Cell Medica, a leader in developing, manufacturing and marketing cellular immunotherapies for the treatment of cancer and infections, today announced key appointments to continue strengthening its senior management team.
Alain Pralong, Ph.D appointed Senior Vice President, Head of Manufacturing Operations
Stefanos Theoharis, Ph.D. appointed Senior Vice President and Head of Pipeline Strategy and Corporate Partnering
Alain Pralong will develop and execute the Company’s strategy for commercial supply of patient-specific cell products on a global level. Through his previous positions at GSK Vaccines, Crucell, Merck Serono and Roche, Alain has extensive experience in product development and scaling pharmaceutical manufacturing operations. Alain will also oversee Cell Medica’s contract manufacturing relationships.
Stefanos Theoharis will spearhead the company’s pipeline development strategy and strategic partnerships. Stefanos’s understanding of development opportunities in cell and gene therapies will accelerate Cell Medica’s pipeline strategy, which includes sourcing new products through academic and corporate collaborations as well as from in-house R&D.
“The appointments of Alain and Stefanos reflect the substantial progress of our current development programs and our plans to expand our product pipeline further,” stated Gregg Sando, Chief Executive Officer. “The addition of senior team members with big pharma experience, including our earlier appointment of Holger Müller as Head of Commercial Operations, demonstrates the depth of management talent we are building within Cell Medica.”
Alain Pralong brings to Cell Medica extensive experience in biotechnology manufacturing, from pre-clinical product development through to full commercialization, as well as relationship management with technology suppliers, contract manufacturers and research organizations. He joins Cell Medica from GSK Vaccines in Belgium, where he served as Vice President for New Product Introduction & Technical Life Cycle Management. Prior to that, he was Vice President Process Development at Crucell, where he spearheaded work on various monoclonal antibodies and vaccines until Crucell’s acquisition by Johnson & Johnson in 2011. Dr. Pralong also held key biotech manufacturing positions including Biotechnology Product Director at Merck-Serono, Head of Pharma technical biotech transfer at Roche, where he managed the transfer of Avastin process manufacturing from Genentech and Head of the Biotechnology Development and Cell Culture Group at Schering-Plough. Dr. Pralong earned his doctorate in molecular and cellular biology at the University of Berne, where he also obtained his Masters in biology. Dr. Pralong’s work has been published in a number of peer-reviewed journals.
Stefanos Theoharis comes to Cell Medica with broad experience in the life science sector, including large pharma, biotech, investment banking and academia. Before joining Cell Medica, Dr. Theoharis was Chief Business Officer for apceth GmbH, where he was responsible for business development activities and project management. Earlier in his career, he served as Head of Business Development at Antisense Pharma (now Isarna), Business Development Director at Roche and Mergers & Acquisitions Analyst on the Life Science Team at Lazard. Dr. Theoharis holds a Ph.D. in Gene Therapy and Immunology from Imperial College London, where he subsequently worked as a post-doctoral Research Fellow, while also acting as a technology transfer consultant for the London Technology Network.
Holger Müller leads Cell Medica’s commercial activities, drawing on 15 years of experience in the pharmaceutical industry. Prior to joining Cell Medica, Dr. Müller held various commercial positions of increasing responsibility at Novartis mainly in the area of specialty drugs. Earlier in his career, he was a consultant at Bain & Company, a leading global management consultancy, where his clients were predominantly pharmaceutical and private equity companies. Dr. Müller holds a Ph.D. from the Swiss Federal Institute of Technology and a degree in Chemistry from Leibniz University of Hanover. He is a Chartered Financial Analyst, a qualification he gained from the CFA Institute in the U.S.