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Center for Breakthrough Medicines Appoints John Lee, Ph.D. as Vice President, Head of Cell Therapy

March 23, 2022

Former GSK Executive Will Build the CDMO’s Cell Therapy Infrastructure

King of Prussia, PA, March 23, 2022 – The Center for Breakthrough Medicines (CBM) announced today the appointment of John Lee, Ph.D. to Vice President, Head of Cell Therapy. Dr. Lee is an accomplished CAR-T immunobiologist with over 20 years of cancer cell biology expertise spanning small and large molecules, as well as cell-based therapeutics.

Among his accomplishments, Dr. Lee possesses more than 15 years of clinical research and cell therapy experience including positions of increasing responsibility at The Wistar Institute, Janssen Pharmaceuticals, and GlaxoSmithKline.

“I am excited to lead cell therapy at CBM and for the opportunity to cure patients,” said Dr. Lee. “My goal is to build a highly functional, diverse, and agile team that embraces the challenges associated with our shared mission. By creating an infrastructure that supports both the team and our clients, we have an opportunity to become a global leader in cell therapy.”

Dr. Lee previously built the Cell Therapy Platform team at Janssen Pharmaceuticals. The group led and supported end-to-end therapy discovery and development across nearly a dozen CAR-T programs, including the recently approved cilta-cel (Carvykti). During his subsequent tenure as Vice President, Head of Oncology Cell Therapy at GlaxoSmithKline, Dr. Lee’s team operated within a heavily matrixed organization to support an array of activities establishing multiple preclinical assets and several clinical-stage lete-cel programs targeting the NY-ESO cancer-testis antigen.

“My collective experience leading cell therapy programs in these large organizations will help me build a fit-for-purpose infrastructure here at CBM while also creating a culture where both the team and its individual contributors can thrive,” he added.

A native Pennsylvanian (from Ambler, PA), Dr. Lee is passionate about the Philadelphia life science sector. He believes CBM has the solution to attract top talent and deliver services to the capacity-starved cell and gene contract development and manufacturing organization (CDMO) market. He also feels that King of Prussia (KoP) is an ideal location for employees seeking a high quality of life. Compared to other life science clusters like those found in Cambridge, San Francisco and New Jersey, KoP offers a better quality of life with lower taxes, more affordable housing, excellent schools, and world-class restaurants.

CBM is creating the world’s largest end-to-end advanced therapy CDMO. CBM will provide preclinical through commercial manufacturing services including process development, plasmid DNA, viral vectors, cell banking, cell processing, and supporting testing capabilities.

A core element of CBM’s growth strategy is the construction of 700,000 square feet of GMP facility in KoP. “This capacity is part of our mission to accelerate the development and manufacturing of life-saving advanced therapies,” said Joerg Ahlgrimm, Chief Executive Officer, Center for Breakthrough Medicines. “We are assembling a world-renowned executive leadership team with unique combination of experience in cell and gene therapy. John’s addition to the team is another vital step in our planning for success.”

To support its rapid growth, CBM is hiring positions at all levels and is actively working to develop talent among emerging professionals coming out of colleges. The company is working closely with academic institutions, as well as initiatives to retrain displaced employees. CBM is also committed to building an organization that recognizes and values diversity.

CBM is Hiring
To learn more about all CBM’s open positions please visit:

About The Center for Breakthrough Medicines
CBM is a cell and gene therapy contract development and manufacturing organization (CDMO) based in the heart of Philadelphia’s Cellicon Valley. CBM offers pre-clinical through commercial manufacturing capabilities including process development, plasmid DNA, viral vector manufacturing, cell banking, cell processing, and a full suite of complimentary testing and analytical capabilities. Through a single-source, end-to-end solution, CBM accelerates time to market without compromising quality.


Media Contact:
John F. Kouten, DeFazio Communications
(o) 609-241-7352 (c) 908-227-4714

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