Avirmax Inc

Founding and Management Team

Shengjiang Shawn Liu, Ph.D., DVM
President and CEO

Dr. Liu is an experienced biotechnologist, virologist, biochemist and serial entrepreneur. Prior to Avirmax, Dr. Liu held an executive position, chief scientist and global head of Pathogen Safety of Bayer Pharmaceuticals. Dr. Liu was a founder and the president of Abmaxis, Inc. which was acquired by Merck in 2006. Dr. Liu was the group leader of Genentech BSL-3 Virology Research Lab (1996-2000). In his scientific career, he developed bioprocess technologies to prevent commercial scale bioreactors from virus contamination and secured virus safety for biotherapeutics. He discovered and characterized a new virus, rabbit hemorrhagic disease virus (RHDV), the rabbit calicivirus in 1984. During his past 25 years of biotechnological career, he played key roles in innovation, development, tech transfer and manufacturing support and regulatory submission for approvals at various development stages of 33 biologics including AAV mediated GT products, out of which 10 are widely used biologics in the market. Dr. Liu received his Ph.D. in Biochemistry from Kansas State University (1990-93) and his post-doctoral training with Dr. Arthur Kornberg, Stanford University (1994-1996). Dr. Liu is a member of Parental Drug Association (PDA), World Federation of Hemophilia (WFH) and an advisor of Bioengineering Department of Santa Clara University (Santa Clara, CA).

Haifeng Chen, Ph.D.

Haifeng Chen, Ph.D. is an experienced virologist and entrepreneur. He has worked in several gene therapy (GT) companies including Cell Genesys, Genovo, Avigen, and Asklepios BioPharmaceutical which has been acquired in 2020 by Bayer AG. In 2006, Dr. Chen co-founded Virovek and served as Chief Executive Officer until 2019. He invented the “BAC-to- AAV” system utilizing baculovirus to infect Sf9 cells for large scale AAV production. Dr. Chen earned his B.S. in Biology from Sun Yat-sen University in 1982, and his M.S. in Biology from Sichuan University in 1985. He then went to Germany for his graduate study in 1989 and earned his Ph.D. from the University of Saarland, Germany in 1992. In the same year, he was awarded the Marion-Merrell-Dow Post-Doctoral Fellowship to work at the University of Kansas Medical Center in Kansas City, Kansas. Dr. Chen currently serves on the Viral Gene Transfer Vector Committee of American Society of Gene and Cell Therapy (ASGCT).

Harald Dinter, Ph.D.,
Chief Business Advisor (CBA)

Dr. Dinter obtained broad experience in research and development of pharmaceutical agents while working in biotech and large pharma companies in Germany and the USA. During 2014-2018, Dr. Dinter served as the Sr. Vice President (SVP) and Head of Biologics, Drug Discovery, Bayer Pharma AG. He was responsible for global research and development of biologics at Bayer. From 2007 to 2011, Dr. Dinter was the Sr. Vice President and Head of Operation of Global Drug Discovery (GDD) of Bayer HealthCare and Vice President of Berlex Biosciences (2006). Development of strategies and their successful implementation as well as evaluation of projects and making clear decisions on these are among Harald’s core competencies. Since 2018, Dr. Dinter has advised companies and research institutes on the definition and focusing of their strategy, during acquisitions and licensing of technologies. Dr. Dinter holds a Ph.D. in Biochemistry and Biotechnology, Business Management Program from Harvard Business School (2001) and Management of Technology and Innovation from Caltech (2000) and led throughout his career various research groups and departments in pharma and biotech companies.

Kevin Lin, MD
VP & Head of Manufacturing

Kevin has worked in the biotechnology industry for over 30 years from process development, technology transfer, MSAT to GMP manufacturing in small, mid-size and large companies, like Bayer Healthcare, Catalant, Avid Bioservices, ImmunityBio, and Kindred Bioscience, etc. He has broad knowledge and experience in process development, scale up, and manufacture of biological and gene therapy products.

Ying Li, MD
Head of Quality

Dr. Ying Li is an experienced manager with broad expertise including quality assurance, quality systems, and compliance and product development for clinical and commercial biological products. Prior to joining Avirmax, Inc., Dr. Li was a senior quality specialist at Bayer Pharmaceuticals for biological development projects and for compliance in quality control since 2005. As a quality assurance project lead, she oversaw the multiple clinical development projects, ensured the quality requirement and compliance, supported IND and IMPD regulatory submission, executed QA activities in areas including quality agreement, cGMP audit and inspection, documentation, deviation and CAPA management, change control, vendor qualification, method validation/transfer, risk assessment, clinical product release and stability. In addition to her QA role, Dr. Li was a research scientist with increasing responsibility in analytical development and process development at Bayer Pharmaceuticals and at UCSF. Dr. Li received her medical degree from Sun Yat-Sen University, Zhongshan Medical College (1983) and Master of Science from University of Utah, School of Medicine (1987).