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Introducing Guerin Kob, Antheia’s VP of Supply Chain

With a pilot plant on the horizon and a pipeline filled with promise, Antheia is poised to soon establish a fermentation-based supply chain to produce the KSMs and APIs for essential medicines. Antheia’s new Vice President of Supply Chain, Guerin Kob, recently sat down to talk about his passion for sustainable supply chains, excitement for building from scratch, and his vision for Antheia’s future.

Antheia’s core mission is to innovate and transform essential medicine supply chains – so your expertise and experience is invaluable, since you’ll be responsible for the design and implementation of Antheia’s end-to-end global supply chain. We’d love to hear more about how you started in this industry.

I started my career as an analyst at an investment bank, actually, not in life sciences or supply chain. My time as an analyst was instrumental because it gave me a solid understanding and appreciation of all the levers within operations and supply chain that impact a company’s profits and losses. It was also an opportunity to see that finance wasn’t for me. Though that was a helpful experience, my focus shifted, and I’ve spent the past 15 years leading high-performing supply chain and procurement teams.

My transition to working in supply chain began in 2007 at School Health Corporation, a healthcare company where I worked for four years before shifting to W.R. Grace in 2011, a specialty chemicals and pharmaceutical intermediates company. Over the next decade I spent time in various roles of increasing responsibility within the supply chain, working on process development and end-to-end optimization. Finally, right before coming to Antheia, I served as the Senior Director of global supply chain for Sumitomo Chemical with Valent BioSciences. It was an exciting opportunity to not only manage the supply chain of one of the largest bioscience businesses of its type, but also manage it through what seems to have been the hardest part of the pandemic. Sumitomo’s supply chain is global in nature and focuses on bringing products to more than a hundred countries, with tens of thousands of shipments annually, and we accomplished that without significant disruption to our customers. That phenomenal experience brings me to where I am today.

What inspired you to say yes, and officially join the Antheia team?

Antheia has been a company on my radar for a while, because it has that rare combination of inspirational leadership and sound technology that is advancing solutions for industry problems – and I knew if I was going to make any career changes, it had to be for something special. When the position was posted, it was an easy decision for me to apply, knowing what’s possible for Antheia’s future and from a business perspective, how commercially viable their novel technology is.

From a supply chain perspective, it’s also exciting to have the opportunity to build one from the start, taking advantage of not having to untangle legacy systems that can sometimes be a roadblock – I have encountered some infinitely complex and intertwined supply chains that have been around for more than 100 years. I also wanted to be a part of an industry that is solving some of the world’s toughest challenges and caring for society, doing work that is essential to both supply chains and human health.

But really, the team behind Antheia is what made it easy to say yes. Christina and Kristy are so incredibly genuine, and that reverberates all the way through the organization, from our leadership all the way to our junior staff. The executive group sets the tone for openness and they genuinely are receptive to any great idea, which I think is awesome. One of the things that I’ve realized in my career is that company culture is incredibly important, especially when it’s been built in a purposeful and intentional way as it has at Antheia. It’s the people behind the company that made it easiest to say, yes. The novel technology is just the cherry on top.

What’s your vision for your work with Antheia?

One day I want to be able to look back and see that through my work with Antheia, I’ve been an integral part of building a supply chain that has successfully transformed the pharmaceutical supply chain. It’s easy to talk about our supply chain working, but actually implementing it is a significant feat – because it will require flexible processes that are able to scale with the rate of our innovation and world-class supply chain practitioners who can execute on our customers’ expectations. I would argue that in all industries, putting the customer first is the core tenet of the supply chain. But when you’re in an industry that has a critical role in essential medicines, putting the customer first ensures that the ultimate customer comes first – and that is the patient, provider, and insurer who we want to ensure experiences a continuity of supply of the medicine that they need the most. That is paramount to us being successful. Ultimately, I would like to see a platform that, like our science, scales at an equal rate so that the supply chain never becomes the bottleneck for innovation.

That’s amazing. So where to start?

Within the next year, we’ll be building our pilot plant, alongside the team, people, processes, and implementation of the necessary tools to support a commercial supply chain. We’ll be selecting the right supply partners and service providers to support the goal of transitioning out of the lab and into a commercial production environment. What happens after we establish our supply organization, is when it gets really interesting – and that’s when we build out a world class supply chain with agility and flexibility, using the best of both worlds: leveraging the tools and technologies of modern supply chain technology to augment traditional sound supply practices. Within the next five years, our manufacturing strategy will have solidified, and we will be operating as a scalable, commercial organization. It’s exciting to think about, with what’s already in our pipeline, and to imagine how to build something that can adapt to the rate at which our scientists are innovating.

We are in a global and domestic supply chain crisis, so your expertise is exceptionally important right now. How has this shifted your role and responsibility as a supply chain practitioner? Have you seen roles dynamically change as there’s a big call to action to have professionals in your field step up and solve these problems in this way?

I can’t recall a time in my career that supply chains were ever more relevant than now. I think it’s an incredibly opportune time for supply chain professionals to see themselves as both a value generator and a strategic differentiator of an organization, because the world has really opened its eyes to the importance and the fragility of global supply chains.

While I don’t think the roles and responsibilities of supply chain practitioners have really changed, I do think that what a supply chain practitioner spends the majority of their time on now has shifted because the current supply situation is unprecedented. For decades, supply chain practitioners have relied heavily on levels of predictability, because shipping types and supply lead times have been relatively reliable. But now every piece of the chain is unreliable, and supply chain practitioners are spending a much greater amount of time dealing with extreme levels of unpredictability. Previously, they spent more time executing, and now, they spend more time up front on the planning side to improve visibility, communication, and customer experience. Those are areas that didn’t necessarily need to be addressed previously because there was enough predictability to reliably deliver. We’re adapting and generating unique solutions to problems that we would never have anticipated in the past, all in an effort to reduce the variability within the current supply chains and add resiliency into the network.

Sustainability as a practice is also a priority for you – you’re an official Sustainable Procurement Ambassador. How does that inform the work that you do?

The Sustainable Procurement Pledge, which has Sustainable Procurement Ambassadors, is the brainchild of a group of chief procurement officers who realized that solving sustainability problems are obviously much larger than any one organization can solve on their own. It’s a group of like-minded individuals and organizations that meet regularly to talk about best practices within procurement and supply chains, and ways to improve and uplevel suppliers, which are often the weakest link within the supply chain. Ultimately, our goal is to drive and initiate sustainability improvements within supply chains. We focus on education and programs that can improve the capabilities of suppliers – and suppliers of suppliers – for the benefit of the entire collective, to make the entire world more sustainable. We have one Earth, and if we destroy it through our manufacturing processes, we have a huge problem. At the end of the day, you might work for a company, but you’re also living on the planet. We shouldn’t be destroying it at the same time.

That’s one thing I appreciate about fermentation within biosciences – it’s an inherently sustainable manufacturing process that can displace less sustainable processes with larger carbon emissions. Fermentation has a lower carbon footprint than traditional chemical synthesis, or other means of manufacturing, which supports us leaving the world a better place than how we found it, something that I value on a personal level and have seen permeate through Antheia’s culture.

What are you most excited about for your role?

Speaking of sustainability – it’s the fact that Antheia is uniquely positioned to solve a complex and delicate supply chain problem for essential medicines that are critically needed in our healthcare systems. Having a novel, sustainable means for manufacturing APIs and KSMs means that Antheia can provide essential solutions and continuity of supply, disrupting the current approach that is regularly disrupted by geopolitical events and climate crises. Antheia is targeting a supply chain that is exceptionally fragile in nature, that is impacted by all of the inherent risks I just mentioned.

I’m also thrilled that we are investing in our own pilot plant because it will be instrumental in scaling our manufacturing capabilities to industrial scale. It will give us autonomy to more quickly meet our customers’ requirements for samples as they start to evaluate our products and will greatly improve our efficiency.

However, this is probably the biggest opportunity and the biggest challenge that the company has. To try to do this in a time when supply chain issues are rampant takes a lot of things going right. Fortunately, we have a lot of fantastic science, support, and talent on our side working to make this future state possible – and I’m proud to be a part of it.

Richard Sherwin

Head of Commercialization

Richard is an industry veteran with more than 30 years of experience in the KSM, API, and intermediate markets. He is responsible for leading the commercialization and revenue generation for Antheia’s robust pipeline of products. Richard brings an exceptional track record of leading international sales teams, driving revenue growth, building strategic partnerships, and delivering innovative products to market, including ANDA and NDA developments. Richard led commercial efforts at some of the leading global pharmaceutical companies and most recently, built his own consultancy business advising a range of clients, including $1B divisions of major multinationals.

Appropriate regulatory submissions will be prepared and submitted to support Antheia’s customers who need to reference and access necessary process-related information.

Yihui Zhu, PhD

Head of Fermentation

Yihui leads the fermentation team at Antheia. With over 25 years of hands-on experience in the field, he brings in-depth knowledge and expertise in microbial metabolism and fermentation process development. He is also skilled in developing comprehensive fermentation data collection, analysis, and visualization systems. Prior to joining Antheia, he served as a fermentation lead at Intrexon and Codexis where he successfully built fermentation labs and teams and led multiple biofuel and biochemical projects to reach stretch milestones and tech transfer. Yihui is passionate about the potential of fermentation and is dedicated to advancing the field through innovative research and development.

Yen-Hsiang Wang, PhD

Head of Strategy, Partnerships, and Finance

Yen-Hsiang leads strategy, partnerships and finance at Antheia. He completed his M.S. and Ph.D. in Bioengineering at Stanford, with extensive research experience in synthetic biology, metabolic engineering and computational modeling. Before joining Antheia, he worked at McKinsey and Tencent with a strong focus in corporate strategy and big data/advanced analytics. At Tencent, he served as Director of Strategy and Business Development for the AI Lab, leading corporate initiatives in healthcare AI/ML applications and commercialization. He also served in AI4H (Artificial Intelligence for Health), a collaboration between WHO and ITU, to establish global standards for AI in healthcare.

Audrey Wang

Head of Financial Planning and Analysis

Audrey leads financial planning and analysis at Antheia. With an MBA from Washington University in St. Louis, Audrey is passionate about leveraging financial analysis, digital technology, and data analytics to guide companies in making optimal investments and strategic business decisions. Audrey has a decade of experience in helping companies solve unique problems and creating long-term impact with unconventional approaches. Before joining Antheia, she was at Vir Biotechnology and Merck where she led various FP&A workstreams, including investment valuation, asset prioritization, and manufacturing sites operation finance support. Audrey completed CFA Level II and passed the U.S. CPA exam in 2011.

Antonij Tjahjadi, CPA

Head of Accounting

Antonij Tjahjadi leads accounting at Antheia and holds active CPA license. He joined Antheia with more than 20 years of experience in corporate accounting, bringing deep expertise in ramping up accounting operations for start-up companies, SEC reporting/technical accounting, and SOX implementation efforts. Before joining Antheia, he held various leading roles in both public and private company settings, including directing accounting functions at Ambys Medicines, where he successfully implemented Netsuite with Point Purchasing integration and set up various accounting policies and processes, and played a key role in the initial public offering of Nutanix, Inc.

Ken Takeoka

Head of Biology

Ken leads the Biology team at Antheia, which incorporates both strain and protein engineering functions. He has more than 16 years of experience in the synthetic biology field, working with leading companies, including Amyris and Novartis. One of his passions is molecular biology tool development and he previously worked to build the foundation for the automated strain engineering pipeline at Amyris. At Novartis, he modernized the molecular biology techniques and established a platform to model mechanisms of antibiotic resistance in a range of organisms.

Suzanne Sato

Head of Downstream Processing

Suzy leads downstream chemistry processes at Antheia. She has 19 years of experience in process development, including route development through synthetic chemistry and scale-up of small molecule APIs for GPCR targets under cGMP for Phase I-III trials. Before joining Antheia, Suzy led a full DSP team at Amyris where she successfully pivoted developments from biofuels hydrocarbon products to pharmaceutical intermediate, flavor, fragrance and nutraceutical products. She led a team that scaled 11 products and took five products to commercial manufacturing.

Farrah Pulce, PMP

Head of Project Management

Farrah leads program and project management at Antheia. She has over 20 years of experience leading program and project management, operations, and engineering for companies across the CPG, aerospace, and automotive industries. Prior to joining Antheia, Farrah implemented and led the sustaining program management team at Impossible Foods. She also led product operations, project management, and cost optimization at Blue Bottle Coffee and Tyson Foods to develop and commercialize new products. As a certified project management professional (PMP), Farrah has a proven record of successful project delivery, improving project management practices, and building collaborative teams.

Jordyn Lee

Head of Communications

Jordyn leads communications and external affairs at Antheia. She brings a decade of multidisciplinary communications experience in helping companies make complex science and technology accessible to broad audiences, all while maintaining technical accuracy and integrity. She has a passion for visionary storytelling and translating impact across the entire communications ecosystem – her work has spanned from public relations to corporate communications to marketing. Jordyn has served as an advisor to a number of different life sciences companies and most recently led corporate communications at Amyris.

Ben Kotopka, PhD

Head of Data Science

As Head of Data Science at Antheia, Ben manages in-house software development and external partnerships for storing and interpreting research data, executing bioinformatics analyses, and streamlining business processes. Prior to Antheia, Ben worked as an academic researcher at the intersection of machine learning, bioinformatics, and synthetic biology. Following this, as an entrepreneur and consultant, he developed and deployed data science solutions for biotechnology applications ranging from metabolomics-driven compound discovery to MRI segmentation.

Guerin Kob

Head of Supply Chain

Guerin is responsible for leading the design, development, management and improvement of Antheia’s end-to-end global supply chain. He has over 15 years of experience leading high-performing supply chain and procurement teams at leading biotechnology and specialty chemical companies, with extensive experience in process development and end-to-end supply chain optimization. Prior to joining Antheia, Guerin served as Senior Director of Global Supply Chain for Sumitomo Chemical’s biotechnology division with Valent Biosciences, where he led the end-to end supply chain including procurement, logistics and distribution, integrated business planning, materials management, customer service, and supply planning functions globally.

Pavel Aronov, PhD

Head of Bioanalytics

Pavel leads the Bioanalytics team at Antheia. He has 20 years of experience in analytical and clinical chemistry, mass spectrometry, chromatography, and metabolomics. Pavel built and led the original Chemistry and Analytics team at Impossible Foods enabling strain development, fermentation, DSP, regulatory, QC, and scale-up of leghemoglobin biomanufacturing. During his academic career at UC Davis and Stanford University Pavel developed a vitamin D assay used by all major clinical diagnostics laboratories and pioneered metabolomics studies to investigate kidney disease and microbiome.

Jesse Ahrendt

Head of Quality Assurance and Regulatory Affairs

Jesse has more than 25 years of experience in regulatory affairs, quality systems, manufacturing quality, and regulated industries, ranging from early- to late-stage pharmaceuticals, biomanufacturing, consumer care, and medical devices. He has supported global product launches and the underlying quality supply chain components in industries that require strict adherence to internationally accepted quality standards. Before Antheia, he led quality efforts at Zymergen and Sandoz, and supported many global pharmaceutical companies during his time in Biotech Consulting at NSF International, all to bring quality to the forefront in manufacturing, standardize global processes, and support customer regulatory requirements.

Heidi Pucel

Chief People Officer

Heidi is a results-driven human resources executive and HR business partner who leverages decades of experience in empowering, motivating, and inspiring to drive transformation within high-performing and rapidly-growing workforces. A certified executive coach and passionate advocate for people-oriented solutions, Pucel serves as a partner to executive teams to design programs that support employee development, engagement, and recruitment and retention. Pucel most recently served as Chief People Officer for Countsy, where she worked as an interim HR executive for clients in the biotechnology and software industries, such as Ceribell and Tune Therapeutics.

Zack McGahey

Chief Operating Officer

Zack is a leading executive in operations management, specializing in bioprocess engineering and manufacturing management. He has over 20 years of experience leading manufacturing functions for companies across the pharmaceutical, synthetic biology, diagnostics, and automotive industries. Before joining Antheia, Zack was VP of manufacturing and capex project management at Zymergen. He also gained experience managing commercial scale facilities operations for Tesla, where he was responsible for managing 10 million square feet of factory, lab and warehouse space during the Model 3 ramp.

Kristy Hawkins, PhD

Co-Founder & CSO

Kristy has over 20 years of experience in the field of synthetic biology, focusing on yeast metabolic engineering for the production of small molecules. She did the founding work on the benzylisoquinoline alkaloid pathway during her graduate studies and gained valuable industry experience at Amyris and Lygos. Kristy is an expert in tool development, high-throughput screening, and host strain and heterologous pathway engineering.

Christina Smolke, PhD

Co-Founder & CEO

Christina is a pioneer in synthetic biology and metabolic engineering, where she has over 20 years of experience. As Professor of Bioengineering and Chemical Engineering at Stanford University, her laboratory led the breakthrough research to engineer baker’s yeast to produce some of the most complex and valuable medicines known. Under her leadership, Antheia’s synthetic biology platform enables new possibilities for drug discovery and efficient, sustainable, transparent, and on-demand drug manufacturing at scale. Her vision and accomplishments have garnered numerous awards, including the Chan-Zuckerberg Biohub Investigator, NIH Director’s Pioneer Award, Nature’s 10, Novozymes Award for Excellence in Biochemical Engineering, and TR35 Award.

Antheia hosts Secretary of State Anthony Blinken to showcase the impact of biotechnology innovation

Appropriate regulatory submissions will be prepared and submitted to support Antheia’s customers who need to reference and access necessary process-related information.