Palleon Pharmaceuticals Appoints David Johnson to its Board of Directors
WALTHAM, Mass., November 2, 2021 — Palleon Pharmaceuticals, a company pioneering the field of glyco-immunology to treat cancer and inflammatory diseases, today announced the appointment of David Johnson as an independent director to its Board of Directors. Mr. Johnson most recently served as Chief Executive Officer and Founder of VelosBio prior to its acquisition by Merck.
“David’s track record of company-building and value creation, and his experience leading the development of first-in-class cancer therapies will be great assets to Palleon,” said Jim Broderick, M.D., Chief Executive Officer and Founder of Palleon. “We are thrilled to welcome him to the Board and look forward to working closely with him to guide the company’s strategic course.”
Mr. Johnson founded VelosBio in 2017 and served as the company’s CEO until its $2.75 billion acquisition by Merck in late 2020. During his tenure as CEO, the company raised over $200 million in financing and advanced its lead antibody-drug-conjugate into Phase 1 and Phase 2 clinical trials for the treatment of patients with hematologic malignancies and solid tumors, respectively.
Prior to founding VelosBio, Mr. Johnson was the Chief Executive Officer of oncology-focused Acerta Pharma, where he oversaw the initiation of more than 20 active clinical studies, including three registration-directed trials. He grew Acerta from approximately 40 to over 150 employees, and led the acquisition of the company by AstraZeneca in a deal valued at up to $7 billion. Before Acerta, Mr. Johnson held roles of increasing responsibility within commercial, pipeline development, medical affairs, and clinical development functions at numerous healthcare companies including Hoffmann-La Roche, Immunex (acquired by Amgen), Millennium (acquired by Takeda), Favrille, Gloucester (acquired by Celgene), and Calistoga (acquired by Gilead). He has made significant contributions to drugs which ultimately garnered regulatory approvals, including bortezomib (Velcade®), romidepsin (Istodax®), idelalisib (Zydelig®), and acalabrutinib (Calquence®). Mr. Johnson serves on the Board of Directors of Zentalis Pharmaceuticals and is Chairman of the Boards of Aura Biosciences and Lengo Therapeutics.
“Glyco-immunology is an incredibly promising new frontier for oncology drug development, and Palleon is the leader in this space,” said Mr. Johnson. “I’m excited to join Palleon to help realize the vast potential of the company’s glyco-immunology platform.”
About Palleon Pharmaceuticals
Palleon Pharmaceuticals is the leading biotechnology company developing drugs that harness glyco-immunology to treat cancer and inflammatory diseases. The company’s proprietary platforms overcome scientific hurdles that limited progress in the glycobiology field to create novel therapeutics for devastating diseases characterized by immune system dysfunction. Palleon’s lead program in oncology, E-602, is an enzymatic degrader of immunosuppressive sialoglycans on tumors and immune cells which is expected to enter clinical testing in refractory cancer patients in early 2022. www.palleonpharma.com.
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