Leonard (Lenny) Dragone, MD PhD has joined Sonoma Biotherapeutics from Janssen Biopharma where he served as the Vice President for Early Clinical Development as well as the interim Head of Data Sciences for Infectious Diseases. He was responsible for advancing therapeutic candidates from pre-IND enabling studies through Phase 1 to Phase 2b clinical trials as well as identifying high-impact data science studies. Lenny oversaw the development teams and created an infrastructure that bridged discovery to early development enabling collaboration and the creation of new patient-based studies to inform therapeutics in development for respiratory and chronic hepatitis B infections.
Lenny previously served as Senior Director of Experimental Medicine and Translational Pharmacology at Merck Research Laboratories in SSF. As clinical site lead and therapeutic area lead for Autoimmunity, Inflammation and Ophthalmology (AIO), he was responsible for early clinical development of the AIO pipeline through Phase 2a, contributing to pipeline strategy and prioritization. He also created a new experimental medicine clinical trials group functioning across the Merck network, which enabled experimental medicine studies across cardiovascular, metabolic, autoimmunity and inflammation indications.
Prior to this, Lenny was a Medical Director in early clinical development at Genentech, leading and coordinating multiple cross-functional project teams with emphasis on IND filing and achieving proof-of-concept through Ph.2b for indications including SLE, RA, multiple sclerosis, psoriasis and influenza. Additionally, he created and ran an integrated clinical informatics team that worked at the interface of research, biomarker discovery and clinical investigation.
Lenny received his MD and PhD from the University of Rochester, before completing his Pediatric residency and Pediatric Rheumatology Fellowship training at University of California San Francisco (UCSF). He then ran his own NIH-funded laboratory publishing over 30 peer-reviewed and advanced up the academic ranks to Associate Professor of Pediatrics and Immunology at the University of Colorado and National Jewish Health in Denver Colorado. Lenny continues to stay clinically active as a Volunteer Associate Professor of Pediatric Rheumatology at UCSF seeing patients in the pediatric rheumatology fellow’s clinic.