WATERTOWN, Mass.--(BUSINESS WIRE)--Landmark Bio™ announced today the appointment of Ran Zheng as Chief Executive Officer. Ms. Zheng is a biotechnology industry veteran who brings more than 25 years of experience in biotechnology operations across multiple geographies to Landmark Bio. Previously known as the center for advanced biological innovation and manufacturing (or “CABIM”), the mission of this newly created public benefit company is to help new therapeutics reach patients faster while strengthening Massachusetts’ position as the world’s life science capital.
In this role, Ms. Zheng will stand up the new facility, establish core capabilities, recruit and build a diverse, talented team of ultimately more than 100 experts focusing on the emerging technologies of cell and gene therapies, mRNA, and other novel modalities with the support of the company’s founding partners and board members, which include leaders from Harvard University, Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT), Cytiva, FUJIFILM Diosynth Biotechnologies, and Alexandria Real Estate Equities, Inc.
“I am delighted that Ran has joined Landmark Bio as CEO,” said Alan M. Garber, Provost of Harvard University and Chair of the Board of Landmark Bio who has been leading the initiative. “As a leader with broad and deep industry expertise and an impressive record of achievement in technology development and global clinical development, Ran comes to this role at the perfect time. The kickoff today on the construction of Landmark Bio’s state-of-the-art facility is just the first step in our collective efforts to innovate in biological manufacturing and support the production of early-stage biological therapies. The facility will ease key bottlenecks in the development of some of the most promising approaches to therapy today.”
Ms. Zheng most recently served as Chief Technical Officer at Orchard Therapeutics, a commercial-stage global gene therapy company specializing in hematopoietic stem cell-based gene therapies. In this role, Ms. Zheng established the technical operations function and manufacturing network, and advanced the company’s product pipeline, including the approval of Libmeldy™ - the first gene therapy product for metachromatic leukodystrophy. Ms. Zheng has also held leadership positions at several major biotechnology companies including Genzyme (now Sanofi) and Amgen. At Amgen, Ms. Zheng played a key role in building differentiating capabilities in manufacturing for clinical supply and commercial product launch to enable speed to clinic and speed to market strategies for Amgen’s innovative products.
“I am very excited to join the Landmark Bio team and collaborate with the extraordinary scientists, physicians and entrepreneurs who are at the forefront of biological innovation,” said Ran Zheng, CEO of Landmark Bio. “We have a unique opportunity to harness the power of mission-driven collaboration and help turn today’s cutting-edge research into tomorrow’s breakthrough therapies and shape the future of human health.”
With construction starting on the new 40,000 square-foot biomanufacturing facility today at The Arsenal on the Charles in Watertown, MA, Landmark Bio plans to begin opening at the start of 2022. The initial scope of the facility will include cell and gene therapy, gene editing, and mRNA products, which offer the potential to treat or even cure diseases such as cancer, diabetes, Parkinson’s, and Alzheimer’s, among others. Today, there are around 800 clinical trials ongoing in cell and gene therapy alone worldwide.
“With this collaboration among academia, industry, and government, we have a collective opportunity to advance the technologies that manufacture and distribute new and next-generation medicines by incubating and analyzing the data behind those technologies,” said Martin A. Schmidt, MIT Provost. “MIT is proud to play a role in the development of new technologies to make, measure, and analyze new medicines better than we can today.”
Under Zheng’s leadership, Landmark Bio will work closely with partner and collaborating organizations that include Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center, Boston Children’s Hospital, Brigham and Women’s Hospital, the Dana-Farber Cancer Institute, Massachusetts General Hospital, and The Commonwealth of Massachusetts through the Massachusetts Life Sciences Center to foster unique partnerships between industry, academia and leading hospitals in the Greater Boston area.
“The Commonwealth has long recognized the power of public-private partnerships to unlock new opportunities that create jobs, spur economic development, and strengthen burgeoning areas of our economy such as biomanufacturing,” said Massachusetts Housing & Economic Development Secretary Mike Kennealy. “The Baker-Polito Administration and the Massachusetts Life Sciences Center are committed to ensuring we build a strong foundation for future growth and collaboration to advance the immense potential that this endeavor can contribute to the Massachusetts innovation ecosystem.”
“This new collaborative innovation hub has all the key ingredients to ensure it becomes as essential anchor for our Commonwealth’s life sciences ecosystem,” said Massachusetts Life Sciences Center President and CEO Kenn Turner. “The partners involved and its proximity to a growing cluster of life sciences activity makes our team bullish on its potential to drive innovation in manufacturing and workforce development.”
In addition to GMP manufacturing space for clinical trial products, the facility will also provide innovation and development labs for process development, in-house quality control, and office and meeting spaces to facilitate collaboration between scientists, engineers and biotech professionals from the region’s universities, hospitals, and industries.
“Accelerating development of novel therapeutics requires a diverse and committed collection of great minds and strong capabilities across industry, academia, and hospital systems,” said Emmanuel Ligner, President and CEO of Cytiva. “Landmark Bio brings the very best representatives from all of these parts together in a truly inspiring way, for the benefit of patients globally. Ran Zheng has the skills and experience to make our vision for Landmark Bio a reality.”
About Landmark Bio™
Formerly known as the new center for advanced biological innovation and manufacturing (or “CABIM”), Landmark Bio, PBLLC is a public benefit limited liability company that was formed to advance the development of transformative new medicines by translating today’s cutting-edge research into tomorrow’s breakthrough therapies. The cross-sector partnership harnesses world-leading expertise to accelerate fast-emerging and promising science, the challenges of which are daunting for any single institution to tackle alone. Board members include leaders from Harvard University, Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT), FUJIFILM Diosynth Biotechnologies (FDB), Cytiva, and Alexandria Real Estate Equities, Inc. Other collaborating institutions include Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center, Boston Children’s Hospital, Brigham and Women’s Hospital, the Dana-Farber Cancer Institute, Massachusetts General Hospital, and the Massachusetts Life Sciences Center.