Frank Johnson, who has 33 years of experience in the pharmaceutical industry, is the new vice president of sales and marketing at

Johnson has worked at Glaxo, Glaxo Wellcome, Eli Lilly and other firms. Among his responsibilities were marketing and research programs for several brand-name drugs.

“With assays ready for licensing now and others in the future, our business will benefit from Frank’s expertise in communicating the impact that novel classes of anti-infectives can make for both organizations and patients needing new antibiotics for emerging resistant pathogens,” said Trana Chief Executive Officer Steve Peterson.

Trana has developed a high-throughput HIV drug discovery test in collaboration with Southern Research.

Financed in part by a $250,000 small business research loan from the North Carolina Biotechnology Center, Trana says its test can identify compounds that inhibit reproduction of Staphylococcus aureus at the RNA level.

Because staph bacteria in some cases have developed resistance to antibiotics, the healthcare industry is seeking to develop new compounds for treatment.

If the commercialization project proves successful, Trana plans to license the assay technology to pharmaceutical firms. Trana’s technology is licensed from N.C. State.