Brian Johnstone, PhD

Director of Research and Development

4Dr. Johnstone has over 18 years of experience developing cutting-edge medical therapies. For the past 12 years he has been actively involved in translating adult stem cell therapies into treatments for a host of diseases affecting the major organs of the body. In 2004 he co-authored one of the first studies demonstrating the potential for treating cardiovascular diseases with a then novel adult stem cell isolated from fat (adipose). The paper is one of the earliest demonstrating the clinical utility of adipose stem cells, which are now routinely used in clinics worldwide. He has continued to develop and test new medical uses for adult stem cells as part of his own research as well as in collaboration with international academic centers and pharmaceutical and biotechnology firms.

Based on the novel findings of his own research, which resulted in a patent for use of stem cell-derived factors on which he is the lead inventor, Dr. Johnstone co-founded NeuroFx, which is an Indianapolis-based start-up biotech firm developing this novel therapy for neurological disorders. He currently serves as Director of R&D and as such is directly responsible for preclinical development activities to support eventual clinical trials. In addition to commercializing his own stem cell therapy discoveries, Dr. Johnstone is actively helping other companies to develop stem cell treatment expertise.

Currently, he is a consultant for a European consortium developing a stem cell therapy center of excellence in the Czech Republic. In addition to establishing NeuroFx, Dr. Johnstone has formed two other biotech companies in the last 8 years. Chemigen is developing a small molecule drug for treating Lou Gehrig’s disease (amyotrophic lateral sclerosis). Chemigen recently began clinical testing of the drug under an FDA Investigational New Drug application which was granted based on the preclinical data package orchestrated and assembled by Dr. Johnstone. A third start-up he formed, EmphyMab Biotech, is developing biologics to treat serious lung diseases. A lead therapeutic monoclonal antibody has been identified and is in development for emphysema.

Dr. Johnstone was previously Preclinical Director for the Regenerative Medicine Center at the Richard Roudebush VA Medical Center and Director of the Center for Translational Sciences Institutes small animal model Cardiovascular Ischemia and Vasculogenesis Core at Indiana University. In these roles he was directly involved in developing stem cell therapies for clinical testing. Before moving to Indiana, Dr. Johnstone was an early employee at Sangamo BioSciences, located in the San Francisco Bay area. During his 6 years at Sangamo he managed the preclinical development program for their lead gene therapy candidate for cardiovascular diseases, which is currently in Phase II clinical testing.

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