Freddie Dear

Head of Corporate Development & Portfolio Manager

Ascend Gene and Cell Therapies

Q: What are the biggest challenges in the advanced therapy industry?

The biggest challenge is manufacturing. Advanced therapies have shown incredible results in the clinic which has stimulated the growth and investment we have seen in the space, however, manufacturing has lagged behind these clinic results significantly. Processes need significant improvement to produce more pure product at higher yields to enable these products to live up to their promise to reach thousands of patients across a broad array of diseases.

Q: What advanced therapy innovations are you most excited about?

Of course, there is huge excitement around gene editing however for me the key enabler for any innovative payload is the delivery vehicle. I am therefore most excited to see how this field evolves over the coming years; viral, non-viral, cells, to enable truly specific delivery to the correct cell types /tissues which should not only make these therapies more effective but significantly improve the safety as well.

Q: What are your predictions for the next 5 years for the Advanced Therapy Industry?

I believe advanced therapies are here to stay and there will need to be investment in the surrounding infrastructure and services to enable the delivery of the pipeline over the next 5 years. As with any new modality though there will be expected bumps along the way as we build our clinical understanding of how these products work.

Freddie Dear