Employee Spotlight: Joana Murad Mabaera PhD

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Joana Murad Mabaera, Executive Director of R&D 

Expertise: Cellular Therapies and Molecular Biomarkers 


What are your professional interests & in what ways does Celdara help you engage those interests? 

My core professional interest is translational science. At Celdara Medical, I help build the foundation for the development of early-stage innovation into life-changing treatment options. I enjoy the challenge of identifying a data-driven pathway from academic innovation to clinical medicine, and how to most efficiently go from bench to bedside. Like other Celdara Scientists, I am actively and closely engaged with the science and each Program’s Scientific founder, planning and operationalizing processes step by step.  Celdara’s approach provides countless opportunities to engage in all aspects of innovation and drug development, applying my knowledge and experience to promote scientific progress while learning new skills. 


What makes Celdara unique?  

Celdara’s relationship with academia generates constant exposure to innovation which keeps us all on the cutting edge and, in turn, creates opportunities to translate innovations into therapeutic options for so many patients in need. We partner with inventors and their institutions, providing the development, financial and business acumen required to make the connection between discovery and first in human clinical evaluation. I consider myself very fortunate for the opportunity to work with some of the brightest scientists in the world while having an impact by developing novel therapeutics and diagnostics. 


Which Celdara programs make you the most excited? 

We have a diverse pipeline of programs ranging from A to Z, and choosing one is an impossible task. The challenge stems from our commitment to innovations, scientific founders and development plans for multiple years. All our programs become very exciting as they evolve over time. ImmuType TM  is a great example of that. We have been working with the scientific founder for over a decade to develop a precision medicine service that can dramatically reduce the time and costs of clinical trials and path to approval. It is very rewarding to see that this value is being recognized more and more by drug developers. 


What industry trends are most exciting right now?  

I have observed it’s no secret that there has been a significant rise in innovation in the immunotherapy area, in particular, chimeric antigen receptor (CAR) based therapies. It was exciting to be one of the earliest companies in the space. The successes observed with hematologic malignancies have revolutionized anticancer therapy, providing a potentially curative option for patients with pre-B cell acute lymphoblastic leukemia (ALL) or B cell lymphomas. There is a substantial effort being made towards expanding the impact of this line of therapy to other tumor types, mainly solid tumors, and the field is starting to see some impressive overall response rates. 


In your opinion, what are the 1-2 societal needs on which the biotech community should focus? 

The pandemic has impacted the focus of biotech companies with respect to innovation. The idea that there is no societal need for diseases without (current) incidence is no longer valid. Pandemics are an imminent danger to life and society, and COVID-19 has exposed the fact that we, as a nation, are structurally unprepared to deal with many infectious diseases. Public-private partnership is the perfect solution to address this gap as it allows the creation of an agile structure that can focus on identifying and developing novel diagnostics, vaccines, prophylactics, and therapeutics to protect the country from pandemic-scale threats. COVID-19 could’ve been much worse and still trillions of dollars were lost. But our industry was made for this challenge. 

About Celdara Medical, LLC 

Celdara Medical was founded by Drs. Jake Reder and Michael Fanger in 2008, and is headquartered at the Dartmouth Regional Technology Center (DRTC) in Lebanon, NH. Celdara Medical builds academic and early-stage innovations into high-potential medical companies, identifying discoveries of exceptional value at the earliest stages and moving them toward the market. Celdara Medical partners with inventors and their institutions, providing the developmental, financial, and business acumen required to bridge discovery and profitability. With robust funding options, a diverse and high-impact programmatic pipeline, and partnerships with world-class academic institutions and industry leaders, Celdara Medical navigates all aspects of a complex industry, accelerating science to improve human health. Further information about Celdara Medical is available at celdaramedical.com. 

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