Sushmita Lahiri is the Global Head of Antibacterial Discovery at Johnson & Johnson, USA. Here, she leads the preclinical development team responsible for optimization, nomination, and support for clinical candidates. She also provides infectious disease leadership for small molecules and biologic drug project teams and is responsible for contributing to the strategic direction for Janssen’s infectious diseases pipeline and the evaluation of new targets, therapeutic concepts, and therapeutic agents.

Prior to this, she was a member of the External Innovation team of Research Beyond Borders at Boehringer Ingelheim, where she was responsible for identifying emerging science and technologies in gene therapy, regenerative medicine, microbiomes, and infectious diseases. She established here a collaborative partnership with various academic and small biotech innovators and was the Project Leader for small and large molecule projects.

Sushmita was also previously a member of the leadership team of Macrolide Pharmaceuticals, a small biotechnological company focused on the discovery and development of novel synthetic macrolides for Gram-negative pathogens. In this role, she was responsible for the strategy and execution of pre-clinical microbiological and pharmacological studies.

Before joining Macrolide, Sushmita was in AstraZeneca’s Infectious Diseases division in Boston, USA working for more than a decade which included a year of post-doctoral training. She contributed to the discovery and development of various antibacterial compounds and led the target team responsible for the nomination of bacterial targets as well as the preclinical team that identified ETX0282CPDP, an orally available DABCO compound. She has contributed extensively towards the scientific understanding of avibactam, the first-in-class non-β-lactam scaffold for β-lactamase inhibition as well as the regulatory submission of ceftazidime-avibactam (Zavicefta/AvyCaz). She also played a key role in the genetic and functional interpretation of bacterial resistance mechanisms against the first anti-MRSA β-lactam drug ceftaroline fosamil (Zinforo/Tefloro) to support a higher clinical breakpoint. She has also contributed towards the understanding of functional differentiation of Zoliflodacin, aztreonam-avibactam and sulbactam-durlobactam.

Sushmita is a co-author of more than 45 publications in peer-reviewed journals and has served in numerous review panels for anti-infective grants such as PAB member for CARB-X and NIH SBIR and BAA study sections.

Sushmita gained her PhD in cell and molecular biology from Boston University School of Medicine in 2004 and her master’s degree in biochemistry from the University of Nebraska in 1999.