High-ranking Pfizer biotechnologist to direct newest NDSU center of excellence
Fargo, N.D., May 20
C. Satishchandran, formerly the chief technology officer of the Nucleic Acid-Based Therapeutics Division of the Biotherapeutics Division at Pfizer Inc., will direct the new Center for Biopharmaceutical Research and Production at North Dakota State University. The center will focus on identifying and producing DNA vaccines that can be brought to clinical trial. At Pfizer, nucleic acid-based programs currently are being advanced for indications in cancer and metabolic diseases. Satishchandran also will serve as a professor of pharmaceutical sciences at NDSU.
Satishchandran said his role is to recruit talent, develop investments and facilitate research. The center will provide opportunities to current NDSU pharmaceutical faculty, nanotechnologists and graduate students to discover new vaccines and to execute, manufacture and conduct clinical trials.
“I love to build. There is an excitement to discovery and building,” said Satishchandran. “The center of excellence will provide the environment for inventors and biotechnologists from around the world to work and discover.”
He said a goal is to develop at least one new vaccine during the center’s first five years of existence, followed by at least one each year thereafter.
Previously, Satishchandran was a professor at the Institute for Hepatitis and Virus Research, a Pennsylvania-based non-profit organization. He was also the chief operating and scientific officer at Nucleonics, a biotechnology company. While there, he led “RNAi” (RNA inhibitor) research to develop drugs that act against Hepatitis B.
“We are very excited to have Satish come to North Dakota to lead our new center, and we look forward to the opportunities he will create for NDSU and local private sector businesses in discovering new target vaccines and other biopharmaceuticals for the marketplace,” said Charles Peterson, dean of pharmacy, nursing, and allied sciences. “There is the potential for the center to develop vaccines to address major public health issues not only facing North Dakota, but the world.”
Peterson said the DNA vaccine market now stands at $22 billion per year, with expectations that it will rise to $36 billion per year. “If North Dakota can get a piece of that marketplace, it could mean major things for the state’s economic development, including new jobs, new businesses and new products to market,” Peterson said. “This has the potential for having a huge impact on our program at NDSU and on North Dakota's health and economy.”
Satishchandran’s career includes a professorship at Thomas Jefferson University, where he ran research programs. He also was the co-team leader for the Drug Delivery Team of the Pennsylvania Nanotechnology Institute, which developed and commercialized nanotechnology-based drug delivery systems.
Satishchandran has produced numerous publications and several patents in diverse areas of biotechnology research and development, and has been a scientific adviser and consultant to pharmaceutical companies and several biotechnology companies in several areas of discovery, technology assessment and licensing, product development, manufacturing, clinical research and regulatory affairs.