Dr. Johnson brings over 20 years of drug discovery experience developing oncology therapies. Previously, he was a Research Fellow at Pfizer leading several large, multidisciplinary oncology discovery teams. Most notably, he was the project lead of the ALK oncology program and discovered lorlatinib, which was given Breakthrough Therapy status in 2016 and approved by the FDA in November 2018 for the treatment of ALK-positive non-small-cell lung cancer. The recent Phase III CROWN trial for lorlatinib led to approval as a front-line therapy for patients with systemic disease and brain metastases, highlighting the importance of the successful CNS-penetrant design. Dr. Johnson has published many high-profile patents and publications and made critical discoveries in medicinal chemistry, structure-based drug design, chemical biology, physicochemical property analysis and efficiency metrics of drug like molecules. In addition, he won the American Chemical Society Young Investigator Award in 2011, the Pfizer Global Medicinal Chemistry Award in 2013, the ACS Heroes of Chemistry Award in 2021 and the ACS Creative Invention Award in 2022.
Dr. Johnson received his B.S. degree in Chemistry from University of California, Irvine, a Ph.D. degree in Synthetic Chemistry from University of California, Los Angeles working with Michael E. Jung and was an NIH post-doctoral fellow at Harvard University with Nobel Laureate E. J. Corey.