Ginkgo Bioworks appoints a veteran as its new SVP of biopharma manufacturing
While the synthetic player Ginkgo Bioworks made waves last year on Wall Street with a record SPAC deal, the company’s latest move will see it hunkering down on its manufacturing capabilities with its latest hire.
The company has brought on Behzad Mahdavi as the senior vice president of biopharma manufacturing and life sciences tools. The role will have Mahdavi lead Ginkgo’s commercial efforts in bio-reagents as well as cell and gene therapy manufacturing and other biopharmaceuticals.
Mahdavi himself has an extensive background in working for major manufacturers. According to Mahdavi’s LinkedIn page, before being hired at Ginkgo, he was the VP of global open innovation at Catalent from 2020 to this year. Before his time at Catalent, Mahdavi had an extensive 13-year career at Lonza. His time at the Swiss manufacturer saw him hold several leadership positions including head of Lonza Canada as well as other vice presidential roles at the company.
Mahdavi was previously the president and CEO of SAM Electron Technologies before the company was acquired by Lonza in 2007.
Mahdavi is joining the company as it has worked to secure several manufacturing partnerships over the past year, making the jump from the manufacture of synthetic meat to biopharma products. The company has been pursuing deals to try to tackle everything from cleaner heparin extraction to shoring up its pipeline of APIs and other materials for cell manufacturing.
Ginkgo has formed partnerships with major pharma companies such as Moderna, Aldevron and Biogen, just to name a few, to create platforms for manufacturing gene therapies and produce raw materials for vaccines and other therapies.
“There are a tremendous number of opportunities in this space, and I joined Ginkgo because I believe this company is the partner of choice that the industry needs to realize those boundless opportunities,” Mahdavi said in a statement.
The company managed to garner a lot of attention last year when it raised north of $2.5 billion in a SPAC deal which also set its pre-money valuation at $15 billion. However, since then the company has seen its valuation and its stock price $DNA go down.
One of the biggest factors was the company facing allegations of fraud last year from a report from short seller Scorpion Capital, which eventually led to the DOJ launching an “informal inquiry” into the biotech.