Professor Sebastian Johnston

Professor Sebastian Johnston
Director & Chief Medical Officer
Professor Sebastian L. Johnston is Chairman of the Board, Chief Medical Officer and Co-founder.

Sebastian Johnston is Professor of Respiratory Medicine & Allergy at the National Heart & Lung Institute, Imperial College London, and Honorary Consultant Physician in Respiratory Medicine & Allergy at St Mary’s Hospital, Imperial Healthcare NHS Trust, London.

He is Director of the MRC & Asthma UK Centre in Allergic Mechanisms of Asthma, is the Clinical Academic Training Lead for Respiratory Medicine at Imperial College & Imperial Healthcare NHS Trust and is the Asthma UK Clinical Chair. He has been performing respiratory virus-related research including human virus challenge studies in asthma for more than 30 years and is the only investigator worldwide to have performed such studies in people with COPD.

Notable discoveries emerging from his past work include establishing the viral aetiology of asthma and COPD exacerbations, demonstrating increased susceptibility to viral and bacterial infections in individuals with asthma and COPD compared to healthy individuals, and mechanisms governing these observations, describing novel and effective treatment approaches for acute exacerbations of asthma and COPD. He also successfully developed the world’s first successful mouse model of rhinovirus infection. He has to date successfully infected over 450 subjects with rhinovirus, including over 50 subjects with COPD and over 100 subjects with asthma, including moderately severe asthma and asthma that is not well controlled at time of challenge.

He has a long and productive history of collaborations with both the pharmaceutical and biotech industry, his work has led to more than 450 research publications with over 43,000 citations.

Sebastian brings this great wealth of experience to Virtus, to help expedite the development of new treatments for lung disease into the clinic.