News & Insights

Dec 15, 2020

NodThera Appoints Chief Medical Officer and Chief Financial Officer

Strengthens senior leadership team with appointments of Donald Johns, M.D., as Chief Medical Officer and Katina Dorton, J.D., MBA, as Chief Financial Officer

CAMBRIDGE, UK, BOSTON and SEATTLE – December 15, 2020 – NodThera, a biotechnology company developing a new class of medicines that inhibit the NLRP3 inflammasome to treat chronic inflammation, today announced the expansion of its senior leadership team with the appointments of Donald Johns, M.D., as Chief Medical Officer and Katina Dorton, J.D., MBA, as Chief Financial Officer.

Dr. Johns is an accomplished drug development leader and board-certified clinical neurologist who previously served as Chief Medical Officer and Executive Vice President of Medical and Scientific Affairs at Syntimmune, prior to the company’s acquisition by Alexion Pharmaceuticals. Ms. Dorton is a recognized and internationally experienced financial executive, corporate director and public company CFO. Ms. Dorton’s industry expertise includes roles in healthcare, life sciences and investment banking, including experiences at Repare Therapeutics and AVROBIO, Inc.

NodThera is advancing a portfolio of potent and selective inhibitors of the NLRP3 inflammasome that reduce both IL-1β and IL-18, pro-inflammatory cytokines which are known to play a role in chronic inflammation underlying a wide range of diseases. The pipeline includes brain penetrant NLRP3 inhibitors for central nervous system (CNS) indications.

“We welcome Don and Katina to the team as we continue to advance our portfolio of differentiated NLRP3 inhibitors to capitalize on the opportunity to exploit the well-understood, but still untapped therapeutic potential of the NLRP3 inflammasome across a broad spectrum of diseases,” said Adam Keeney, Ph.D., President & Chief Executive Officer of NodThera. “Don is an accomplished clinician with an impressive track record who brings a wealth of innovative clinical development experience. Katina brings capital markets experience and has built financial, legal and operational functions to support companies through aggressive growth, including IPO preparation. Their combined contributions will add significant value as we continue to advance NodThera’s portfolio through clinical development and additional financing rounds.”

“The NLRP3 inflammasome is one of the most exciting emerging areas of therapeutic science. NodThera’s best-in-class molecules have great potential to address the unmet medical need in patients with a wide range of inflammatory disorders,” said Dr. Johns. Ms. Dorton adds, “By leveraging innate immunity, NodThera’s platform has the potential to blaze a new path forward in a wide range of disorders, and I am excited to join the rest of the experienced leadership team in this effort.”

Dr. Johns brings more than 25 years of experience in the development of novel treatments for serious diseases, including autoimmune and CNS disorders. Prior to his role at Syntimmune, Dr. Johns served in key leadership positions at Biogen and the Novartis Institutes for Biomedical Research (NIBR). He has contributed to numerous investigational new drug applications (INDs), first-in-human studies and conclusive proof-of-concept studies in a broad spectrum of CNS and autoimmune diseases, as well as four successful new drug applications (NDAs). Prior to joining the pharmaceutical industry, he was a neurologist clinician-scientist at Johns Hopkins and Harvard Medical School. Dr. Johns earned his B.A. from Vanderbilt University and his M.D. from the Yale University School of Medicine.

Ms. Dorton currently serves on the board of directors for Fulcrum Therapeutics (Nasdaq: FULC), Pandion Therapeutics, Inc. (Nasdaq: PAND) and US Ecology (Nasdaq: ECOL). She most recently served as Chief Financial Officer of Repare Therapeutics, a synthetic lethality and DNA repair-focused oncology company. Prior to Repare, Ms. Dorton served as Chief Financial Officer of AVROBIO, a lentiviral gene therapy company. Earlier in her career, she served as a managing director in investment banking for Morgan Stanley and Needham & Company and as an associate attorney at Sullivan & Cromwell. Ms. Dorton received her J.D. from the University of Virginia School of Law, her MBA from George Washington University and her B.A. from Duke University.

About NodThera

NodThera is a biotechnology company developing a new class of potent and selective NLRP3 inflammasome inhibitors for the treatment of diseases driven by chronic inflammation. Led by an experienced management team, NodThera is leveraging new insights into inflammasome biology and chemistry to build a platform of highly differentiated small molecule NLRP3 inhibitors. The company was founded by Epidarex Capital and further financed by 5AM Ventures, Cowen Healthcare Investments, F-Prime Capital, Novo Holdings, Sanofi Ventures and Sofinnova Partners. NodThera was founded in 2016 and maintains offices in Cambridge, UK, Seattle, WA and Boston, MA. For more information please visit

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