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John Flygare, PhD

Senior Principal Scientist, Merck

John Flygare received his PhD in synthetic organic chemistry from Northwestern University (1990) and was an NIH Postdoctoral Fellow at Stanford University from 1990-1993 prior to entering the biotechnology industry in the San Francisco Bay Area. John spent over 17 years at Genentech where he led drug discovery teams in disease areas including oncology, infectious diseases, and neurodegeneration. Seven compounds from these programs have entered clinical development, three are currently in the clinic, and one is approved. Since December 2016 he has been at Merck where he is helping to establish their research facility in South San Francisco. John is the author or co-author of >100 publications and patents and has designed and taught 37 courses in organic chemistry, biochemistry, and medicinal chemistry at Stanford University with a combined total enrollment of > 5,000 students.


Laurens Kruidenier, PHD

Head of GI Immunology, Takeda California

Dr. Laurens Kruidenier is a mucosal immunologist and has been active in gastrointestinal (GI) inflammation research for over 20 years. Currently, as Head of GI Immunology Research at Takeda San Diego, Laurens is responsible for developing the internal GI immunology and inflammation research portfolio, as well as the global discovery research and business development strategy into inflammatory diseases of the bowel, including inflammatory bowel diseases (IBD) and celiac disease. Previously, Laurens held various positions of increasing responsibility at several discovery units at GlaxoSmithKline (UK), including Head of Pre-clinical Biology, Biology Discovery Leader and Principal Scientist, where he led preclinical teams and projects in GI, immuno-inflammation and epigenetic drug discovery, and he completed a post-doctoral fellowship at QMUL in London. Over the years, Dr. Laurens Kruidenier’s research has resulted in multiple publications in top scientific journals, including Gastroenterology, Nature and Nature Chemical Biology. Laurens received his Ph.D. in Experimental Gastroenterology from Leiden University (The Netherlands) and his M.Sc. in Medical Biology from University of Utrecht (The Netherlands).


janine bilsborough, phd

Group leader: inflammatory bowel disease drug discovery and development, cedars sinai

Dr. Bilsborough was recruited from Industry to lead the Cedars-Sinai Drug Discovery and Development (IBD3) unit for the Inflammatory Bowel and Immunobiology Research Institute. IBD3 is a unique concept by design, in which an industry-caliber target discovery and development unit is integrated with an academic research program to accelerate the pace at which scientific findings are brought to bear on patient care.  Dr. Bilsborough has 14 years of experience in the biotechnology/biopharmaceutical arena, directing both drug discovery and drug development teams for biologics to treat immune-mediated diseases including Atopic Dermatitis, Psoriasis, System Lupus Erythematosis and Inflammatory Bowel Disease.