Ins and outs: AGC to address CGT needs through CBO hire

BioProcess Insider sat down figuratively with Jean-Baptiste Agnus, AGC Biologics’ chief business officer set to drive the contract development manufacturing organization (CDMOs) cell and gene therapy (CGT) business.

Agnus joins AGC Biologics as chief business officer after three years with Ajinomoto Bio-Pharma Services where he was responsible for leading the firm’s global sales and marketing activities. Prior to this, he spent 13 years at Novasep, where he most recently held position of head of sales and business development North America.

Now, he is set to lead all aspects of the company’s global business development, sales, and marketing teams.

Jean-baptiste Agnus, chief business officer at AGC Biologics. Image c/o AGC Biologics

BioProcess Insider (BI): What advantages do you think your previous experience provides you with?

Jean-Baptiste Agnus (JA): With more than 20 years of experience in this space, I’ve essentially spent my entire career in the CDMO industry contributing to successful sales growth. I’ve had the opportunity to work across different modalities and in emerging fields, like cell and gene therapy. I also have experience working internationally with clients from different cultures in markets across the world.

All of this has equipped me with the expertise required to navigate the complexities of the CDMO space and work with pharmaceutical developers to build trusted relationships and find solutions that work for them.

BI: What does this mean for AGC Biologics?

JA: AGC Biologics is a company with facilities across three continents, offering a strong depth of development and manufacturing services across mammalian, microbial, pDNA, mRNA, viral vector, and cell therapy disciplines. I look forward to finding new ways of helping AGC Biologics, in partnership with our customers, [to] bring products to market that will truly change lives.

BI: Despite spending most of your career in the CDMO industry, what do you think will be the biggest difference working for AGC? 

JA:  AGC Biologics has worked tirelessly to grow and expand, providing innovative solutions to our customers worldwide. There are ongoing capacity expansions at our sites in the US, Europe, and Japan.

BI: What does this mean for AGC’s customers?

JA: We’ve made significant investments to offer worldwide services in cell therapy and viral vector gene therapy thanks to new facilities in Milan, Italy, and Longmont, Colorado, and we have a team of more than 500 scientists with expertise in cell and gene therapy.

All of these investments help AGC Biologics provide new solutions for developing and manufacturing biologics drug substances, and I am truly excited to work side-by-side with our customers to help them meet their unique goals that ultimately impact patient lives.

BI: What is your main aim in your role as a chief business officer?

JA: AGC Biologics has invested in building a strong global cell and gene therapy practice and created development and manufacturing hubs on two continents that support cell therapy, gene therapy, and viral vector modalities. With a growing global team of subject matter experts in cell and gene therapy development and cGMP manufacturing, one of my top priorities is to leverage that expertise and help advance these lines of business.

BI: Are there any other focus points?

JA: The company also continues to make investments in capacity and development capabilities to take on even more mammalian and microbial projects AGC Biologics has a stellar track record in these areas, and it is important for us to continue to find ways to innovate and expand.

BI: What strategy will you use to reach this aim? 

JA: Our goal as a company is to be the first provider that customers call when they are looking for a CDMO. AGC Biologics has built a strong customer-centric culture, and we have the capabilities to help therapeutic developers through whatever platform they need.

BI: What affect does this have?

JA: By combining this cultural mindset with our company’s global facilities in the U.S., Europe, and Asia, we can support partners at all stages of development and manufacturing from anywhere across the globe. Through our technical innovation and creativity, we can provide a truly unique offering to our customers and help them bring new innovative biopharmaceutical treatments to the masses.

BI: Why do you think the CGT space is rapidly expanding?

JA: The cell and gene therapy market is rapidly growing with record-breaking financing, major clinical milestones, and commercial progress creating seemingly endless opportunities and a growing pipeline of products ready to enter the market. These developers are producing breakthrough therapies that can truly change lives and treat some of the most complex ailments and diseases in modern history. However, this potential for a larger product pipeline comes with a challenge – the limited capacity to develop and manufacture these CGT-based treatments.

BI: How will AGC tackle these challenges?

JA: AGC Biologics is positioned to address these needs, and our network of facilities and scientists use the latest technologies and techniques to develop and manufacture cell and gene therapeutics. The company’s ability to closely collaborate with our customers to create processes and find solutions is especially valuable for serving the cell and gene therapy market and the unique products it continues to produce.

BI: How do you intend to maintain this drive? 

JA: As this industry continues to evolve, our ability to achieve our expansion goals starts with our strong global network of dedicated employees and high-quality facilities. These characteristics put us in the position to meet new demands across different modalities and provide our customers with a cost-effective, reliable, and timely suite of services.

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