Marianthi Psaha is the Global Head of Santen’s Cell & Gene Therapy business unit. She is leading the establishment of a global team dedicated to unlocking the potential of cell and gene therapies to address significant unmet needs in ophthalmology by building capabilities and creating a sustainable, scalable platform for Santen’s future therapies.Marianthi has worked for 25 years as a commercial leader, spanning the local, regional and global levels. She has over 14 years of experience in the pharma industry, primarily focusing on gene therapy, rare diseases, and primary and specialty care. Prior to joining Santen, she held roles of increasing responsibility at Novartis, where she ultimately led the launch of the first ever gene therapy in ophthalmology. She previously also held a General Management role in Slovakia where she led a business and cultural transformation focused on creating an environment where people can thrive and win as a team.Marianthi holds a Bachelor’s degree in Economics and Management from McGill University in Canada, a postgraduate degree in Leadership Capabilities from Glasgow Caledonian University, and an MBA from the Warwick Business School in the UK. She is based in Basel, Switzerland, where she lives with her husband and son.
Zhimei Du, MD/PhD, VP of Process Sciences at Atara Biotherapeutics. Zhimei graduated from Cornell University Medical College – Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center Joint Immunology Program. After graduation, she joined Robert G. Roeder’s laboratory at The Rockefeller University, exploring the genetic/epigenetic regulation mechanisms during leukemia genesis. She started her industrial career at Regeneron as protein engineer for bi-specific antibodies. Later, she joined Amgen followed by Teva Pharmaceuticals focusing on bioprocess development of biotherapeutics manufacturing. Zhimei had extensive experience in cell/gene therapy. She led cell/gene therapy clinical programs for type I diabetes at Diabetes Research Institute, U. of Miami. Zhimei joined Merck & Co. where she served as the Executive Director & Global Head of Process Cell Sciences, leading Process Cell Sciences Department, including allogeneic CAR-T and CAR-NK cell therapy process development, cell line development, cell banking, genetic/cytogenetic characterization, biomarker and predictive modeling. Currently, Zhimei is the VP of Process Sciences at Atara Bio, a leading Allogeneic Cell/gene therapy company. Zhimei is also the sponsor and core member of multiple Industrial-wide Consortium teams, setting up road map and establishing industrial common practices in various biotherapeutics development areas, including ISPE ATMP, Allogeneic Accelerated Development Network, BioPhorum Cell/Gene therapy, ADC/Bispeicifics Roadmap team co-lead at BPOD/NIMBLE, IQ comparability team, IQ sequence variant consortium team, IQ Design Space team.
Dr Malerba was awarded a PhD in Biotechnologies, describing novel approaches to improve muscle
regeneration. He joined the Gene therapy laboratory at Royal Holloway, University of London, in
2007 and since then he contributed to the development of novel gene therapy agents and antisense therapeutics for the treatment of rare neuromuscular diseases. Initially he focused his work on developing antisense reagents for the treatment of Duchenne muscular dystrophy and his work was instrumental to optimize the dosing regimens used for the morpholino exon skipping phase II/III clinical trial for this disease. Afterwards, he worked for 2 years as independent research fellow at the
Royal Veterinary College in London, where he developed a scientific program based on new splicing-modulating molecules for the treatment of cardiovascular diseases. In 2013, he re-joined the gene therapy laboratory at Royal Holloway where he has worked as project manager on the optimization of gene therapies and antisense therapeutics for a number of muscular dystrophies. His work was
crucial in developing, in collaboration with Benitec Biopharma, a gene therapy AAV vector for Oculopharyngeal Muscular Dystrophy (OPMD), a rare muscle proteinopathy. The vector is expected
to enter a first-in-human phase I/II clinical trial in 2023. He is now the academic leading the Gene therapy laboratory at Royal Holloway.
Mark joined the Cell and Gene Therapy Catapult in June 2021 as a Non-Clinical Manager. In this role, he works with external collaborators to ensure that non-clinical studies of candidate products meet the current regulatory requirements.Prior to joining Catapult, Mark has worked in both industrial and academic settings, including as Head of Flow Cytometry Standardization at the MHRA (Maternity cover), a Research Scientist at Charles River Laboratories, in addition to a post-doctoral fellowship at the Benaroya Research Institute in Seattle, Washington (USA). Mark’s PhD in Immunology was awarded by the University of Glasgow in 2013, and he was also spent time working in a laboratory in Canada. With approximately 15 years’ experience, Mark has a broad understanding of Cellular and Molecular Immunology and can effectively apply this knowledge to various drug development platforms.
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