Luis Branco, PhD
Co-Founder & Managing Director, Zalgen Labs
Dr. Branco is involved in the production of monoclonal and recombinant antigens required to support the research being conducted by the Consortium. Dr. Branco has over 18 years of research and development experience in the fields of molecular biology, immunology, virology, and cell biology particularly in the design and implementation of bacterial, baculoviral, and mammalian expression systems for the production of recombinant therapeutic molecules.
Dr. Branco began his career at the University of Massachusetts at Amherst performing post-graduate research in the field of baculovirology, including design of baculovirus expression vectors and insect cell culture processes. Dr. Branco developed industry experience with a five-year tenure at MedImmune, Inc., where he served important roles in the development of bioassays for MedImmune’s flagship product, Synagis™. In addition, he performed research in the characterization of MedImmune’s leading therapeutic monoclonal antibody (mAb) for transplantation medicine and psoriasis, Siplizumab™. Dr. Branco then transitioned to Human Genome Sciences, Inc. where he led the Stable Cell Development Group and was responsible for the generation and characterization of human mAbs to the chemokine receptor CCR5 that blocked HIV entry into permissive cells. In addition, he developed multiple flow cytometry (FACS) based assays for the high throughput differential characterization of mAbs to 7-TM proteins, and a CCR5 receptor occupancy FACS-based assay that measured the kinetics of an HIV entry inhibiting mAb in blood samples from infected patients. Dr. Branco then joined BioFactura, Inc., a startup biotechnology company, where he served as Chief Scientific Officer, and was responsible for the bacterial and mammalian protein expression element of the aforementioned U01 grant, in addition to the generation and characterization of mAbs to recombinant LASV antigens.
Recently, Dr. Branco co-founded Zalgen Labs, LLC, where he is continuing the characterization of panels of LASV- specific mAbs, in addition to generating recombinant LASV proteins with improved antigenic properties.