Executive Team

Francisco Leon, MD, PhD

Chief Scientific Officer & Co-Founder


Francisco Leon, MD, PhD is the scientific co-founder of Provention Bio, Inc. An immunologist by training, Dr. Leon brings to the Company a breadth of experience and expertise from his academic and industry careers in the fields of immunology and immune-mediated disease clinical research.

Previously, Dr. Leon was the co-founder, Chief Executive Officer and Chief Medical Officer of Celimmune, LLC, a clinical stage immunotherapy company dedicated to developing transformational therapies for celiac disease, intestinal lymphoma and other serious immune-mediated diseases. Celimmune was acquired by Amgen Inc. in November 2017.

Prior to Celimmune, Dr. Leon served as Vice President and Head of Translational Medicine/Immunology at Johnson & Johnson’s Janssen Pharmaceuticals, where he led early-stage clinical development in immunology. Dr. Leon’s professional experience is also highlighted by positions of increasing responsibility at several life sciences companies, including Chief Medical Officer of Alba Therapeutics, Director of Clinical Development, Inflammation & Respiratory at Medimmune/Astra Zeneca and Director of Clinical Discovery, Immunology & Oncology at Bristol-Myers Squibb. Dr. Leon led or played an important role in the early development of several approved products: Astra Zeneca’s benralizumab/FASENRA®; Bristol-Myers Squibb’s abatacept/ORENCIA®, belatacept/NULOJIX® and nivolumab/OPDIVO®; and Janssen’s ustekinumab/STELARA® and guselkumab/TREMFYA®.

Prior to entering the biopharma industry, Dr. Leon served as a Postdoctoral Fellow at the National Institutes for Allergy and Infectious Diseases (NIAID) of the National Institutes of Health (NIH). In 2011, he became an Associate Professor of Medicine at Jefferson Medical College in Philadelphia, where he continues to contribute to the clinical research efforts of the Department of Gastroenterology. Dr. Leon earned his MD and PhD from Autónoma University, and his specialization in Clinical Immunology from Ramon y Cajal Hospital, both in Madrid, Spain. He has authored or co-authored more than 80 peer-reviewed articles, book chapters and patents.