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Member Spotlight: Andy Weiskopf

Tuesday, November 5, 2019   (0 Comments)
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The Member Spotlight Q&A is part of an ongoing CASSS series, in which we invite members to meet other members of the CASSS Community.

The Member Spotlight is an ongoing Q&A series focused on getting to know the CASSS community. Today’s spotlight shines
on Andy Weiskopf, Vice President, CMC Regulatory Affairs at Sana Biotechnology.

Q. What was your motivation to volunteer with CASSS?
Ever since I first volunteered about a decade ago, I’ve found it remarkable how CASSS keeps its finger on the pulse of analytical technologies, biopharmaceutical development, and regulatory science. Whether it’s a long-established flagship conference such as WCBP, technical meetings like CE Pharm and HOS, or regional conferences like AT-Europe and the Japan CMC Strategy Forum, I’ve always been impressed at CASSS’s knack for bringing together the right people to have meaningful dialogue, no matter the topic. It’s great to be a part of such a science-forward organization.

It was especially rewarding for me to be involved with the launch of the CASSS Cell & Gene Therapy Products (CGTP) meeting. CASSS leadership identified the need to bring together scientists, industry representatives, and regulators to discuss CMC challenges with these new modalities. Our team of volunteers worked together with the great professional staff of CASSS to make this new conference a reality, and now it’s going on its third year!

Q. What do you do to relax? Do you have any hobbies?
I like to relax by hanging out with my family, walking our dog, watching football, and trying new restaurants. We love to travel, but I think I may actually enjoy travel planning as much as the actual trips themselves (to my wife’s dismay).

Q. What's your favorite type of food or special dish you cook? Why?
I haven’t done it in a while, but I do enjoy baking just about any kind of dessert. Even when desserts don’t turn out perfectly, they still taste pretty good. My success rate is much higher with anything on the grill: fewer ways to fail with a hamburger!

Q. What is your favorite movie, tv show, music or book?
I love music, but it’s hard for me to pick a single genre… it really depends on my mood. On my iPhone right now I’ve got Chopin’s Nocturnes, Thelonious Monk, REM, and Stevie Wonder’s “Songs in the Key of Life” all in my library.

Q. What famous person (dead or alive) would you choose to have dinner with? Why?
Tough question! I guess I’d love to spend some time with Lin-Manuel Miranda and learn about his creative process. I admire him not only because of the brilliance and originality of his work, but also how relentlessly and genuinely positive he is. His Twitter feed is a wonderful antidote to… well, just about everything else on Twitter.

Q. What’s your favorite travel experience?
We went to Iceland two years ago, and it was absolutely spectacular… unlike any place I’ve ever been to before. We only covered the west and the south, so we still have a lot to explore there.

Q. What would people be surprised to know about you?
I can play the oboe: played it for 9 years but stopped after high school.

Q. How did you get inspired to go into science/biotech/pharma industry?
I was always interested in science, even as a kid. But what really inspired me to pursue a career in biotech was an internship at Biogen the summer after my junior year in college. It was really the first time I saw all the pieces come together, generating data that wasn’t simply going into a lab report for an assignment, but would be used by teams to make critical decisions about how to develop a biopharmaceutical product. Seeing that my work had real-world impact, even in my capacity as a summer intern, was what really hooked me.

Q. If you did anything other than your current occupation, what would it be?
Today, my answer to that question would be “science teacher” so that I could share my passion for biology and chemistry with students. But if you’d asked me back when I was still in college, I probably would’ve said “journalist.” I nearly went into journalism instead of chemistry.


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