Ranjan (John) Mukherjee from Biodextris

Meet John, Director of Marketing and Business Development at Biodextris, a biotech CDMO (contract development and manufacturing organization) that provides analytical, development, and bioproduction services.

How is Biodextris different than other CDMOs? 

Biodextris classically has offered a more intimate approach to client services by assigning a project manager to most projects and coupling in other services to offer a total solution to the client. We also have an analytical development arm to help out clients characterize their molecule as well as arranging their stability program.

How should a biotech startup figure out the right time to reach out? And critically, how should they choose the RIGHT CDMO at the right time? 

Great question! Because the world has changed with COVID type projects, many CDMOs are swamped. As a result, we try to encourage our clients to reach out as soon as they have selected a novel candidate to move forward with, and ideally have a stable cell line with robust expression system. In many cases if there are government grants involved, many must line up at least an idea of the costs for development, or ideally, a provided quotation or proposal, in order to get their funding anyway.                        

Picking the right CDMO can hinge on a lot of things, perhaps where you intend to conduct clinical studies, where you ultimately want to release your drug, proximity to your scale up venue (if you choose separate venues for development and large batch) or even ease of access to the scientists and stakeholders in the sponsoring firm.

But, in many cases, recently, CROs are just grateful to find a firm with the soonest available date to slot in their product, and if the CDMO presents reasonable technical understanding of their product, they will engage solely based on this. So to summarize, timing is typically the biggest factor, followed by the technical capabilities of the CDMO followed by cost and ease of service. As you will notice, cost is typically secondary to most other factors!

What customer problems do you solve at Biodextris?

We help our clients take their lead candidate biologic to early-stage clinical batch scale by providing a robust process that can be scaled up.

What’s something that has surprised you since you’ve been in this role? 

Actually, I have been often surprised by how many things are not considered in the process of developing drugs in the early stages. This is why we tend to recommend to clients without a CMC (chemistry, manufacturing, and controls) specialist that they either hire one or contract one to ensure they map out their process and all the necessary steps within. We can offer some support here but ultimately it is the sponsor’s responsibility to ensure they have weighed risks, safety and so on into their own plans.

What’s a fun fact about you?

Having owned my own business doing business development for various budding new technologies, I caught the innovation bug myself and started to develop a portable, home use, biomarker reading platform. This endeavor ultimately didn’t result in a finished product for a variety of reasons, but the experience taught me how difficult it is to raise funding, surmount technical challenges, and negotiate with a wide range of product and service providers here and abroad!

I feel this is one of the key pieces that brings success with our interactions with clients, as I myself have been down their path and understand what is needed for success!

Any new things you’re working on?

We are working on many COVID vaccines as well as therapeutics. Some, interestingly enough, are delivered via intranasal systems, which if successful, will alleviate many bottle necks in large scale administration of these types of drugs… you don’t need a nurse to administer the products.