From The Editor | December 21, 2023

Cell & Gene: The Podcast Episodes From ARM's 2023 MOTM


By Erin Harris, Editor-In-Chief, Cell & Gene
Follow Me On Twitter @ErinHarris_1


I had the pleasure of recording three episodes of Cell & Gene: The Podcast during ARM’s 2023 Meeting on the Mesa (in case you missed it, here’s a brief recap of the event.). All three episodes have now aired, and each one includes information about the executive’s role and their work in CGT as well as their goals for their time at Meeting on the Mesa.

Rita Johnson-Greene and I kicked off Cell & Gene: The Podcast’s in-person recordings at Mesa. We discussed her background and the path she took to becoming ARM’s Chief Operating Officer. As COO, Rita’s goals include ongoing geographic expansion for ARM as well as directing ARM’s GROW Internship Program, both of which she explains in detail. She gives us a sneak peek at 2024’s event, which will be held in Phoenix, AZ, along with a few key takeaways from this year’s event that may the sector in the next 12 months. Listen to the entire episode here.

Richard Wilson, Senior Vice President, Primary Focus Lead, Genetic Regulation at Astellas was my second podcast guest at Meeting on the Mesa. Richard shared a great deal of information about Astellas’ ambitions to build a ‘world class gene therapy infrastructure.’ We talked through just how he and his team are delivering on that ambition since Astellas acquired Audentes back in 2020. We discussed what he’s excited to see take shape in gene therapy in the next 12-18 months, and we covered his perspectives on the current gene therapy deal-making landscape, including Astellas’ recent deals and collaborations. He explains Astellas’ strategic approach to R&D, and what exactly the ‘Primary Focus Lead’ does, anyway. Richard and I tackled all that and more during our discussion, which you can listen to here.   

Greg Kunst is President, CEO, and Board Member at Aurion Biotech, a clinical stage company developing a novel cell therapy to treat patients with corneal endothelial disease, which affects more than 16 million people throughout the world. Corneal endothelial disease is a sight-threatening and debilitating condition affecting millions of people throughout the world. Composed of a single layer of cells located on the posterior surface of the cornea, the endothelium serves both barrier and pump functions, which are essential to the maintenance of corneal clarity and optimal vision. Aurion’s off-the-shelf cell therapy does not require immune matching. During our chat, Greg and I discussed how cell therapy is used to treat corneal endothelial disease. He sheds light on the disease and the science deployed to combat it. This year’s Mesa was Greg’s first, and so, we talked through how he navigated the event as a first timer. Check out my discussion with Greg here.

More episodes to come in 2024 featuring CGT’s best and brightest! Subscribe to Cell & Gene: The Podcast wherever you get your podcasts now, so you never miss an episode.