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Zentalis Pharmaceuticals Appoints David Johnson to Board of Directors

NEW YORK & SAN DIEGO–()–Zentalis Pharmaceuticals (the “Company” or “Zentalis”), a clinical-stage biopharmaceutical company focused on developing clinically differentiated, novel small molecule therapeutics that target fundamental pathways in cancer, today announced the appointment of David Johnson to its Board of Directors. Mr. Johnson is a veteran biopharmaceutical and healthcare leader with more than 25 years of experience in developing drugs and growing companies.

“We are excited to welcome David to our board as he brings his exceptional operational and leadership experience in the biopharmaceutical industry to our team,” said Dr. Anthony Sun, Chairman and Chief Executive Officer at Zentalis Pharmaceuticals. “As we continue to advance our pipeline of clinical-stage oncology candidates targeting areas of major unmet medical need, I am confident that David’s involvement can accelerate our future growth and clinical expansion.”

Mr. Johnson is currently the Chief Executive Officer at VelosBio, a clinical-stage oncology company developing novel antibody-drug-conjugates and bispecific antibodies. Prior to VelosBio, he was CEO at Acerta Pharma, an oncology-focused pharmaceutical company, where he led the company through a critical phase of growth from approximately 40 to over 150 employees and from a signal-seeking first-in-human trial to more than 20 active clinical studies. Under his leadership, the company designed and launched three registration-directed trials, including two global Phase 3 trials for acalabrutinib, an irreversible oral Bruton’s tyrosine kinase (BTK) inhibitor initially focused on hematological malignancies. Mr. Johnson’s time at Acerta culminated in the execution of a strategic transaction with AstraZeneca valued at up to $7 billion. He has raised over $500 million in biopharma-directed capital and has extensive experience in deal making.

David’s prior experience spans from pre-clinical development to all phases of clinical development through product launch. He has made significant contributions to drugs ultimately garnering regulatory approvals, including bortezomib (Velcade®), romidepsin (Istodax®), idelalisib (Zydelig®), and acalabrutinib (Calquence®). Before his time as CEO at Acerta Pharma and his founding of VelosBio, David held roles with increasing responsibilities within commercial, pipeline development, medical affairs, and clinical development organizations at companies including Hoffman-La Roche, Immunex (acquired by Amgen), Millennium (acquired by Takeda), Favrille, Gloucester (acquired by Celgene), and Calistoga (acquired by Gilead). He is a co-author on numerous publications, including three New England Journal of Medicine articles, and holds a bachelor’s degree from Indiana University.

“I’m delighted for the opportunity to join the Zentalis Board and work closely with other Board members and the leadership team to contribute to the Company’s mission in its pursuit of new therapies for patients,” said David Johnson. Across my career, I have helped multiple companies advance drugs through development, grow strategically, and pursue value-creating collaborations. I look forward to contributing my experience to the Zentalis board of directors.”

About Zentalis Pharmaceuticals

Zentalis Pharmaceuticals is a clinical-stage biopharmaceutical company focused on developing clinically differentiated, novel small molecule therapeutics that target fundamental biological pathways in cancer. In addition to its lead program, ZN-c5, an oral selective estrogen receptor degrader (SERD) for estrogen-receptor-positive, HER2-negative breast cancer, the Company is developing a broad pipeline of oncology candidates, targeting areas of major unmet medical need. The Company has offices in New York and San Diego. For more information, please visit


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