Anabella Villalobos was born and raised in Panama City, Panama. She obtained her B.S. in Chemistry at the University of Panama and her Ph.D. in Medicinal Chemistry with Professor Lester A. Mitscher at the University of Kansas. She was a Fulbright-Hayes Fellow at the University of Kansas. After two years as a National Institutes of Health Postdoctoral Fellow with Professor Samuel Danishefsky at Yale University, Anabella joined the Groton Laboratories at Pfizer as a Research Scientist in the Neuroscience Medicinal Chemistry group in 1989.
In June 2001, Anabella became the head of Neuroscience Medicinal Chemistry in Groton Discovery and in March 2007, she assumed responsibility for Antibacterials and Neuroscience Medicinal Chemistry. Following the October 2008 reorganization into therapeutic area research units, Anabella became the head of Neuroscience Medicinal Chemistry and assumed the Interim CSO role for the Neuroscience Research Unit leading biology and clinical efforts from October 2008 – October 2009 and March 2010 – August 2010.
Anabella is currently the head of Neuroscience and Antibody Drug Conjugate Medicinal Chemistry. Among Anabella’s accomplishments are her contributions to the Acetylcholinesterase Inhibitor program leading to the design and discovery of CP-118,954 (icopezil) which was advanced to Phase II clinical trials in Alzheimer’s disease. This candidate became part of the agreement that led to the successful co-promotion of Aricept by Pfizer and Eisai. Anabella has significant drug discovery and development experience and has led multidisciplinary teams that have taken development candidates into Phase I and Phase II studies for Alzheimer’s disease, stroke, and sleep disorders. She is the author of multiple publications and patents. Anabella is married to Kevin C. Johnson and has two sons, Derek (20) and Casey (17). Derek is a junior in college and Casey is a senior in high school.