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Interview: Dr. Mohamad Toutounji from Advanced Therapy Medicinal Products at Sanofi Pharmaceutical

Dr. Mohamad Toutounji is a Molecular biologist focusing on CMC of ATMPs at Sanofi pharmaceutical industry in Amsterdam, Netherlands. His work involves planning & executing laboratory work , restoring experimental data sets and documenting analytical results to ensure maximum traceability suggesting next steps in experimental design. Even challenging work tasks of preparing all QA protocols, INDs and NDAs that he enjoys as part of his role.

Dr. Mohamad completed his PhD in Biochemistry at the University of Veterinary Medicine Hannover (TiHo) in Germany, where he specialized in cell/gene therapy, protein trafficking, cellular signaling, tissue engineering, and molecular genetics. His technical expertise is strong in Medical Biochemistry, Physiology and Biology.

We were delighted to hear Dr. Mohamad insights about bioproduction, cell therapy and immunology and the challenges that the biotech industries are currently facing.

Dr. Mohamad is a learner who believes it is by recognizing past mistakes that you move ahead with a productive future. That is why Dr. Mohamad enjoys being around great thinkers who are open-minded and able to understand situations from different perspectives in life. He is with us today on AnalysisMode podcast to tell us all about his journey through life and health sciences.

Here’s a sneak peek into our chat.

[Guest/Dr. Mohamad] — I’ve been working as an AD–analytical development–scientist to develop bioassays that can show the quality of the product and its validity for use in the human body. This type of assays in general are called ‘Release Assays’ in the pharmaceutical industry. 

The big challenge here is first, the time and second that every assay should be validated–that means we can’t use any assay to say that ‘protein X’ is located in the product only. This will not be accepted by the regulation or regulatory authority, so we need to prove that our developed assay can show the whole situation of the product from during the manufacturing, from the starting material to the final formulation and when the product is ready to be applied to the patients. This was already the biggest challenge for ATMP manufacturing. 

There are surely a lot of challenges that we’re facing, like I was working on cell therapy using a combination of products that are cytokines that can trigger the activation of the NK cells from donors. And we need to ensure here two parts …

[Host/Sadeem] — Well that’s quite interesting because how you described your work, I see it is going hand in hand with our company’s value proposition to avoid the material waste in bioprocessing procedures and increase the discovery pipeline with bioprocessing 4.0 training– that’s right now in current development. In light of that, what do you think is missing in the biotech industry and how would you solve that problem …

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To listen to the complete conversation on the podcast, you can check our episode

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