Chief Executive Officer
Mr. Handel has spent most of his career in biopharmaceutical product development, transitioning from the world of traditional pharmaceuticals to biotechnology, cell therapy, and regenerative medicine. He began his career at Merck & Co., where he launched Aggrastat®, a treatment for acute coronary syndromes, and marketed and developed the strategy for Singulair®, one of the most successful asthma and allergic rhinitis medicines. He then spent 11 years at Shire Pharmaceuticals in multiple roles, much of the time spent in Corporate Development where he was involved in multiple transactions and identified new therapeutic areas for Shire to enter. Mr. Handel then moved to G&W Laboratories, Inc., where he built the product selection process and identified licensing and acquisition opportunities. Mr. Handel previously founded Recensa Therapeutics and Skyran Biologics. He is a board director of PolyAurum, LLC, an oncology company. Mr. Handel is a graduate of Princeton University and received his MS in operations management and marketing from the MIT Sloan School of Management.
Shamim Naghdi, PhD
Shamim Naghdi, PhD joins ExpressCells from the MitoCare Center in the Department of Pathology, Anatomy and Cell Biology at Thomas Jefferson University. Dr. Naghdi has in-depth experience across the spectrum of molecular biology techniques, including primary and immortalized cell culture; plasmid transfection and RNA interference; gene-editing with CRISPR/Cas9; DNA-RNA isolation, characterization, and cloning; clone validation; and cell death and enzyme assays. To this, she adds extensive work with confocal and high content/throughput wide-field microscopy, organelle purification from primary tissues and cell lines, and in vivo studies. Her work at the MitoCare Center focused on characterizing mitochondrial cell death pathways in hepatocarcinoma (HCC), and drug-candidate screening in a high-throughput imaging model quantifying cell death in HCC. Dr. Naghdi received her PhD from the University of Graz, Austria. Her most recent publications have appeared in journals such as Cell Death & Disease, EMBO Molecular Medicine, and PNAS.
Oscar Perez, MD,
Founder & Scientific Advisor
Dr. Perez is an Assistant Professor in the Pharmaceutical Sciences Department of the School of Pharmacy at Temple University. Dr. Perez’s expertise lies in molecular biology, genome editing, and biosensor development for drug discovery. In particular, he is highly experienced in developing cellular models to identify promising compounds for novel targets. He received his medical degree from Universidad del Norte in Colombia in 2002 and did his postdoctoral training in Biochemistry and Molecular Biology at Temple University (2005 – 2009). He has received research funding from NIH and the pharmaceutical industry. Dr. Perez is an inventor on three issued patents for technologies for drug discovery and on the pending patent for ExpressCells’ technology. Dr. Perez received a Master in Innovation Management and Entrepreneurship from the Fox School of Business at Temple University in 2015 and has strong interests in commercializing his academic inventions. Dr. Perez is the co-founder of two startup biotech companies, Recensa Therapeutics, and ExpressCells.