Gus Gustafson



Gus Gustafson Headshot

Gus Gustafson

VP-CVM Innovation

Janssen R&D US

Why I'm a JPAL

I really enjoy working with Biotech companies that are working on innovative projects in areas of high unmet medical need. My over 30 year history working as an academic researcher and more recently as a Biotech and Pharma leader can often be relevant to help guide emerging companies.


Gus is Vice President of CVM Scientific Innovation at the Johnson & Johnson Innovation Center in California. A biologist with an extensive background in Diabetes and Cardiovascular drug discovery, Gus is dedicated to finding better treatments, and ideally cures, for metabolic disease such as Type 2 diabetes and complications of metabolic disease such and Chronic Kidney Disease (CKD), non-alcoholic steatohepatitis (NASH) and diseases of the Retina. Formerly, Gus was Site Lead at Merck where he led the Diabetes Department. Prior to Merck, he served as Vice President at Pfizer where he led the CVMED Target Exploratory Unit. Earlier in his career, Gus served as Chief Scientific Officer at Eli Lilly and led the Diabetes “Drug Hunting Team”. Prior to this, Gus spent 9 years as VP at Metabolex (now CymaBay), a Bay Area biotechnology company. Prior to industry, Gus enjoyed an academic career at the University of Maryland-Baltimore, publishing over 50 papers and achieving the rank of Associate Professor in the Department of Physiology. Throughout his academic and industry careers, Gus’s passion has always been towards understanding the complex biology underlying metabolic disease and its complications to discover clinically- and disease-relevant targets. In these roles Gus has helped to advance several small and large molecule therapeutic programs that have reached the clinic. Gus earned his BS. in biology at the University of Wisconsin – Stevens Point, and a Ph.D. in Pharmacology and Toxicology at the University of Arizona in Tucson. He was a postdoctoral scholar at Stanford University and at UC-San Francisco.


"An idea that is not dangerous is unworthy of being called an idea at all"

- Oscar Wilde

Fun fact:

I am a proud owner of the Green Bay Packers. GO PACK GO!