Appia Bio names cell therapy manufacturing veteran Qi Wei, PhD as Senior Vice President of Technical OperationsPRESS RELEASE • 19 May, 2021
Dr. Wei brings nearly 20 years’ experience as a leader in cell and gene therapy process development and GMP manufacturing
LOS ANGELES, Calif., May 19, 2021 – Appia Bio, Inc., an early stage biotechnology company developing engineered allogeneic cell therapies from hematopoietic stem cells (HSCs) for cancer patients, today announced the addition of Qi Wei, PhD as Senior Vice President and Head of Technical Operations. Dr. Wei brings extensive experience in process development and GMP manufacturing. By leading the Company’s technical operations and GMP manufacturing, his team will contribute to Appia Bio’s advancement into clinical development.
“We are excited to welcome Qi to the Appia Bio team. He brings broad experience in viral vector and cell therapy process development and experience building GMP manufacturing for these technologies,” said JJ Kang, PhD, co-founder and chief executive officer of Appia Bio. “Qi’s technical operations and manufacturing team will be a critical pillar of our company and developing the ACUA platform.”
Dr. Wei brings nearly two decades of process and product development experience in cell and gene therapies at Novartis, Kite, a Gilead Company, Eli Lilly, TCR2 Therapeutics, and Geneception. He has held several leadership roles with a particular focus in cell and gene therapy, and has contributed to the development of several pioneering chimeric antigen receptor (CAR)-T products including Kymriah® (Novartis), the first CAR-T to be approved in the U.S., and Tecartus™ (Kite/Gilead), in addition to many CAR-T and T-cell receptor (TCR)-T clinical candidates.
“Joining Appia Bio is an opportunity to partner with a talented management team and build an innovative company from its early days. I am thrilled to apply my experience in technical operations and manufacturing toward making off-the-shelf allogeneic cell therapy a reality,” added Dr. Wei.
Dr. Wei joins Appia Bio from Geneception Therapeutics which he co-founded as an executive-in-residence at F-Prime Capital. At Geneception, Dr. Wei served as the vice president and head of process and product development, overseeing the company’s CMC, process development, and manufacturing strategies for its cell and gene therapy pipeline. Previously he was at Kite where he served as the director of process development and had responsibility for multiple autologous and allogeneic cell therapy process development programs. Before Kite, Dr. Wei was at TCR2 Therapeutics where he was responsible for developing strategies for cell therapy and viral vector production processes for GMP manufacturing; Novartis’ Cell and Gene Therapy Unit where he led the production platform innovation efforts for viral vectors, as well as supported process development and technology transfer activities for Kymriah; and, Eli Lilly where he focused on process development of recombinant proteins and monoclonal antibodies. Dr. Wei holds a PhD in biomedical engineering from Columbia University.
About Appia Bio
Appia Bio is an early stage biotechnology company based in Los Angeles, California. Founded in 2020, Appia Bio is focused on discovering and developing engineered allogeneic cell therapies across a broad array of indications with a scalable technology platform that increases access for patients. With its ACUA (Appia Cells Utilized for Allogeneic) technology platform, Appia Bio leverages the biology of lymphocyte development with chimeric antigen receptor (CAR) and T-cell receptor (TCR) gene engineering to generate CAR-engineered invariant natural killer T (CAR-iNKT) cell subtypes from hematopoietic stem cells (HSCs). For more information, please visit www.appiabio.com.
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