Biopharma

Accelerating innovative cell and gene therapies

Biopharma Solutions at NJII

The Biopharma Division at NJII was established to help our partners in industry overcome challenges they face as they develop the next wave of cell and gene therapies.

We have a multi-million dollar, state-of-the-art Cell and Gene Therapy Development Center for flexible process development and clinical manufacturing.

As a nonprofit organization our services are available at a more affordable price point than our commercial counterparts. Our goal is to help you advance your product from the lab to the clinic.

Our mission is to support industry-wide advancement, so we also focus on workforce development and the incubation of promising start-ups.

Why Choose Us?

Fast and Cost
Effective

Secure and
Confidential

Broad
Expertise

Flexibility and
Customization

Explore The Cell & Gene Therapy Development Center

Our state-of-the-art process development and cGMP manufacturing center features two GMP suites for clinical production of cell & gene therapies and a process development pilot plant. Our clients come to us for fast and cost effective development services that are secure, confidential and flexible. We do not retain any intellectual property, and work with our clients to customize a development process that is right for them.

Our Industry Partners

Meet the Leadership Team

Haro Hartounian

Dr. Hartounian leads the Biopharma Division at NJII, working with colleagues in industry and academia to help biopharmaceutical companies transform discovery into commercial production. He has nearly 30 years experience in the biotechnology industry working for companies such as DuPont, Monsanto, SkyePharma and Vyteris. He contributed to three FDA-approved product launches ⁠— DepoCyt and DepoMorphine ⁠⁠— and has served as the CEO of public and private biopharma companies. He also founded the companies MicroIslet, Protagenic Therapeutics, and DiaVacs and has worked in a variety of product lines ⁠— including cell therapy, oncology, women’s health, pain management and drug delivery. In addition, Dr. Hartounian is an adjunct associate professor of Chemical Engineering at Columbia University. He earned his Ph.D. in Chemical Engineering from the University of Delaware.

Haro Hartounian, PhD

Senior Vice President

Hana Ioannidis, PhD

Dr. Ioannidis completed her B.S. in Chemistry at Beijing Normal University and her Ph.D. in Chemistry at NJIT, with a focus on protein engineering by directed evolution. Before working at NJII, she served as the associate director of microbiology at TAXIS Pharmaceuticals, where she commissioned a new R&D facility and transferred its biology division from an academic setting into a successful industrial operation. She more recently worked as associate director of sales and marketing for ACS Scientific, where she implemented an efficient business development system for over 1,000 small molecule products. Her responsibility in the Biopharma team covers alliance management with corporate partners and clients, as well as strategic program planning and management.

Hana Ioannidis, PhD

Director, Alliance Management

Chathuranga De Silva, PhD

Dr. De Silva completed his Ph.D. in Chemical Engineering from Columbia University, specializing in polymer-based drug delivery systems. He later co-founded a startup company to commercialize work in this area. Prior to joining NJII, Dr. De Silva worked in chemical distribution, product development and commercialization. He has also published several peer-reviewed journal articles on his work in specialty polymers.

Chathuranga De Silva, PhD

Director, Business Development

Fuhua Xu, PhD

Dr. Xu possesses extensive lab experience in xenograft modeling, cell and biochemical analysis, molecular biology, and genomic techniques. Since completing his Ph.D. in Cell and Molecular Biology at Rutgers University, Dr. Xu has more than 10 years of experience in research and engineering in CAR T-cell manufacturing. Prior to joining our team, Dr. Xu dedicated his talents to process development and manufacturing projects while working for CMC Biologics, Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center, and the National Institutes of Health.

Fuhua Xu, PhD

Principal Scientist

Bhumesh Savalia, MSc

Bhumesh Savalia brings more than nine years of experience in pre-clinical and clinical development of cell and gene therapy to our team. His extensive portfolio includes projects on autologous and allogenic cell and gene therapy, including multi-antigen-specific T cells, and bio-specific antibodies. Throughout his career, Savalia worked in cGMP production, quality assurance, and process development. He is dedicating his expertise and experience to developing cost effective ways to deliver cell and gene therapy to patients.

Bhumesh Savalia, MSc

Principal Scientist

Zainab Alali, PhD

Along with her PhD in Molecular Bioscience from Seton Hall University, Dr. Alali has more than seven years of research experience in cellular and molecular biology. She possesses extensive GMP expertise and is a certified GMP training practitioner. Her laboratory expertise includes genetic isolation, cloning, sequencing, delivery, as well as ELISA, CLARITY, and CRISPR-Cas9 technologies. Prior to working with NJII, Dr. Alali was a senior manufacturing associate in Celgene’s CAR-T projects, where she qualified new operators in CAR-T manufacturing. She also lends her expertise as an adjunct professor in NJIT’s Cell and Gene Therapy Program.

Zainab Alali, PhD

Principal Scientist

Sadiq Khan

Khan has more than 25 years of marketing, alliance and general management experience. He has held e-leadership roles within Sanofi-Aventis and its predecessor companies. In addition to several management positions in the Asia-Pacific region. He has held U.S. and global franchise leadership positions at companies both small and large. Additionally, he has worked as a consultant independently and with a Big Four professional service organization. Khan has experience in more than 12 therapeutic areas. He earned a B.Sc. in Mathematics and Physics and two MBAs. He is a regular guest speaker at Columbia University and NJIT.

Sadiq Khan

Senior Director, Operations and Planning

Rucheet Patel

Patel holds a M.Sc. in Pharmaceutical & Medicinal Chemistry from New Jersey Institute of Technology and a B.Sc. in Pharmaceutical Sciences from Gujarat Technological University in India. He trained in quality assurance/quality control and R&D in the pharmaceutical industry in India for more than two years. Patel recently started working in the area of cell and gene therapy as a member of the Biopharma Division.

Rucheet Patel

Project Manager

Benjamin Hughes

Hughes is in the Biochemistry Program at NJIT, working towards his goal of entering medicine. With a strong interest in scientific innovation, he aims to help advance the quickly growing field of cell and gene therapies in the clinic and in the lab. Prior to joining the team at NJII, Hughes was a process development assistant with BioMagnetic Solutions.

Benjamin Hughes

Business Development

Naira Abou-Ghali

Abou-Ghali is a fourth-year biology student at NJIT and will be working towards a Ph.D. in pharmacology at Weill Cornell Medical School. During her time there, she aims to invent novel cancer therapeutics and mentor underrepresented students in STEM. Prior to joining the team at NJII, Abou-Ghali was a research intern at the University of Pennsylvania.

Naira Abou-Ghali

Business Development

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