Pharma Leader Joins CZ Biohub as Chief Operating Officer

SAN FRANCISCO (July 11, 2022) – The Chan Zuckerberg Biohub (CZ Biohub) has named Mandana Asgharnejad as its new chief operating officer (COO), effective July 13, 2022.

Mandana (who uses her first name professionally) joins CZ Biohub from Genentech/Roche Pharma Technical Development (PTD), where she was Executive Director of Global Business Operations and was a member of the Leadership Team. Her responsibilities there included all aspects of PTD’s global business operations activities, including learning and development; information technology/digital transformation; operational excellence; strategy; organization-wide communications; non–Chemistry, Manufacturing, and Controls (CMC) portfolio management; knowledge management; and risk management/business continuity.

“Mandana’s extensive experience leading operations at some of the world’s most respected pharmaceutical organizations will bring our world-class scientific and technological innovation to new heights,” said CZ Biohub President Joe DeRisi. “We’re delighted to have her on our team.”

Mandana Asgharnejad

Mandana began her career at Merck Research Laboratories in Pharmaceutical R&D small-molecule drug delivery and formulation design, where she built a technical team responsible for all aspects of CMC development and manufacture of clinical supplies.

She worked closely with clinicians as well as with quality, regulatory, safety assessment, compliance, and commercial colleagues to propel 17 New Molecular Entities into development. She then moved into Merck’s Worldwide Licensing and External Research organization as an Associate Director, negotiating many key technology and molecule in-licensing deals. While in that role, she honed her negotiation and influencing skills and worked closely with legal, procurement, and internal and external scientific and business partners to fully execute numerous agreements.

In 2006 Mandana joined Genentech as Director of Project Portfolio Management (PPM), where she led the Small Molecules Roadmap Corporate Goal, was the lead project manager for lymphoma disease strategy, and built Genentech Research’s portfolio model. In 2009 she was asked to establish a new role as the business operations leader for Genentech Research (now gRED Research), where she built a research portfolio forecasting and resource management capabilities and oversaw many aspects of Research operations, including Laboratory Asset Management; Environmental Health and Safety; the External Research Relations Department; and Research communications, among other responsibilities.

Mandana holds an undergraduate degree in Pharmacy from the University of Minnesota. At the University of Michigan she earned two master’s degrees, in Pharmaceutics and in Mathematics, and a Ph.D. in Pharmaceutical Sciences.

“CZ Biohub has a stellar record of achievements over its six-year history, and I look forward to working with the Biohub’s scientists and staff as we write the next exciting chapter together,” Mandana said.



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