Rocket Pharmaceuticals has announced the appointment of Mayo Pujols as Chief Technical Officer (CTO) and Executive Vice President.
The late-stage, clinical biotechnology company is developing an integrated and sustainable pipeline of genetic therapies for rare childhood disorders with high unmet need.
Pujols brings nearly three decades of experience, from leadership roles across technical operations, quality operations, validation, process development and Good Manufacturing Practice (cGMP) manufacturing.
He most recently served as Chief Executive Officer of Andelyn Biosciences, a gene therapy contract development and manufacturing organization (CDMO) and prior to Andelyn was the Head of Global Cell and Gene Technical Development and Manufacturing for Novartis Pharmaceuticals.
As Rocket’s first CTO, Pujols will lead the technical operations function and chemistry, manufacturing and controls (CMC) for all lentiviral programs.
Additionally, he will lead the Company’s state-of-the-art adeno-associated virus (AAV) manufacturing facility that has recently achieved cGMP readiness for a planned Phase 2 pivotal study in Danon Disease.
Kinnari Patel, Pharm.D., M.B.A., President and Chief Operating Officer of Rocket Pharm, said:
“The arrival of Mayo, one of the leading cell and gene therapy technical operations experts in the industry, comes at an exciting time, as we have completed our in-house AAV manufacturing readiness plan and are progressing on the path toward a Phase 2 pivotal study and potential commercialisation for our therapy for Danon Disease.
“Mayo’s proven track record of success and leadership in gene therapy and CAR-T cell therapy at both Novartis and Celgene adds to our team’s rich experience as we prepare our first regulatory filings for our lentiviral platform and advance our AAV platform in our pursuit of gene therapy cures for patients living with rare and devastating diseases.”
Prior to joining Rocket, Pujols was Chief Executive Officer of Andelyn Biosciences, a CDMO affiliated with Nationwide Children’s Hospital, where he led its expansion to a full-service gene therapy CDMO.
Previously, he served as Head of Global Cell and Gene Technical Development and Manufacturing for Novartis Pharmaceuticals, where he was responsible for the global development and internal and external manufacturing for the cell and gene therapy franchise.
He also served as Vice President of global CAR‐T operations and technology at Celgene, where he led global manufacturing and technical operations of CAR-T products and built the company’s commercial manufacturing capabilities.
Throughout his career, he has also held key roles at Merck, Advaxis, MedImmune and Schering-Plough.
“Rocket’s progress moving four gene therapy programs to clinical proof of concept and achieving the primary endpoint for two of them in a short time is remarkable.
“Additionally, its forward-looking approach to in-house AAV manufacturing will help ensure patients with rare genetic disorders, like Danon Disease, have reliable access to quality therapies for which there are currently no other viable options.
“I’m grateful and excited to join this passionate group of visionaries who are dedicating their careers to making a difference in the lives of patients and family members facing these devastating diseases.”
Pujols earned his bachelor’s degree in chemical engineering from Stevens Institute of Technology and his master’s in chemical engineering and applied chemistry from Columbia University’s The Fu Foundation School of Engineering and Applied Science.
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