Alex Karnal

Co-founder, CEO and board Chairman of The Institute for Life Changing Medicines, dedicated to saving one million people suffering from life-threatening and devastating diseases around the world with no barriers to access.  

Alex co-founded the organization as a response to the stark realities of cost, risk and a need for financial performance faced by the biotech industry today.  The result being that many less common, yet lethal diseases have not been defeated.  Seeing the potentially avoidable pain and suffering faced by too many he sought to address this problem through a new strategy with the advantages of non-profit capital, industry partnerships and a self-sustaining model.  All of this to take action on his belief that a healthy life is a basic human right.  He hopes with this effort, the already extraordinary reach of the Biotech industry’s mission will be complemented and expanded to include those diseases currently left behind. 

Alex is also a Partner and Managing Director at Deerfield and joined the Firm in 2005. He is responsible for portfolio decisions across the Deerfield Funds. Deerfield is an investment firm dedicated to advancing healthcare through information, investment and philanthropy—all toward the end goal of cures for disease, improved quality of life and reduced cost of care.  In addition, Alex helped conceptualize and implement the Cure, Deerfield's healthcare innovation campus at 345 Park Avenue South.

Alex serves on the Boards of the New York Academy of Medicine, Biotechnology Innovation Organization, Recovery Centers of America and Discovery Labs, the latter two for which he is a co-founder. He is a member of the Massachusetts Institute of Technology’s corporate development committee, focusing on student life initiatives.  At the height of the Covid-19 global health crisis, Alex was appointed by Governor Ned Lamont to the Reopen Connecticut Advisory Group to provide counsel on the reopening of the state’s economy, community and education systems.

Prior to Deerfield, Alex worked as a member of Merrill Lynch’s Global Equity Linked Products Group and as a member of its Capital Markets team. 

He holds a B.S. from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology and M.S. from Johns Hopkins University.


In June 2020, ‘Biotechnology in the Time of COVID-19: Commentaries from the Front Line’ was released on Amazon.  It is a collection of stories about the biotechnology industry—its purpose, its people and how it has risen to battle the COVID-19 virus—told by forty-seven leaders of that industry in their own words. Alex contributed a chapter entitled ‘Showing Up Together When it Matters,’ and The Institute for Life Changing Medicines is one of two nonprofits which will receive royalties from sales of the book, helping to advance its mission of establishing a world free from devastating genetic disease.

Alex has been featured in the following publications: