Cobra Biologics today announced the appointment of Dr Darrell Sleep as Director of Innovation. The appointment is part of on-going strategic expansion activities currently underway at Cobra’s Keele site, to increase capacity and capability for both the clinical and commercial in-market supply of viral vector and DNA products to Advanced Therapy Medicinal Product (ATMP) developers.
In his new role, Darrell will lead the site’s innovation team which has been newly formed from the integration of existing in-house R&D and Process Development expertise. The combined innovation team will deliver contract development activities to customers, in addition to driving scientific and technical innovation for new and existing service offerings. Darrell will work closely with Professor Daniel Smith, the Group’s Chief Scientific Officer (CSO), to streamline process workflows on the site, and facilitate timely adoption of pioneering bioprocess solutions. The appointment supports the rapid process development approaches required by Cobra’s advanced therapies customers, essential for cost-effective clinical and commercial manufacturing.
Darrell has 30 years biopharmaceutical experience, with a proven record for leading innovation and product development. His industry experience includes 20 years in management positions where he successfully led a team to develop a new technology platform delivering pre-clinical in vivo proof-of-concept data sets, established techniques to improve therapeutic index and secured the relevant intellectual property to facilitate a number of successful collaborations with major pharma companies. Darrell has managed the development of improved production systems for a product, which following technology transfer from R&D to Operations, successfully entered cGMP manufacture. Furthermore, he is co-inventor of a technology platform designed to improve the circulatory half-life of biotherapeutic drugs, leading to the development of approved biologics, and generating royalties over $30 million by end 2017.
Professor Daniel Smith, CSO Cobra Biologics commented: ‘The integration of Cobra’s innovation team, headed by Darrell as Director of Innovation, is key to establishing our UK site as a world-leading facility for ATMP production. Darrell’s extensive industry knowledge and expertise will be an invaluable addition to the Keele site management team. I am personally looking forward to working closely with him to continue to drive Cobra’s strong innovation agenda and to further enhance our profile as a leading scientific organisation for the production of viral vectors and plasmid DNA.’
Dr Darrell Sleep, Director of Innovation Cobra Biologics, said: ‘I am excited to be joining Cobra, and working alongside its expert team at the Keele site. As part of the innovation group, I will be focusing on current and new processes, technologies and equipment, with the aim to further improve time and yields for customers, and to ultimately support them in making advanced therapies more accessible to patients.’