Dr. Figueroa is passionate about applying her expertise as it relates to non-viral gene therapy and immunotherapy process development and manufacturing. While at Dark Horse, she has also provided strategic support for clients working with gene-modified cell therapy and gene-editing therapy programs across many core competency areas including nonclincal and preclinical support, regulatory strategy, and market analysis. She has supported clients in various stages of development, with an emphasis on early stage programs (Phase I/II).
Prior to DHC, Dr. Figueroa began working in the cell and gene therapy field in 2012 during her Bioengineering Ph.D. thesis project at Rice University. During this time, she worked with Bellicum Pharmaceuticals to apply her novel non-viral gold nanoparticle gene therapy vector to gene-modified cell therapy applications such as CAR-T cell therapy and dendritic cell vaccines, assessing the efficacy of these therapies in vitro and in animal models.
She joined Ziopharm Oncology in 2019 as the Associate Director of Process Development, where she led the team developing autologous CAR-T and TCR-T cell therapies for Phase I/II clinical trials. She guided technology transfers from R&D to internal and external Manufacturing groups, and led the implementation of process improvements resulting in reduction of COGS and process duration, closed system and automation processing improvements, and frozen drug product development.
In addition, Dr. Figueroa gained experience in device development, in vitro diagnostic assay development, and reagent formulation from 2015 – 2019 at Abbott Laboratories as a Scientist and Senior Scientist. Dr. Figueroa also brings experience in CDMO and vendor management, DOE, Risk Management, and root cause investigations.