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
John is a seasoned life sciences executive and entrepreneur with over 20 years of experience in finance, operations, and innovation. Over his career, he has co-founded and scaled several life sciences companies as President and CFO, such as Advanced Life Sciences and MediChem Life Sciences and has also co-founded and led transformative life sciences incubators including MATTER and the Polsky Center for Entrepreneurship and Innovation at the University of Chicago.
John has completed numerous public and private capital financings totaling over $345 million including 2 NASDAQ IPOs along with philanthropic and corporate funding to support university technology commercialization and venture start-up activities. Over his career, Mr. Flavin has been directly involved in several drug discovery and development programs and has experience taking early research through preclinical and clinical development and through the FDA approval process into commercialization.
John is also the Founder and CEO of Portal Innovations, LLC, a life sciences venture incubator bringing significant experience and expertise in building biotech companies from start-up through scaling. In that capacity over the past two years, John has served as the Chief Financial Officer at Endotronix, a heart-failure medical device company where he led the Company’s $70 million capital raise to fund their pivotal FDA study now underway. In parallel as founding Chairman, he spun out and helped raise a $22 million Series A for Pyxis Oncology, an immuno-oncology therapeutics company from UChicago, where he remains on the board.
John has a B.S. in Business Administration from Marquette University and an M.B.A from Lewis University.
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
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