Key Team Members
Founder and Chief Executive Officer
Lawrence Forman has 37 years’ experience in academic and industrial biological and biotechnology research and in cell culture process development and related areas. Mr. Forman has held positions at the Albert Einstein College of Medicine, Genentech (1980-1996), CuraGen, and Applikon Biotechnology. Mr. Forman has worked as a consultant for numerous biopharma clients and has experience in cell culture process and medium development; online process monitoring and control; cell banking; GMP manufacturing; on- and off-line analytical development; virus inactivation; process engineering. Mr. Forman received a B.A. in Biology from the State University of New York—New Paltz.
Co-Founder and Chief Scientific Advisor
Dr. Lawrence Chasin is a Professor of Biological Sciences at Columbia University. Professor Chasin’s research is aimed at discovering the sequence signals in DNA that control the expression of Human genes. His earliest major contribution was to help found the field of mammalian cell genetics where he demonstrated that genetic manipulation could succeed in mammalian cells just as it had in microorganisms. Professor Chasin’s seminal works led to new fields of study: “gene amplification” and “nonsense-mediated decay.” Prof. Chasin has consistently pushed the development and use of new technologies. This includes the creation of Chinese Hamster Ovary host cell lines produced by Prof. Chasin’s laboratory that are now the gold standard for the commercial production of therapeutic monoclonal antibodies and are used by nearly all biopharmaceutical companies worldwide for research on, and/or the production of, a majority of licensed human protein therapeutic products.
Chief Operating Officer
James Panek has more than 40 years of experience in the biotechnology and pharmaceutical industries. He joined VaxGen in 2002 as Senior Vice President of Technical Operations, and was appointed its Chief Executive Officer in 2007. During his tenure at VaxGen, Panek served as Co-CEO and Chairman of its highly successful international joint venture, Celltrion, Inc., the first large scale, commercial contract manufacturing and development company in Asia. Prior to joining VaxGen, Panek was Senior Vice President of Product Operations at Genentech, Inc. and a member of its Executive Committee. In this position, Panek was responsible for all process development, manufacturing, and quality functions. He also led the development of one of world's largest manufacturing facilities enabling FDA approval and launch of multiple recombinant products including Rituxan® and Herceptin®. Prior to joining Genentech, Panek spent six years with Eli Lilly in a variety of engineering and development positions. Panek holds Bachelor’s and Master’s degrees in Chemical Engineering from the University of Michigan, and has served on several Boards of Directors and Advisory Boards including VaxGen, Inc., DiaDexus, Inc., Celltrion, Inc., and Geneworks.
T. Shantha Raju
Vice President and Head of Protein Sciences
T. Shantha Raju has more than 25 years of experience in the biotechnology and pharmaceutical industries. He joined Venn Therapeutics in 2017 as Head of R&D. During his tenure at Venn, Raju was involved in the preclinical development of pipeline projects which included a mAb, gene therapy and a small molecule inhibitor. Prior to joining Venn, Raju was a Senior Director and global Head of Bioassay at Medimmune. In this position, Raju was responsible for the development and quality control of Bioassays for the pipeline projects which included mAbs, cell and gene therapy, oncolytic vaccines, peptides, small molecules, etc. Prior to joining Medimmune, Raju spent twelve years with Janssen Pharmaceuticals and six years at Genentech in a variety of positions. Raju holds Bachelor’s, Master’s and Doctorate degrees from the University of Mysore, and has served on the Editorial Boards of several Journals. He has published more than 40 research papers, reviews and book chapter. His book entitled “Co- and Post-Translational Modifications of Therapeutic Antibodies and Proteins” was recently published by Wiley.
Senior Scientist, Cell Engineering
Prior to joining the pharmaceutical industry, Kathy Ngo spent over 10 years in academia focused on understanding how cells communicate with one another during development. At the University of California, Los Angeles, Dr. Ngo uncovered a novel mechanism by which phospholipids can activate non-canonical Hedgehog signaling, and identified Notch signaling as a major determinant for a transient population of symmetrically dividing retinal stem cells that had not been previously identified. While at Aridis Pharmaceuticals, Dr. Ngo played a key role in the development of a CRISPR-based technology to enhance antibody production, and the development of a microfluidics-based HTS platform for rapid, single-cell clonal selection of CHO cells for monoclonal antibody production. Dr. Ngo holds Bachelor’s and Doctorate degrees from UCLA. She has co-authored over 15 research papers, reviews, and patents.