Gretchen S. JohnsonCo-Founder, President and Chief Executive Officer, Chairman of the Board
Ms. Johnson is the President and Chief Executive Officer of TRACT Therapeutics, Inc., a biotechnology company focused on novel cellular therapy to regulate a patient’s immune system after an organ transplant. She is a veteran biotechnology industry executive with more than 25 years of experience in the start-up and successful commercialization of innovative cell-based products for therapeutic indications.
Prior to joining TRACT Therapeutics, Inc., Ms. Johnson successfully commercialized several early stage technologies while serving in Executive Management positions at KeraCure, Inc. and Genzyme Corporation. Most recently, Johnson founded and grew all aspects of KeraCure, a tissue regeneration company, from the ground-up while achieving key milestones, building business operations across all functional areas, managing strategic planning initiatives and preparing the company for sustained growth. At Genzyme Corporation, she commercialized the first cellular therapy for critical burns which resulted in early adoption of novel cell therapies, market leadership and profitability within two years.
Ms. Johnson is active in several key programs aimed at building start-up life science companies and serves as a Board of Director of the Illinois Biotechnology Organization and Board of Director of three early stage biotechnology and life science companies. Ms. Johnson holds a Master of Science in Administration from Northern Illinois University and a Bachelor of Science in Business from Western Illinois University.
Joseph R Leventhal, MD, PhDCo-Founder, Board Member and Clinical Advisor
Dr. Joseph Leventhal is Professor of Surgery and Director of Kidney and Pancreas Transplantation at Northwestern University Feinberg School of Medicine. He received his M.D. from State University of New York, Downstate Medical Center. He completed his surgical training at, and obtained his PhD in Surgical Science from the University of Minnesota in 1996. He joined the faculty of Northwestern University in 1998 after completion of a multiorgan transplant fellowship.
Dr. Leventhal has been actively involved in basic science and translational transplant research for 25 years. He is a leader in the field of regulatory T cells, focusing his research on the biology of regulatory T cells and their potential for the control of the immune system after organ transplantation.
Dr. Leventhal has received 31 Grant Awards for research totaling $5.9 million toward research and preclinical studies and has authored 87 publications in key journals detailing research initiatives in organ transplantation.
Ann LeFever, PhDManufacturing and Regulatory Advisor
Ann LeFever has over 30 years experience in the development of biological products and has assisted a number of biotechnology companies on strategic business, product development as well as clinical and regulatory affairs. She has also served as a company liaison for clinical trials for pharmaceutical companies and served as a scientific advisor to early stage companies.
Dr. LeFever is currently the Director of the Mathews Center for Cellular Therapy at Northwestern Memorial Hospital, Chicago, IL. The facility provides clinical grade cellular products as well as other biological and combination products that are manufactured under good manufacturing practices (GMP) and good tissue practices (GTP).
Dr. LeFever has presented at over 100 invited seminars at both national and international venues and is a widely published author of original research reports. She has served on Institutional Review Boards for over twenty years and currently holds an adjunct faculty appointment through the Feinberg School of Medicine, Northwestern University, Chicago, IL.
She received a B.A. in Cell Biology from Northwestern University in 1973 and M.S. in Radiobiology and Immunology from the University of Oklahoma Health Sciences Center in 1975. Dr. LeFever earned her Ph.D. in Immunology in 1981 from Marquette University with additional post-doctoral studies in experimental stem cell transplantation and preclinical evaluation of biological products.
Independent Board Members
Norbert G. Riedel, PhD, Board Member
Former Corporate Vice President and Chief Science and Innovation Officer at Baxter International and successful Chief Executive Officer at two Chicago-based biotech companies, leading the sale of Naurex to a prominent pharmaceutical company
Peter Courossi, Board Member
Biotechnology Financial Executive with 25 years experience in all phases of emerging company growth, public and private fundraising, and several high-growth biotech start-ups