John Wagner, MD, PhD


John joined Foresite Capital as Partner in 2019 with more than 20 years of experience as a seasoned biopharmaceutical executive in research and development, discovery, translational medicine, experimental medicine, clinical research, clinical pharmacology, biomarkers and surrogate endpoints, modeling and simulation, precompetitive collaboration, project leadership and management, portfolio management and prioritization, scientific strategy, and biomedical policy.

Prior to Foresite Capital, John was senior vice president and head of translational research and early clinical at Takeda Pharmaceuticals International Co.  for 5 years and held a variety of senior leadership positions at Merck & Co., Inc. for the previous 15 years.  John was responsible for over 150 introductions-to-humans, and instrumental to the clinical development, clinical pharmacology and regulatory filings of numerous drugs including Emend (aprepitant) Invanz (ertapenem) Isentress (raltegravir), Januvia (sitagliptin), Maxalt (rizatriptan), Ninlaro (ixazomib), Victrelis (boceprevir) and Zolinza (vorinostat).

Before his industry career, John received his M.D. from Stanford University School of Medicine and Ph.D. from the Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine.  Postgraduate training included Internal Medicine Internship and Residency, as well as Molecular and Clinical Pharmacology Postdoctoral Fellowships at Stanford.  He began his professional career in academic research on Cystic Fibrosis gene therapy and has continued in the pharmaceutical industry, largely in the context of drug development as well as biomarkers.

John has deep not-for-profit as well as for-profit board experience including past board member and president of the American Society for Clinical Pharmacology and Therapeutics (ASCPT).  He was recognized for academic society leadership with the 2019 ASCPT Henry W. Elliott Distinguished Service Award.  John continues in his role as Editor-in-Chief, Clinical and Translational Science (Wiley).


  • M.D. from Stanford University School of Medicine and Ph.D. from the Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine
  • Senior drug development executive at Takeda Pharmaceuticals International Co. and Merck & Co., Inc 
  • Deep drug discovery and development experience across multiple therapeutic areas including bone, cardiovascular, diabetes and metabolism, gastroenterology, infectious diseases, neuroscience, oncology, rare diseases, respiratory, rheumatology and immunology