Imara Announces Appointment of Kevin B. Johnson, Ph.D., MBA, as Senior Vice President of Regulatory and Quality
Cambridge, Mass. (Business Wire) August 15, 2018 – Imara Inc., a clinical stage biopharmaceutical company, today announced that Kevin B. Johnson, Ph.D., MBA, has been appointed Senior Vice President of Regulatory and Quality. Dr. Johnson joins the company from Sucampo Pharmaceuticals and Vtesse, Inc. where he served as Vice President, Global Head of Regulatory and Quality, and Vice President, Global Regulatory Affairs, respectively. Dr. Johnson brings more than 25 years of experience guiding the regulatory and product development strategies for biotechnology and pharmaceutical companies in all stages of development and across a range of therapeutic areas.
“Kevin’s deep bench of knowledge guiding product candidates toward approval and ensuring adherence to strict quality standards and controls will be invaluable to Imara as we advance IMR-687 for sickle cell disease into later-stage clinical trials,” said Rahul D. Ballal, Ph.D., Chief Executive Officer of Imara. “In our search for a strong addition to our senior management team, Kevin’s experience in the area of rare diseases and product approvals, coupled with his proven accomplishments at some of the leading companies in the life sciences industry, made the decision to bring him on board a simple one. We are thrilled to welcome him to the company.”
While at Sucampo and Vtesse, Dr. Johnson led global regulatory strategy and implementation for rare disease development programs targeting Niemann-Pick disease type C (NPC), which received Breakthrough Therapy designation from the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) and Promising Innovative Medicine (PIM) designation from the Medicines and Healthcare products Regulatory Agency (MHRA). Previously, he served as Director, Global Regulatory Affairs for Rare Diseases and Gene Therapies at GlaxoSmithKline as a member of the international team for the European approval of the gene therapy Strimvelis® for ADA-SCID. Dr. Johnson was also Principal Regulatory Consultant for the successful Regenerative Medicine Advanced Therapy (RMAT) designation request for a retinal gene therapy product at PharmaKnowledge.
He earned his MBA and a Ph.D. in Neurobiology from The University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill and his Bachelor’s degree in Chemistry from the University of South Florida. Dr. Johnson also holds a Regulatory Affairs Certification (RAC) credential from the Regulatory Affairs Professional Society.
About Sickle Cell Disease
Sickle cell disease is a rare, genetically inherited condition that alters hemoglobin, the protein in red blood cells that transports oxygen throughout the body. The altered hemoglobin distorts red blood cells into a sickle, or crescent, shape. Painful episodes can occur when sickled red blood cells, which are stiff and inflexible, get stuck in small blood vessels. These episodes deprive tissues and organs of oxygen-rich blood and can lead to vaso-occlusive crisis (VOC), acute chest syndrome (ACS), and permanent damage to organs including the liver, spleen, kidney and brain.
Imara Inc., is dedicated to developing novel therapeutics for patients with sickle cell disease and other hemoglobinopathies. Imara is currently developing IMR-687, a highly selective, potent small molecule inhibitor of PDE9, to treat patients with sickle cell disease. IMR-687 was specifically designed to treat patients with sickle cell disease by both reducing red blood cell sickling and blockage of blood vessels that are underlying causes of the pathology of sickle cell disease. The company was launched out of orphan drug accelerator Cydan Development with financing from life science investors NEA, Pfizer Venture Investments, Lundbeckfond Ventures, Bay City Capital and Alexandria Venture Investments.