Dr. Yeong “Christopher” Choi brings a wealth of academic and industry experience back to Buffalo
As work advances on a significant expansion of its cellular therapy production and research facilities, Roswell Park Comprehensive Cancer Center has named Yeong “Christopher” Choi, PhD, MBA, as Senior Vice President of Industry Partnerships and Technical Director of the center’s current Good Manufacturing Practice (cGMP) Facility.
Dr. Choi returns to Western New York after a 5-year tenure in the biotech industry that included executive leadership roles at CRISPR Therapeutics as well as Kite Pharma/Gilead.
cGMP facilities house “clean rooms” where highly sensitive pharmaceutical products, including cellular therapies, can be manufactured and optimized with a high level of control and precision. Previously Director of the Therapeutic Cell Production Facility at Roswell Park, Dr. Choi helped lead the first iteration of cell-therapy production at Roswell Park with a focus on dendritic cell vaccines and engineered T cell receptors (TCRs). In these new roles, he will work to expand the facility to manufacture and test new and emerging cellular therapies – considered the future of cancer treatment.
Autologous cellular therapies require collecting a patient’s cells and sending them to a specialized laboratory where they are re-engineered and eventually returned to the patient to fight the disease. The expansion of cellular therapy production at Roswell Park means the cancer center will be able to complete more of this work onsite, supporting its own research and clinical programs and as a resource for academic or industry partners.
“Dr. Choi brings priceless academic and industry experience to tackle the goals Roswell Park set out to achieve with the GMP Facility and beyond,” says Roswell Park Deputy Director Renier Brentjens, MD, PhD,. “If we are able to develop and test cellular therapies in-house at Roswell Park, we can deliver these breakthrough treatments to patients that much faster.”
Dr. Choi holds a Ph.D. in molecular microbiology and immunology from the University of Southern California Keck School of Medicine and an MBA from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology.
Funded in part by a grant from Empire State Development, Roswell Park is building an expanded Biologic Therapies Facility set to open in 2025.