About Graham Johnson

Graham Johnson has over 40 years of senior leadership experience in both the large pharmaceuticals and biotechnology.

He is currently the Principal at NuPharmAdvise LLC that provides medicinal chemistry consulting services to the National Institutes of Health, biotechnology, venture capital and intellectual property organizations. Leveraging his extensive pharmaceutical expertise, Graham was a co-founder of and is currently Chief Scientific Officer for Oricula Therapeutics. Oricula was founded to develop novel agents that prevent aminoglycoside-induced hearing loss. Oricula has recently (Oct-2018) licensed the clinical development of ORC-13661, their first drug candidate, to Decibel Therapeutics. Graham was also a co-founder and CSO of iCura Vision, a biotech dedicated to the development of oral agents to prevent or slow the progression of Stargardt disease and age-related macular degeneration. Since 2011, Graham has been a medicinal chemistry consultant to the NINDS’ Blueprint Neurotherapeutics (BPN) programs which include: hearing and vision loss, Alzheimer’s, and Parkinson’s diseases, stroke, and Familial Dysautonomia. The product of three BPN programs has been commercially licensed and a fourth is under active discussions.

Career History

1) Principal of NuPharmAdvise consulting (2009 - present)

2) Co-founder and CSO to Oricula Therapeutics (2013 - present)

3) Co-founder and CSO of iCura Vision (2014 - 2016)

4) SVP Preclinical Development and Research for AVI BioPharma (now Sarepta Therapeutics) (2010-2011)

5) Chief Research Officer for Rib-X Pharmaceuticals (now Melinta Therapeutics) (2003-2009)

6) Vice President Discovery Chemistry and interim Vice President Neuroscience Biology for Bristol-Myers Squibb (1991-2002)

7) Director of Neuroscience Chemistry for Warner-Lambert/Parke-Davis (1981-1991)

8) Senior Scientist Hoechst UK (1978-1981)

Research Interests

During his career, Graham's research interests have included synthetic transformations, neuroscience, hearing science, ophthalmology, anti-infectives, genitourinary diseases and RNA therapeutics. This work has been recorded in over 70 publications and 66 patents. Graham's interests also include; accelerating early development, process research and API manufacture with particular focus on incorporating the FDA's Quality by Design Initiative.

Professional Activities

Professional activities have included numerous editorial positions, conference and session organization, invited lectureships, scientific advisory boards, Vice Chair and Chairman of the Gordon Medicinal Chemistry Conference, and Adjunct Associate Professor, School of Pharmacy, University of Michigan.


Graham received his B.Sc. (1st Class Honors) and Ph.D. degrees from Heriot-Watt University, Edinburgh in 1972 and 1975 respectively. In 1975 he was awarded a Fulbright Senior Fellowship for postdoctoral study in the USA where he joined Professor Sir Jack Baldwin's research group at the Massachusetts Institute for Technology (MIT), Cambridge, USA. This was followed by two years of additional postdoctoral study at Imperial College, London (Professor Sir Derek Barton) and at The Research Institute for Medicine and Chemistry, Cambridge, USA (Professor Sir Derek Barton and Dr. Maurice Pechet).


Consulting in the areas of medicinal chemistry and early development. See more services.

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