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Behind the Science Perspectives with Dr. Jim McNally, BioAgilytix’s Chief Scientific Officer

Every BioAgilytix team member brings unique value to the table to benefit our customers. Their combined experience working with large molecule drug modalities is of the most extensive and diverse you will find, and what’s more, they share a passion for problem-solving with science. Both of these attributes are necessary to bring increasingly complex but increasingly effective and safe biotherapeutics to market for patients. We’re proud to have recently added another expert to our ranks who exemplifies both of these qualities and will be a true asset for our clients in many aspects of their drug development efforts. Get to know Jim McNally, Ph.D., our Chief Scientific Officer and the plans he has in his new role:

Tell us a little about your background in the industry and areas of scientific focus.

It seems strange to say, but I’ve been working in the pharma and biotech industry for 20 years now. My first job in industry was with a small company that, when I joined, was approximately 30-40 people. I was trained as a cellular immunologist focusing on T cell viral immunity. In that first biotech job, I was lucky enough to be exposed to the entire drug development process. I was asked to develop assays for GMP lot release, non-clinical testing, clinical testing, and in vivo and in vitro proof of concept studies. Right out of the gate, I gained an appreciation for so many different aspects of the drug development process. It was invaluable experience. I’d say the second most formative experience was my time at Pfizer where I led non-clinical and then clinical assay development teams for one of the largest large molecule portfolios in industry. Having the opportunity to work with so many different large molecule modalities and for such varied disease indications was another amazing experience that really provided a broad foundation for where I am now.

While I always come to work excited to play in so many scientific areas, there is no doubt that my passion is immunogenicity of biotherapeutics. For the past decade I’ve taught courses on immunogenicity assessment, published with industry-wide groups on the topic, and if you’ve ever encountered me at a meeting, you know I won’t shut up about it!

How did you come to join the BioAgilytix team? What were the opportunities and/or qualities of the company that excited you most?

Like many of the people at BioAgilytix, I’m a former customer that has now joined the team. Since my first exposure to the company nearly a decade ago, I have always found the scientific team at BioAgilytix to be incredibly knowledgeable and, most importantly, aligned with how I believe we all work best – transparently and collaboratively. Any time I placed work at BioAgilytix I was never disappointed in the teams I worked with. On a personal level, I got to know the BioAgilytix leadership team and was always amazed at how engaged they were in the work and culture that is so core to BioAgilytix’s differentiation. I don’t think you could find a more driven and personable CEO than Jim Datin and it all flows from him.

When approached to join the BioAgilytix team, I couldn’t pass up an opportunity to be a part of such a strong scientific organization with a culture completely aligned with my own personal values.

What does your role at BioAgilytix entail and what are your biggest priorities in the coming months?

Initially, I plan to have an emphasis on building our gene and cell therapy expertise, but honestly, I’m ready to roll up my sleeves and work on everything! I hope to be a scientific asset to our internal bioanalytical teams, a consultant for our clients, and an external representative of BioAgilytix’s strong scientific capabilities. A big part of my role is to be out presenting at meetings talking about large molecule bioanalysis, so as the world opens back up I’ll be connecting with as many industry colleagues as possible.

What opportunities do you see coming for BioAgilytix in the industry, in North America as well as worldwide?

I think we are uniquely situated to have a major impact on the bioanalytical support for cell and gene therapy. As the industry is rapidly moving toward these modalities, there are so many opportunities to contribute to our understanding of these therapeutics. Our experience with immunogenicity, cell-based assays, and biomarkers position us to be a valuable asset to our partners working in this space.

What do you think sets BioAgilytix apart from other CROs in the industry?

The people. We have strong scientists committed to delivering quality on every project. I can say that I enjoyed every interaction I had with BioAgilytix before I joined the team and knew that I could trust the scientists I worked with. It is an honor to now be part of the team and to represent their hard work.

Want to meet Dr. McNally to learn more? We invite you to schedule a time to talk one-on-one with him about your bioanalytical questions and challenges or how BioAgilytix can support your large molecule study needs. Request a time for a virtual meeting today by clicking here.