jCyte Announces Expansion of its Executive Leadership Team with Appointments in Commercial, Clinical and Manufacturing Operations 

February 16, 2021

  • Company appoints Dr. Samir Mody as Chief Commercial Officer, Dr. Friedrich Asmus as SVP, Clinical Development & Medical Affairs and Joel Centeno as SVP, Manufacturing, Quality & Supply Chain. 

  • Their decades of experience bring proven leadership to successfully guide commercial, clinical and manufacturing operations as jCell therapy advances toward its pivotal Phase 3 clinical trial program. 

NEWPORT BEACH, Calif. – jCyte Inc., a biotech company dedicated to improving the lives of patients with retinal degenerative diseases, today announced the expansion of the Company’s executive management team.  

Dr. Samir Mody has been appointed Chief Commercial Officer. Dr. Mody brings more than 20 years of experience in leading global market access, strategy, health economics and reimbursement teams. Most recently, he was Vice President, CRHF Strategy, Health Economics and Reimbursement at Medtronic. Samir has led global teams that have worked closely with private and public payers, governments, health technology agencies, hospitals, and clinicians around the world to secure optimal access for a number of blockbuster pharmaceutical and medical device products during his tenure at Johnson and Johnson, Medtronic and AstraZeneca. He earned his Doctor of Pharmacy degree from the University of North Carolina-Chapel Hill, his MBA from the Fuqua School of Business at Duke University and completed a post-doctoral fellowship in Health Economics and Outcomes Research at the University of South Carolina.

Dr. Friedrich Asmus has been appointed SVP, Clinical Development & Medical Affairs. Dr. Asmus has more than 20 years of experience across academia, private, and public companies as a leader of clinical and cross-functional development teams. Prior to joining jCyte, Dr. Asmus was the VP of Clinical Development at ProQR Therapeutics, an ophthalmology-focused biotech. At ProQR, he led the Usher Syndrome clinical development program and served as the medical monitor overseeing all Retinitis Pigmentosa trials, the lead indication for jCyte’s platform cell therapy program. Prior to ProQr, Dr. Asmus was the Global Clinical Leader at Bayer, coordinating the development of key indications for the market leading anti-VEGF treatment, aflibercept (Eylea), across Europe and Asia. Dr. Asmus is a board-certified neurologist and pharmacist, who has authored more than 55 published peer-reviewed articles.

Joel Centeno has been appointed SVP, Manufacturing, Quality & Supply Chain. He joins jCyte from Epigenomics, where he was the SVP of Regulatory, Quality and U.S. Operations. Mr. Centeno brings over 20 years of experience working across pharmaceutical, medical device and diagnostic products where he has built and managed multiple laboratory and manufacturing facilities regulated by the FDA and EMA.  Mr. Centeno is a Six Sigma quality engineer who has designed and implemented quality systems that have passed numerous inspections and audits with zero findings for 15 consecutive years. Prior to serving as SVP, Regulatory, Quality, & US Operations at Epigenomics, Mr. Centeno held a number of senior management roles of increasing responsibility at companies including Boston Scientific, Hologic and AltheaDx, where he was a key architect in the launch of multiple novel products. Mr. Centeno received his B.Sc. in Materials Science & Engineering from the University of Florida, has co-authored multiple peer-reviewed publications and is a public speaker on quality and FDA-related topics.

“To ensure we get jCell therapy to patients who are in desperate need, we have built an executive team who understands the needs of global payers throughout the world, has deep expertise developing transformative therapies for retinal conditions, and experience managing best-in-class cGMP facilities required to manufacture our innovative cell therapy,” said Dr. Shannon Blalock, Chief Executive Officer, jCyte. “The additions of Dr. Mody, Dr. Asmus, and Mr. Centeno brings to jCyte a unique group of highly skilled professionals with decades of experience within these critical corporate operational areas to ensure we successfully deliver our transformative cell therapy to patients who are in desperate need and currently have no treatment options.”

jCell is a first-in-class investigational treatment for RP which has received FDA Regenerative Medicine Advanced Therapy (RMAT) designation. In addition to RMAT designation, jCell has received Orphan Drug designation from the FDA and the European Medicines Agency (EMA).

About jCyte, Inc.

jCyte, Inc. is a clinical-stage biotech company focused on developing its first-in-class regenerative cell therapy, jCell, for retinitis pigmentosa (RP) and other retinal degenerative disorders. The treatment is minimally invasive and given as an intravitreal injection. There are currently no FDA approved therapies for RP. The company is pioneering a new era of regenerative therapies to address the significant unmet medical needs of patients suffering from a broad set of retinal degenerative diseases. For more information, visit www.jcyte.com.


Kimberly Ha
KKH Advisors