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Unleashing Joy: Introducing He-Man, Chief Dog Officer at Antheia

He-Man serves as Antheia’s Chief Dog Officer (CDO), where he has worked diligently to make a paw-sitive impact on employee morale, team dynamics, and the company treat budget. In this blog, He-Man shares more about his exciting life at Antheia and his invaluable role in boosting morale.

From Humble Biotech Beginnings to Biomanufacturing Brilliance


He-Man, CDO, in the lab at Antheia HQ

Before my journey at Antheia, I had my paws in the biotech world for quite some time. I worked at two biotech companies prior to joining Antheia, where I honed skills in boosting team spirit and spreading joy, especially in the area of trashcan digging operations. I was one of the earliest hires at Antheia, joining my human, Antheia’s Chief Scientific Officer Kristy Hawkins, and CEO Christina Smolke, who co-founded the company. In addition to being told that I’m a good boy and a great team player, it’s also been said that they couldn’t have done it all without me. I agree.

One of my most important qualities as a teammate is my calm demeanor under pressure, which helps me focus on what truly matters, and encourages others to do the same. Whether we’re tackling complex scientific challenges or navigating intricate strategy decisions, I’m right alongside the team, reminding everyone that a little bit of positivity can go a long way. Picture this: Scientists engrossed in deep discussions about groundbreaking research and innovative biomanufacturing processes. You can imagine that it can be intense, so sometimes a little of my light-heartedness is necessary to keep the atmosphere balanced. I typically step in during meetings to unleash my charm and infectious energy, ensuring that everyone has a reason to smile. After all, a happy team makes for a happy workplace. 

Teamwork Makes the Dream Work

I’m fortunate to have an excellent team by my side at Antheia. One of my closest collaborators is Suzy, the Head of DSP (they keep referring to it as Downstream Processing, but we all know it’s Doggy Snack Preparation). Suzy is responsible for crafting the most delectable lunches for my canine colleagues and I, a tradition that started originally with her lunch prep for her dog, Maddie. Here at Antheia, we have a culture of supporting the whole team, so over time, Suzy began making all of our lunches as well. She moonlights as the head of DSP, ensuring that our key starting materials (KSMs) and active pharmaceutical ingredients (APIs) are purified and isolated.

Another important part of my role is serving as a mentor to the other dog employees. Ember, our Director of Dogs, joined us when she was just a pup with her human Ken, Antheia’s Head of Biology, and thanks to my guiding paw, she has climbed the ranks quickly. One of our more recent hires, Avo, is just getting her feet wet as an intern in Business Strategy, shadowing me and her human, Yen-Hsiang, who is helping her learn the ropes on the business side in his role as Head of Strategy, Partnerships, and Finance. 

A Day in the Life

As a critical part of the Antheia team, I have the honor of uniting us through my cheerful presence and playful antics. Even when the scientists are grappling with the most intricate problems, a wagging tail can lighten the mood and a surprise “gas bomb,” as my mom calls them, can diffuse the tension and remind us all to find some levity in our day-to-day work.  I take pride in setting these precedents for a dog-friendly office culture that embraces both productivity and playfulness.

But as any good executive knows, it’s not all fun and games. As CDO, I adhere to a purposeful routine to remind my team that I mean business. I spend much of my day patrolling the office, enforcing our open door policy so that my team and I can take full advantage of the best napping spots and access all the treats we need. Of course, I also attend meetings where my presence is a vital part of our work, and as part of our commitment to sustainability, I do a trash can inspection at 5pm to make sure no one is wasting their lunch leftovers. 

“Have You Tried Trying?”

When I’m not busy fulfilling my duties as the CDO, you can find me moonlighting as a coach for elite powerlifters at Boss Barbell Club alongside my championship human. I’ve picked up some valuable insights from the gym that I apply to my role here at Antheia. Just like in the gym, teamwork, dedication, and a positive attitude are crucial for success – and just like how the lifters at Boss Barbell Club are the elite, best-of-the-best, so is our team at Antheia. That means I expect only the best of them. “Have you tried trying?” is my mantra. It may sound harsh, but I only use it to help push everyone when they need a little nudge to achieve their full potential. Every pound matters in the gym, just as every ounce matters in fermentation. 

Being a Part of Something Bigger than Ourselves

Serving as the Chief Dog Officer of Antheia is a role I wholeheartedly embrace, from spreading smiles to fostering a sense of unity among our dedicated team members. I am committed to making every day at Antheia a paw-sitive experience for our teams so that they can continue to make groundbreaking discoveries and advancements in Biosynthetic KSMs and APIs. While we’re focused on making products for humans at Antheia, I know that synthetic biology has the potential to change the world for all types of problems – who knows what the future could hold for us dogs! This meaningful work drives me to be the best Chief Dog Officer I can be, day in and day out and I’m proud to be a steward of Antheia’s culture.    

Follow Antheia on LinkedIn and Twitter/X, and for more content from the company’s Chief Dog Officer, follow He-Man on Instagram. 

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.

U.S. Secretary of State Antony J. Blinken visits Antheia to discuss 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.