Press Release

Lengo Therapeutics Appoints David Johnson as Chairman of the Board

May 11, 2021

San Diego – Lengo Therapeutics, a biopharmaceutical company developing novel precision medicines targeting driver mutations in oncology, today announced the appointment of David Johnson as Chairman of its Board of Directors. Mr. Johnson is a biopharmaceutical leader with more than 25 years of experience in drug development and most recently served as Chief Executive Officer (CEO) at VelosBio, a clinical-stage oncology company developing novel antibody-drug-conjugates and bispecific antibodies.

“David’s exceptional track record in oncology and his industry experience as a CEO will be invaluable as we develop our pipeline of investigational candidates to treat cancer patients harboring driver mutations that have not been responsive to current therapies,” said Helen Jenkins, CEO, Lengo Therapeutics. “David has recently led several biopharma companies to achieve clinical and partnering success. We are fortunate to have his strategic guidance as we develop our pipeline of novel cancer therapies in areas of significant unmet medical need.”

“I am excited to join Lengo’s board of directors and work alongside its experienced team of scientists and leaders in targeted kinase inhibition,” said Mr. Johnson. “I have had the good fortune to collaborate with strong teams on the development of several clinically and commercially successfully therapeutics. I look forward to offering lessons learned from those experiences to support Lengo’s board of directors and leadership in advancing its exciting pipeline to help patients with advanced cancers.”

Most recently, as CEO of VelosBio, Mr. Johnson oversaw the translational development of a novel antibody-drug conjugate for a previously unvalidated tumor-specific target, bringing the drug from company founding to clinical proof of concept in less than 3 years. Those efforts led to the acquisition of VelosBio by Merck for $2.75 billion. Prior to founding VelosBio, Mr. Johnson was the CEO at Acerta Pharma, where he led the company through a critical phase of growth from approximately 40 to over 150 employees and from a signal-seeking, first-in-human trial to more than 20 active clinical studies. Under his leadership, Acerta negotiated and launched three registration-directed trials, including two global Phase 3 trials for acalabrutinib, a covalent oral Bruton's tyrosine kinase (BTK) inhibitor initially focused on hematological malignancies. Mr. Johnson and his leadership team ultimately led the acquisition of Acerta by AstraZeneca in a deal valued at up to $7 billion.

Before Acerta, Mr. Johnson held roles with increasing responsibility within commercial, pipeline development, medical affairs, and clinical development organizations at various healthcare companies including Hoffman-La Roche, Immunex (acquired by Amgen), Millennium (acquired by Takeda), Favrille, Gloucester (acquired by Celgene), and Calistoga (acquired by Gilead). He has made significant contributions to numerous drugs earning regulatory approval, including bortezomib (Velcade®), romidepsin (Istodax®), idelalisib (Zydelig®), and acalabrutinib (Calquence®). Mr. Johnson currently serves as Chairman of the Board for Aura Biosciences and is Lead Director at Zentalis Pharmaceuticals. Mr. Johnson received a bachelor degree from Indiana University.

About Lengo Therapeutics

Lengo Therapeutics is a biopharmaceutical company committed to developing novel, precision medicines targeting driver mutations in oncology. Lengo has assembled a team of scientists and industry leaders with extensive expertise in kinase biology, covalent drug-target technology and oncology drug development. The company’s vision is to develop a pipeline of investigational candidates that can offer benefit to patients with cancers harboring driver mutations. Lengo Therapeutics is based in San Diego. For more information, please visit

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KKH Advisors