The new executive vice chancellor for MassBiologics, Mireli Fino, MBA, said she was drawn to the organization because of its unique mission to both educate the future biotech workforce and have an impact on global health.
A division of UMass Medical School, MassBiologics is the nation’s only nonprofit FDA-licensed manufacturer of vaccines and biologics.
“I am an immigrant. I come from Mexico and Peru and South America, so I know that the standard of health is not the same in the whole world,” said Fino. “To really make an impact where it’s needed the most was a calling for me.”
Fino comes with a background of 30 years in the pharmaceutical industry, most recently from Protein Sciences, a Sanofi company in Meriden, Conn., where she worked since 2012 as senior vice president for manufacturing operations. There, she was instrumental in the approval, launch and growth of recombinant vaccines and biologics. Fino was also the site head for Protein Sciences’ Pearl River and Meriden operations, where she oversaw the production of vaccines and biopharmaceuticals at multiple sites and contract manufacturing organizations.
She said MassBiologics was a partner with Protein Sciences when her former firm launched an influenza vaccine.
“I discovered a team that was very, very close to Protein Sciences from a value perspective, focusing on what you need to do, doing good work,” said Fino. “What drove me to MassBiologics was the mission. We had just gone through the worst of the pandemic and that makes you think twice. What is the work you want to do? What is the impact you want to have?”
Fino said she looked forward to getting to know the MassBiologics team, its strengths, capabilities, ambitions and strategic plan after starting July 1. Mark Klempner, MD, who has led MassBiologics for the past nine years, will stay on the faculty and continue to lead research into therapies to prevent Lyme disease, diphtheria and enterotoxigenic E. coli.
“I think it’s critical that the team has a very clear focus where it needs to go,” Fino said. “It is always very exciting when you start managing people and start working with teams and seeing what you can achieve when you put together technology and people.”