Leisa Johnson, PHD

Dr. Johnson has roughly 18 years of experience in cutting edge biological sciences and biotherapeutics R&D, and with 10 years of leadership experience at Genentech, the world leader in biologics R&D and commercialization. As an experienced biologist, geneticist and preclinical researcher and therapeutics developer, Dr. Johnson has worked on antibodies, oncolytic virus gene therapy vectors, viral vector gene transfer and production, and small molecule kinase inhibitors.  She completed her PhD in Biology at MIT in the lab of Tyler Jacks, a world-class in vivo animal disease modeling group. Her industry experience started at Onyx, a pioneering cancer therapeutics company that went public and eventually was sold for roughly $10B. At Onyx she started as a post-doc and rose quickly to take leadership of a new viral vector gene therapy product development program. She subsequently held a leadership role at Exelixis, a scientifically- and genetically-driven biotherapeutics company that is now public. Most recently, at Genentech she ran scientific and preclinical development teams with a focus on in vivo animal models (including genetically-engineered mouse models of disease), pharmacodynamics, lentivirus-based gene delivery and production and therapeutics research and development.

Working closely with 4DMT partnered R&D and CMC organizations, Dr. Johnson drives the process of identifying novel vectors, characterizing them, designing and engineering new therapeutic candidates, progressing them through preclinical pharmacology-toxicology and biodistribution studies, and ultimately leading to the initiation of testing in human clinical trials.