Gretchen S. Johnson
Co-Founder, Chairman of the Board, President and Chief Executive Officer
Ms. Johnson is the President and Chief Executive Officer of TRACT Therapeutics, Inc., a clinical stage biotechnology company focused on novel cellular therapy to regulate a patient’s immune system. She is a veteran biotechnology industry executive with more than 30 years of experience in the start-up and successful commercialization of innovative cell-based products for several therapeutic indications.
Prior to founding TRACT Therapeutics, Ms. Johnson successfully commercialized several early stage technologies while serving in Executive Management positions at BioSurface Technology, Genzyme Corporation and KeraCure, Inc. At BioSurface Technology (acquired by Genzyme), Ms. Johnson commercialized the first cellular therapy ever which resulted in early adoption of novel autologous cell therapies and paved the way for future innovative cellular therapies to treat a variety of indications. Prior to TRACT Therapeutics, Ms. Johnson founded and grew all aspects of KeraCure, Inc., a tissue regeneration company, from the ground-up while achieving key milestones, building business operations, managing strategic planning initiatives and preparing the Company for sustained growth.
Ms. Johnson is active in several key programs aimed and mentoring start-up life science companies and serves as a Board of Director of the Illinois Biotechnology Innovation Organization and a Board member of two additional early stage biotechnology companies. Ms. Johnson holds a M.S. in Administration and a B.S. in Business Education.
Joseph R Leventhal, MD, PhD
Co-Founder, Board Member and Clinical Advisor
Dr. Joseph Leventhal, a Fowler McCormick Professor of Surgery, Director, Kidney Transplant Program and Associate Director, Pancreas Transplant Program at Northwestern University Feinberg School of Medicine. He received his M.D. from State University of New York, Downstate Medical Center. His surgical training was completed at the University of Minnesota where he also received his PhD in Surgical Science in 1996. In 1998, he joined the faculty of Northwestern University 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 an international 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.
Chief Business Officer, Board Member
Mr. Courossi is Chief Business Officer and a member of the Board of Directors of Tract Therapeutics, Inc. After training as a CPA, he attended graduate business school and has since been working with venture capital backed start-ups, first in the Technology sector and for the last 30 years in the Biotechnology sector.
Prior to joining Tract Therapeutics, Mr. Courossi worked with a dozen Biotechnology companies financed by top tier venture capital firms, in lead finance roles with responsibilities that spanned operations including fund raising, finance, accounting, human resources, executive compensation, public relations, investor relations, facilities and manufacturing. He often became involved at very early stages and assisted founders and first time executives manage and grow companies. Several of the companies exited through successful IPO’s or acquisitions including Millennium Pharmaceuticals, Acceleron Pharma and Civitas Therapeutics, among others.
Mr. Courossi holds a BS in Accounting, Magna Cum Laude, from Bentley College and an MBA, with Highest Honors, from Babson College. He is an outdoorsman and avid fly fisherman and sits on the Board of ISAN, the Invasive Species Action Network, a non-profit in Livingston Montana that runs educational and other programs that aims to keep Western rivers free from invasive species.
Ann LeFever, PhD
Manufacturing and Regulatory Advisor
Ann LeFever, PhD has over 35 years of 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 the former Director of the Mathews Center for Cellular Therapy at Northwestern Memorial Hospital, in Chicago, IIIL. 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 20 years.
She received a B.A. in Cell Biology from Northwestern University in 1973 and M.S. in Radiobiology and Immunology in 1981 from Marquette University with additional post-doctoral studies in experimental stem cell transplantation and preclinical evaluation of biological products.
James M. Mathew, PhD
Dr. James M. Mathew obtained his PhD from the prestigious School of Biological Sciences at Madurai Kamaraj University, India. He came to the USA in 1989 for a post-doctoral fellowship in transplant immunology at Washington University in St. Louis, and then in 1994 joined the faculty of the University of Miami, Florida. In 2007, he moved to Northwestern University, where he is now Professor of Surgery and Microbiology-Immunology as well as the Director of Immune Monitoring Core of the Comprehensive Transplant Center.
Dr. Mathew’s research is on the immunology of clinical transplantation. The major thrust has been on the use of donor bone marrow or hematopoietic stem cell infusions for transplant tolerance induction. Recent studies also included the use of regulatory T cells (Tregs) as potential tolerance inducers in transplant and autoimmune patients. Latest, he directed the development of antigen-specific Treg expansion technology which is poised to be used in a phase-I clinical trial in kidney transplant patients.
Dr. Mathew has more than 250 peer reviewed publications comprised of original scientific articles, reviews, book-chapters and scientific presentations. He is a member of most transplant-related scientific organizations and has served in many committees and review panels.
His addition to the Scientific Board of TRACT Therapeutics as the Research and Development Advisor will greatly enhance its current and future portfolios.
Members of the Board
Gretchen S Johnson, Co-Founder, President & Chief Executive Officer, TRACT Therapeutics, Inc.
Chairman of the Board
Peter Courossi, Chief Business Officer, TRACT Therapeutics, Inc., Biotechnology financial executive with more than 30 years of experience in all phases of emerging company growth, fundraising and several high-growth biotech startups
Joseph R. Leventhal, MD, PhD., Co-Founder, Interim Chief of the Division of Organ Transplantation at the Northwestern University Feinberg School of Medicine
Norbert G. Riedel, PhD, 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 one of them
Independent Board Member
Jeffrey D. Kennedy, formerly of Eli Lily and Wyeth, brings significant therapeutic leadership expertise in immunology/autoimmune
Thomas Novak, PhD., a biotechnology consultant with Post- Doctoral training in immunobiology and significant expertise assisting biotechnology startups