2. Meyer BM, Werth BA, Beglinger C, Hildebrand P, Jansen JB, Zach D, Rovati LC, Stalder GA. Role of cholecystokinin in regulation of gastrointestinal motor functions. Lancet 1989 ;2 :12-15.
  3. Reginster J.Y., Deroisy R., Rovati L.C., Lee R.L., Lejeune E., Bruyere O., Giacovelli G., Henrotin Y., Dacre J.E., Gossett C. Long-term effects of glucosamine sulphate on osteoarthritis progression: a randomised, placebo-controlled clinical trial. Lancet 2001;357:251-256.
  4. Maheu E, Altman RD, Bloch DA, Doherty M, Mannoni A, Punzi L, Spector T, Verbruggen G, and the other members of the OARSI Hand OA Task Force: Carr A, Cicuttini F, Dreiser RL, Haraoui BP, Hart D, Pelletier JP, Ramonda R, Rovati L. Design and conduct of clinical trials in patients with osteoarthritis of the hand: recommendations from a task force of the osteoarthritis research society international. Osteoarthritis Cartilage 2006;14:303-22.
  5. Chiusaroli R, Visentini M, Galimberti C, Casseler C, Mennuni L, Covaceuszach S, Lanza M, Ugolini G, Rovati LC, Visintin M. Targeting of ADAMTS5 ancillary domain with the recombinant mAb CRB0017 ameliorates disease progression in a spontaneous murine model of osteoarthritis. Osteoarthritis Cartilage 2013;21:1807-10.