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Illinois Biotechnology Innovation Organization adds Astellas’ Walt Johnston as chairman

Monday, December 11, 2017

Astellas’ Walt Johnston has been elected as chairman of the Illinois Biotechnology Innovation Organization (iBIO) and iBIO Institute Boards of Directors. He succeeds Timothy P Walbert, Horizon Pharma, who served as chairman for the past two years and who will continue to serve on the Board and Executive Committee as Immediate Past Chairman.

iBIO, founded in 2002, is the industry organization representing life sciences companies in the biomedical pharmaceutical, medical device and food and bio agricultural sectors in Illinois. iBIO has over 100 members ranging from early-stage startup to Fortune 500 companies.

The iBIO Institute was established in 2003 by iBIO to orchestrate business leadership in delivery of world-class educational programs and job-creating new technology ventures.

Walt Johnston is senior vice president, sales and marketing, urology and hospital business unit at Astellas. In this role, he is responsible for leading Astellas’ US commercial activities. Johnston is a member of the Astellas US Management Committee and Portfolio Steering Committee Executive Committee.

Johnston joined Astellas in 2008 as vice president, marketing and new product planning, where he led all strategic marketing activities for on-market and development products for the United States business.

“Walt’s commitment to establishing Chicago and Illinois as a thriving biopharmaceutical and life sciences hub, along with his business acumen makes him an ideal person for this role,” said iBIO Interim President and CEO, John Conrad. “Astellas is a leading organization in our community and having Walt’s caliber of leadership as our chairman will be an invaluable asset to our organization and members.”

Prior to joining Astellas, Johnston worked at Pfizer for 18 years in positions of increasing responsibility for marketing and sales, where he drove key strategic initiative for the cardiovascular portfolio, including Lipitor and Caduet.

“I am honored to be elected chairman and look forward to working with iBIO’s leadership to continue to make Illinois a globally recognized life sciences center,” said Johnston. “Our community has all of the elements needed to cultivate a sustainable biotech and science ecosystem, and it’s exciting to be a part of the continued growth and innovation.”

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