National Foundation for Celiac Awareness to Honor Francisco Leon, MD, PHD, CEO and Chief Medical Officer of Celimmune at 2nd Annual Samuel Gee Society Reception

Philadelphia, PA – September 26th – On October 15th, the National Foundation for Celiac Awareness (NFCA) is hosting its 2nd Annual Samuel Gee Society Reception, which will celebrate a tradition of firsts and recognize five individuals whose contributions and involvement have advanced the NFCA mission to increase understanding of celiac disease as a serious genetic autoimmune condition and to secure early diagnosis and effective management. CEO and Chief Medical Officer of Celimmune, Francisco Leon, MD, PhD will receive special recognition at the event, which is being held at The Union Trust and will feature culinary innovations in a setting free from gluten.

“Francisco has been a trailblazer in research in celiac disease. He’s been on the front line of treatment options beyond the gluten-free diet,” said NFCA President Alice Bast. “He is an articulate and gifted clinician and we are so lucky that he has dedicated his work for the betterment of the celiac disease community.”

A clinical immunologist and drug developer with a strong passion for serving people with celiac disease, Francisco has led teams in big pharma and small start-ups doing research and driving treatment options. He co-founded his current company, Celimmune, with Ashleigh Palmer in early 2015. Francisco has been involved in more celiac trials than any other industry clinician. He also continues to develop celiac disease diagnostics, most recently contributing to the development of the first gluten-free diet monitoring tool. He is an Adjunct Research Associate Professor of Medicine at Jefferson Medical College and has authored or co-authored over 75 peer-reviewed articles and book chapters as well as several patents.

Other NFCA “Firsts”:

  • First to launch a national family screening campaign for celiac disease
  • First to hold a Research Summit, convening patients, researchers, industry and government to craft a plan for advancing celiac disease research to increase treatment options, diagnosis and, one day, find a cure
  • First to work with grocery stores to expand gluten-free options
  • First celiac disease advocacy organization to receive support from key government health agencies

Also being honored at this year’s Samuel Gee Society reception are:

  • Glenna Crooks, PhD, Founder, SageMyLife Solutions
  • Chef Jehangir Mehta, Next Iron Chef Finalist and owner of the New York City restaurants Graffiti and Mehtaphor
  • Allison Lubert, Founder, Sweet Freedom Bakeries
  • Dick Moberg, Founder and CEO, Moberg ICU Solutions

NFCA’s Mission

The National Foundation for Celiac Awareness advances widespread understanding of celiac disease as a serious genetic autoimmune condition and works to secure early diagnosis and effective management. We empower our community to live life to the fullest, and serve as a leading and trusted resource that inspires hope, accelerates innovation and forges pathways to a cure.

NFCA is affiliated with the leading researchers internationally and supports collaboration and partnership among scientists and institutions to optimize research potential with the goal of improving the quality of life for those who have celiac disease.

The Samuel Gee Society – named in honor of Samuel Gee, a pediatrician who first defined celiac disease and made the connection to diet in 1888 –recognizes NFCA’s most prestigious donors, those who give $1,000 or more annually to help those with celiac disease live better, longer.

A 501(c)(3) non-profit organization, NFCA is a leading source of free patient resources and industry training programs that not only help people get diagnosed, but also ensure they restore their health and reclaim their lives after diagnosis. For more information, visit

Media Contact: Claire Baker, National Foundation for Celiac Awareness, 267-419-2111,