(Link will go live on 05/13/2021)

Silicon Valley, Boston and many other regions are known for attracting Life Science companies and talent. Nicknamed "Cellicon Valley", Philadelphia is now a key player and bringing many companies to the region. They’ve planted their flag here for several reasons. Come find out from experts “Why Philly, Why Now?” What makes Philly the best space to establish a Cell and Gene Therapy company/organization? Moderated by Melina Blees, Ph.D. - Site Director of BioLabs@CIC Philadelphia, a white-glove laboratory co-working space designed to support top-tier biotech companies. Melina gave up the beautiful weather of her native California to spend four years at Carleton College, followed by an M.S. and Ph.D. in Physics from Cornell University where her dissertation focused on using paper arts techniques to build nanoscale moving parts. After a program-building postdoc at the University of Chicago, Melina worked as Director of Innovation for a consulting startup whose clients ranged from Victor Mousetraps to Baskin Robbins Korea. She was delighted to come home to science as part of the national BioLabs network, and she feels privileged every day to work with the extraordinary scientists, collaborators, and innovators in this community. Panelists: Veenu Aishwarya: Chief Executive Officer -AUM LifeTech, Inc and AUM Biotech, LLC. An immigrant from India, Veenu Aishwarya is the founder and CEO of two biotech companies, AUM LifeTech Inc and AUM BioTech LLC. At AUM LifeTech, Veenu has been strategizing revolutionary concepts to develop innovative biomedical products using RNA targeting technology. On the medical side, Veenu has been creating innovative ideas and executing programs to develop nucleic acids therapeutics for various diseases, including cancer, CNS, and viral diseases. In the agriculture sphere, Veenu is also leading an effort to make food sustainable through the development of next-generation RNA silencing products for pest management and plant disease control. At AUM BioTech, he focuses on the applications of their self-delivering RNA silencing technology to facilitate discoveries and innovations in biomedical research. In a span of just a few years, under Veenu's leadership, his companies have managed to ship out products to over 27 countries across five continents. Each of their product has a label, which proudly reads - Designed in Philadelphia, Made in the USA, and Shipped Worldwide.  Jeffrey P. Castelli: Chief Development Officer - Amicus Therapeutics. Dr. Castelli joined Amicus in July 2005 and currently serves as Chief Development Officer. He has over 20 years of experience in the Biotech and Orphan Drug industry, focused on rare disease research and development of medicines from discovery through market authorization. In his current capacity, he provides strategic leadership across all R&D activities, including direct oversight of Science, Clinical Research, and Medical Affairs. Previously at Amicus he has had responsibility for a number of different functions including program management, portfolio planning and the gene therapy business. Prior to joining Amicus, Dr. Castelli was a healthcare strategy consultant at Health Advances LLC and worked in business development at Neose Pharmaceuticals Inc. He received a B.S. from West Chester University and a Ph.D. from the University of Pennsylvania, and is an author on numerous publications and patents in the field of rare disease drug development. Matthew Handel: Co-Founder and Chief Executive Officer of ExpressCells. Matt Handel has spent most of his career in biopharmaceutical product development, transitioning from the world of traditional pharmaceuticals to biotechnology, cell therapy, and regenerative medicine. He began his career at Merck & Co., and then spent 11 years at Shire Pharmaceuticals in multiple roles, with a focus on Corporate Development. Matt then moved to G&W Laboratories, Inc., where he built the product selection process and identified licensing and acquisition opportunities. Mr. Handel previously founded Recensa Therapeutics and Skyran Biologics. He is a board director of PolyAurum, LLC, an oncology company. Matt is a graduate of Princeton University and received his MS in operations management and marketing from the MIT Sloan School of Management.
May 13, 2021
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