Viralgen announces Javier Garcia as Chairman of the Board and Jimmy Vanhove as new CEO

Viralgen, an independently operated subsidiary of Asklepios BioPharmaceutical, Inc. (AskBio) and a member of Bayer’s global group of companies, today announced that Javier Garcia, founder and first CEO, will become Chairman of the Board of Directors of Viralgen on 1 January 2023. With this transition, Jimmy Vanhove, former Head of Digital and Operational Readiness, assumes the role of CEO.

Garcia founded Viralgen in 2017 and since then, the company has become one of the world’s leading manufacturers of cGMP-certified AAVs (adeno-associated viruses). Under Garcia’s leadership, Viralgen has expanded to a team of more than 400 people, increased its presence in San Sebastian and quadrupled its cGMP commercial manufacturing capacity to 6000l. In his new role, Garcia will continue to contribute to Viralgen’s growth by providing guidance and support for the company’s strategy.

“Javier’s leadership has been fundamental to Viralgen’s success. We are delighted that he will continue to support the company in his new role as Chairman of the Board,” said Sheila Mikhail, Co-Founder and CEO of AskBio. “With Jimmy as the new CEO, I am confident that Viralgen will continue to thrive and advance its mission to support its customers’ efforts to develop and manufacture the highest quality gene therapies. We are excited about the future and look forward to working with Jimmy in this new role.”

“I am delighted that Jimmy is taking on the role of CEO of Viralgen at this important time for our company,” added Garcia. “With his leadership, strategic vision and experience, Viralgen will enter the next phase of growth and advance its leadership position as a CDMO in gene therapy manufacturing.

Vanhove brings to his new role extensive experience in strategy, operational management and digital transformation in the biotech industry. Prior to joining Viralgen in 2021, he served as Chief of Staff at Bayer Global Technical Operations. Vanhove has also held various leadership positions in manufacturing and strategic consulting at multinational companies such as GSK Vaccines and Roland Berger. He holds a degree in Bioscientific Engineering from the Catholic University of Leuven and a degree in General Management from the Vlerick Business School. Vanhove also holds an executive qualification in Digital Transformation from IMD, Lausanne, and in Executive Management Development from IESE Business School, Barcelona.

“I am honoured and proud to lead Viralgen as it enters its next phase of growth,” said Vanhove. “We are inspired by our purpose, which is to provide access to cures for people with genetic disorders, and I am motivated by the talent and commitment of our team. I couldn’t imagine a more exciting time to lead Viralgen.”

Viralgen is a fully integrated CDMO for clinical and commercial manufacturing. Among many recent developments, the company expects regulatory approval from the regulatory authorities shortly for the start-up of its new commercial manufacturing facility. This will expand Viralgen’s capabilities and capacity to produce up to 6,000 litres at cGMP quality for commercial use, through the 3 separate state-of-the-art commercial production halls with 500 litre and 2,000 litre single-use bioreactors.

About Viralgen

Founded in 2017 as a joint venture between AskBio and Columbus Venture Partners (a Spanish venture capital group), Viralgen is one of the leading companies in cGMP-quality AAV manufacturing. It uses the Pro10TM platform, technology licensed by AskBio, which enables greater scalability, performance and precision of AAV therapies.
Headquartered in the Science and Technology Park of Gipuzkoa, Spain, Viralgen is a CDMO (Contract Development and Manufacturing Organization) that produces
AAV gene therapy treatments to enable pharmaceutical and biotech companies to accelerate the delivery of new treatments to improve the lives of patients. A key benefit of its technology is the cGMP production of high-quality rAAVs in large batches through a unique and robust manufacturing platform. Viralgen’s clinical facility has four cGMP production rooms that manufacture in 250L and 500L bioreactors. Viralgen expanded its operations in 2020 also within the Science Park with a new plant that in its first phase added 3 GMP rooms with commercial production capacity of up to 2000L per room.
In October 2020 Viralgen was acquired by Bayer and since then continues to operate as an independent production unit. Viralgen employs more than 400 people with high scientific, production and management skills.