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Introducing Jordyn Lee, Antheia’s Director of Communications

As the newly minted Director of Communications, Jordyn Lee owns the voice of Antheia and all of the ways the brand shows up, from industry conferences to digital content. With a deep background in technical communications and public relations, she brings a passion for scientific storytelling to the forefront during a landmark year, as Antheia moves into commercial operations and unleashes its innovations and voice in new, emboldened ways. 

Jordyn recently sat down to share her thoughts on communications, creativity, and Antheia’s legacy. 

How would you describe your career narrative and background?

I started my career in public relations on the agency side, which ended up being a great opportunity for exploration and on-the-job education, as I was exposed to a range of different companies and industries. My very first clients were consumer-facing companies in the food and beverage industry and I eventually ended up transitioning to B2B technology, focusing on clients in the big data and security spaces, which was where I really found my stride. I liked the challenge of telling an exciting story about something that was hard to understand and frankly, not all that interesting to 99% of the general public. My interest in these fascinating companies’ corporate stories brought me to New York where I landed at Mission North, my last PR and communications agency where I was introduced to my very first synthetic biology client. It blew my mind, and over time, it became a specialty for me at the agency. 

I eventually decided to pursue an in-house communications role to get closer to the science and deepen my understanding – first at Amyris and now, at Antheia – a former client whose mission, technology, and team I’ve long believed in. Every day, at Antheia, I have the opportunity to unpack the various aspects of our corporate narrative and develop a strategy to brings that story to the world. I’m constantly learning at Antheia and that’s one of the best things you could ask for from a job. 

How does creativity play a role in science communications? 

Creativity is important in communications for every industry but it becomes even more critical in a field like synthetic biology where you’re dealing with concepts and even words that people have never heard of before. You have to look at things from different angles and be extremely intentional about what information is necessary, what can be misconstrued, and what can be stripped away without losing the scientific integrity or accuracy of your story. We recently launched our redesigned website, which allowed us to re-examine our story more closely and bring a sharper focus to areas like our platform and pipeline. It was an exercise in communication but certainly also creativity. 

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

I was already compelled by the company’s mission and technology from my days of working with Antheia as a client, but I also have immense trust and confidence in the company’s leadership team. Our Head of Strategy and Partnerships, Yen-Hsiang Wang in particular, has been an amazing mentor, friend, and trusted expert on both the science and business sides of synthetic biology. 

My decision to go in-house was driven by a desire to get closer to the science and Antheia is a place where I’ve been able to do just that. Everyone here is extremely willing to share their time and expertise and there’s a deep sense of collaboration, transparency, and learning woven into the culture. While it feels like a natural part of our ethos, these types of corporate culture attributes have to be built intentionally in order to be successful – that in itself speaks volumes to Antheia’s leadership. 

Joining the Antheia team was an easy decision – the team is brilliant, the corporate values are aligned with my own, and my role is expansive. It’s been very fulfilling.

What would you say makes Antheia a great company?

Where to start! I think we’ve all seen the dangers of companies that are bold to a fault and unafraid to put things out into the world, sometimes even before they’re proven. From our R&D team to the business side, the company is extremely humble and simply doesn’t do this. That’s not to understate the brilliance of the work that’s happening here, but we’ve done a great job of letting our science and our impact speak for itself. As a communications professional, it’s a dream to be able to amplify the work coming from this type of a company. Our mission is no small feat but our team is driven and focused in a world where many are vying to claim the spotlight. 

Antheia’s culture is also really special. Everyone here is truly dedicated to the work and are motivated by the potential that it has for the future. That equates to a deep camaraderie and shared understanding of working hard for the right reasons. Where the tech industry has an antiquated mantra of “move fast and break things,” Antheia is more thoughtful and intentional because the pharma industry – and the patients and healthcare providers that rely on it – is urgently in need of new solutions where failure isn’t an option. 

How would you describe your role supporting and bolstering Antheia’s mission, especially in such a critical milestone year?

I’ve found that science communications too often skews one of two ways: too far in the weeds for many people to understand or so high-level that it loses any meaning at all. This year I’m focused on bringing Antheia’s technology, mission, and vision to life by finding the balance between those two ends of the spectrum, working to be technical, credible, and accurate, in a way that is interesting, visionary, and exciting. My work includes bringing our story to life through our brand, website, content, events, and internal and partner communication to continue evolving our narrative as the company grows. 

Where do you see Antheia’s greatest communications opportunities and challenges, moving forward?

We’re working to build our presence and influence in the pharma space, just as we’ve done successfully in the synbio space. As we continue to grow and move into these next stages of commercialization, it will become increasingly important to demonstrate our credibility and relevance in pharma. Recently, we’ve been looking back at history and identifying trends in how companies have leveraged new sciences to transform pharma over the past two centuries; it’s inspiring to envision Antheia as leading the next technical revolution for the pharma space. 

But from a communications perspective, building eminence for a company that is in the midst of rapid evolution and growth is always challenging. It means you have to be ready to adapt quickly from one day to the next so that messaging stays consistent with the real-time happenings of the business. Teams have to be in lockstep and that requires consistent self-assessment to ensure that communication continues to support and advance the business. It’s a challenge, but certainly not impossible. 

What do you hope to achieve in the next year, and the next five years with Antheia?

In the next five years, I hope that Antheia – and our brilliant leaders – will be known as trailblazers in both the synbio and pharma spaces. We have the technology, the team, and the proof points to make this a reality and our communications strategy will play an important role in bringing all of this to light on a national and eventually, global scale. In my role, my goal is for Antheia to be known for not just its industry-changing technology, but also its audacious vision and courageous leadership. 

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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 Completes Successful Product Validation

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