As one of the original four members of the life sciences committee that developed the concept for the formation of what is now known as BioCrossroads, David Johnson was an early promoter of the initiative, serving as Chairman of its Capital Formation Task Force and leading the development of the Indiana Future Fund, a $73 million venture capital pool devoted to life sciences investments. As CEO, Johnson will continue the effort to create the Indiana Seed Fund, an early stage venture capital fund aimed at promising Indiana life sciences opportunities. He currently serves on the BioCrossroads Board of Directors, which continues to be chaired by Dr. August Watanabe, formerly of Eli Lilly & Company.
"We welcome David Johnson to his new role as BioCrossroads CEO, and look forward to the continued growth of the initiative under his day-to-day leadership," said Watanabe. "Like Chuck Schalliol before him, David brings the right skills at the right time for BioCrossroads. Through his law practice, David has represented many of our region's life sciences players; he has a deep understanding of how the industry works and how to build a successful economic development program.
"David has also demonstrated a special talent for building alliances among corporate, government and academic partners – the kind of collaborations that are necessary to make Indiana a hotbed for cutting-edge research and new business formation," Watanabe continued.
Johnson welcomed the challenges ahead, starting with words of praise for his predecessor.
"Chuck Schalliol has led significant progress at BioCrossroads," Johnson said. "Under Chuck's watch, new companies like the Indiana Centers for Applied Protein Sciences and the Indiana Health Information Exchange have been formed. The Indiana Future Fund is being put to work through a network of local and national venture capitalists. And we're on the verge of developing a seed capital fund to bring our most promising intellectual capital into the marketplace.
"Indiana is fortunate to have one of the nation's richest concentrations of life sciences companies along with significant institutional research capacity. BioCrossroads has worked so well already because our public sector, industry and academic leaders, represented on our Board of Directors, have been so willing to collaborate strategically to move us ahead. I want to continue this momentum to build Indiana's life sciences industry and create a thriving entrepreneurial culture that will serve this industry both today and tomorrow. I look forward to working with the Board and staff and celebrating many successes ahead."
Johnson has been a partner at Baker & Daniels for the past 19 years, with his practice focused on economic development, capital formation and finance. His active community participation includes serving as co-chair for the Regional Center 2020 Plan Commission for the City of Indianapolis. He is a member of the Indiana University-Purdue University Indianapolis Board of Advisors, the Indiana Future Fund Advisory Committee the Indianapolis Charter Schools Board and past chairman of the board, Indiana Business Modernization and Technology Corporation/Corporation for Science and Technology. A lifelong Hoosier, Johnson graduated from Harvard University and Harvard Law School, and studied at Oxford University as a Rhodes Scholar.
Johnson's appointment continues a tradition of high-level industry and community commitment to the BioCrossroads initiative. Former CEO Chuck Schalliol served as Eli Lilly's executive director of corporate finance and investment banking and managing director of Lilly Ventures before joining BioCrossroads. The BioCrossroads staff also includes Anne Shane, Vice-President, former Chief of Staff to Indianapolis Mayor Stephen Goldsmith. The BioCrossroads Board of Directors is composed of executives from Indiana's major life sciences companies, research universities, and state and local government.