Executive Leadership

Claudia Zylberberg

Claudia Zylberberg, PhD

Founder & Executive Chair

With over 30 years of experience in the regenerative medicine industry, Dr. Zylberberg has established herself as a leader in her field. For nearly 15 years, she led Akron Bio as its founder and CEO with leadership, foresight, and expertise in advanced therapies manufacturing. Her passion for pushing the industry forward in the development and commercialization of safe novel therapies also led her to co-found the Standards Coordinating Body and serve as an active member of numerous industry boards and advisory committees. Claudia co-founded AssureImmune, an adult stem cell bank, and worked with Nabi Pharmaceuticals, specializing in human plasma-derived products. Her experience in product development and protein manufacturing was instrumental in the development of key materials to accelerate the regenerative medicine industry. She holds numerous patents and developed several patent-pending platform technologies in cryopreservation, novel formulations, and others. Claudia received her PhD from the University of Buenos Aires, where she studied Immunology, and conducted her doctoral research at the University of British Columbia. She also authored a children’s book called You’re Full of Genes to introduce the younger generation to genetics. Claudia is a member of the Forum on Regenerative Medicine at the National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine.

Bob

Robert “Bob” Wedinger, PhD

Chief Executive Officer

Bob has over 30 years of experience in the specialty-chemicals industry. After a post-doctoral research appointment at Harvard University, he joined FMC Corporation, holding a number of positions of increasing responsibility in the Specialty Chemicals Group before moving to Honeywell International (Allied Signal). At Honeywell, Bob rose from Director of Research to Vice President and General Manager of the Pharmaceutical Fine Chemicals business. Bob then served as Vice President and General Manager of the Consumer Products and the Performance Materials businesses at JM Huber. Bob joined Chemtura Corporation in 2006 and rose to Chief Business Officer and Group President, Performance Materials in 2007 with responsibility for all of Chemtura’s businesses. Bob joined Rennovia, a start-up company, in 2009 as President & CEO. Bob has provided advisory services to private equity firms, and has been exclusively advising Arcline Investment Management on investment opportunities in the specialty chemicals, personal care, and life science sectors since May 2019. Bob has a PhD in Chemistry from the State University of New York at Stony Brook.

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David Smith

President and Chief Commercial Officer

David joined Akron Biotech in May 2020 to focus on global sales, marketing strategy, and to support Akron’s business development efforts by utilizing his deep expertise in the field of cell and gene therapy. Previously, he served on the Board Directors of Healios K.K. before he assumed the position of chief commercial officer of Healios NA, Inc., Healios’ subsidiary in the United States. In September 2019, he assumed the additional role of executive director of Manufacturing for Healios K.K. and was promoted to president of Healios NA. Prior to joining Healios, David held various roles at Cambrex Bioproducts. After Lonza’s acquisition of Cambrex, David became the head of Therapeutic Cell Solutions. By 2015, he was Lonza’s VP of Global Business Development, focusing on strategic agreements and alliances for the Emerging Technologies business unit, which includes cell and viral therapy. David also spent 14 years at The Upjohn Company in various sales and marketing roles, including leading the launch of the Parkinson’s therapeutic, Mirapex. David is a member of various government expert panels, company executive committees and advisory boards.

John Coyle

John Coyle

Vice President, Quality and Regulatory Affairs

With over 30 years in the pharmaceutical industry, John has experience across the entire life cycle of pharmaceutical products from research and development, pre-clinical testing to dossier submission, manufacturing, testing, and stability. He has been the site quality leader for a large variety of dosage forms and medical devices. John has worked at several major pharmaceutical companies including Allergan, GlaxoSmithKline, Teva, Proctor and Gamble, and Catalent. He has extensive experience working with the U.S. FDA and a variety of global regulatory agencies. John has a degree in Biology from the State University of New York.

Ian Hart

Ian Hart

Vice President of Operations

Ian joins Akron with over 30 years of experience in all phases of biologics manufacturing under US, Canadian, and EU cGMPs. Prior to Akron, Ian served as the director of R&D Manufacturing Sciences at AstraZeneca where he was responsible for the clinical manufacturing of biological drug substance. Previously, he held roles of increasing responsibility within Aventis Pasteur (now known as Sanofi Pasteur), Nabi Biopharmaceuticals, and Biotest Pharmaceuticals. He has extensive experience in clinical and commercial manufacturing, tech transfer, scale-up, and facility startups. Ian received his BASc in Chemical Engineering with a minor in Management Sciences from the University of Waterloo and his MBA from the Schulich School of Business at York University.

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Dolores Baksh, PhD

Vice President of Commercial, Plasmids and Nucleic Acids Business

Over more than two decades in the cell and gene therapy sector, Dolores has developed a breadth and depth of expertise in strategic business planning, technology innovation and operational execution spanning the value chain to include R&D, process and product development, manufacturing and commercialization. Prior to joining Akron, Dolores held leadership positions at Cytiva (a Danaher company), GE Healthcare Life Sciences and Organogenesis Inc. where she developed and launched technological solutions for the industrialization of cell and gene therapies through innovation, R&D, product launches and M&As. Dolores has led new strategic initiatives in dynamic and competitive market landscapes to support the growth and expansion of business units, such as the launch of Vineti’s platform software solution to enable the commercial availability of personalized medicines. Dolores completed a Postdoctoral Fellowship at the U.S. National Institutes of Health (NIH) and completed Undergraduate, Master’s and Doctorate Degrees at the University of Toronto’s Department of Chemical Engineering and Applied Chemistry and the Institute of Biomaterials and Biomedical Engineering.

Robert Margolin

Robert Margolin

Vice President of Commercial, BioProducts Business

Robert Margolin brings 14 years of business leadership and sales experience in the cell and gene therapy market, with a focus on business development and corporate strategy and execution. His experience ranges across cell therapy drug product and ancillary material manufacturing. Robert’s deep knowledge of clinical and commercial operations has driven process development, scale-up, and design and configuration of electronic systems and logistics platforms for each stage of development. Robert has worked closely with the field’s leading companies and industry organizations throughout the U.S. and Europe. Additionally, Robert played an instrumental role in the formation and growth of the Alliance for Regenerative Medicine, serving as its vice president of communications, along with launching several of the field’s preeminent conferences and events. Robert’s network spans the entire industry encompassing KOLs from business, science, medicine, regulatory, policy and advocacy.

Ezequiel Zylberberg

Ezequiel Zylberberg, PhD

Vice President, Product Development and Planning

Ezequiel brings more than a decade of research and operational experience to Akron, where he focuses on developing and delivering high-quality, industrial-scale solutions to accelerate cell and gene therapy commercialization. Prior to joining Akron, Ezequiel was a Research Affiliate at MIT’s Industrial Performance Center (IPC) and a strategic management consultant focused on supply chain optimization, innovation management, and investment promotion across industries and around the world. He received his PhD in International Business from the University of Oxford and MSc in Development Economics from the London School of Economics.