San Jose, CA, July 19, 2021 – BridGene Biosciences, Inc., a biotechnology company using cutting-edge technology to discover and develop small molecules for hard-to-drug therapeutic targets, today announced that Henry W. B. Johnson, Ph.D., has joined the company as Executive Director and Head of Chemistry. Dr. Johnson brings more than 16 years of biopharmaceutical industry experience to BridGene, having played an integral role in the discovery and development of six small molecule clinical assets, including the hypertension drug MINNEBRO®, which is now marketed in Japan by Daiichi Sankyo.
Dr. Johnson will lead the chemistry work to advance BridGene’s internal pipeline of innovative small molecules developed using the company’s proprietary chemoproteomics platform, IMTAC™, to address traditionally undruggable targets. He will also advance the company’s proprietary covalent small molecule library designed to discover small-molecule ligands for a broader range of targets.
“Following our recent Series A financing, adding a scientist of Henry’s caliber speaks volumes about the potential of BridGene’s pioneering work,” stated Ping Cao, Ph.D., CEO of BridGene Biosciences. “Henry brings deep expertise in medical chemistry and a proven track record in small molecule discovery and development, including extensive work in high-throughput screening and overseeing chemistry work in clinical-stage programs.”
Dr. Cao concluded, “Henry will play a vital role in developing a diversified pipeline of first-in-class therapies by advancing our internal pipeline of oncology assets as well as external therapeutic candidates in multiple disease areas. Our proprietary IMTAC technology and expanding small molecule library enable rapid and cost-effective drug discovery with targets previously inaccessible to small molecules, expanding the mechanisms to treat diseases. Henry’s expertise will prove invaluable as we select which first-in-class therapeutics at hard-to-drug targets to be the focus of our chemistry.
Dr. Johnson arrived at BridGene after six-years as a Director at Kezar Life Sciences where he was a primary contributor to the discovery and development of the company’s lead clinical asset, KZR-616, a first-in-class selective immunoproteasome inhibitor for the treatment of autoimmune disease, and KZR-261, a first-in-class selective inhibitor for the treatment of cancer. Serving as a senior scientist at Exelixis, Inc. from 2005 to 2012, his work led to the development of MINNEBRO®, as well as the small molecules XL-019 and XL-541. More recently, Dr. Johnson served as Principal Scientist at Onyx Pharmaceuticals, a subsidiary of Amgen, where he coordinated all research functions towards the discovery of a first-in-class kinase inhibitor for the treatment of B-cell malignancies.
“BridGene, with its deep expertise in medical chemistry and its unique chemoproteomics platform, is on the cusp of what could be a transformative opportunity in the treatment of disease,” stated Dr. Johnson. “BridGene is pursuing pioneering work in covalent small molecules and chemoproteomic screening to identify small molecules for traditional undruggable targets. I see an opportunity at BridGene to bring about therapeutics that could address a wide range of unmet medical needs.”
Dr. Johnson earned a Ph.D. in Chemistry from the University of Utah and a B.S. in Biochemistry from the California Polytechnic University.
About BridGene Biosciences
BridGene is a biotechnology company focused on discovering and developing innovative small molecules that drug traditionally undruggable targets, providing new paths to treat diseases. By using its proprietary chemoproteomic platform IMTAC™, BridGene is able to screen small molecules against all proteins in live cells to discover drug candidates for high value, yet hard-to- drug targets. With phenotypic screens, the IMTACTM platform can also efficiently identify new targets responsible for disease characteristics. The ultimate goal is to enable breakthrough small- molecule drug discovery and to expand the mechanisms to treat diseases, with targets previously inaccessible to small molecules. The company is advancing a diversified pipeline of first-in-class drugs for targets in multiple disease areas. For more information, visit http://bridgenebio.com.
Lisa Sher (investors)
David Schemelia (media)