Covance boosts Franklin to lead its cell and gene therapy unit

LabCorp’s contract research organization business Covance has promoted Maryland Franklin, Ph.D., to vice president and head of its cell and gene therapy unit.

She moves up from being Covance’s site lead and executive director of scientific development at the Ann Arbor, Michigan, facility, which focuses on preclinical oncology.

Now, she steps up to run its cell and gene therapy business, a major element in any CRO's portfolio these days as more and more biopharmas look to tap the therapies for potentially curative treatments for a range of diseases.

It remains a tricky proposition to pull off, but cell and gene therapy are very much the current course for R&D across the life sciences as well as a major part of Covance’s business. Under her new role, Franklin will oversee these offerings.

“These solutions aim to help sponsors reduce risk, transition programs within and between phases of development faster and create a more patient-centric experience,” Covance said in a statement, as Franklin will also be tapped to “further extend Covance by Labcorp’s industry leading position.”

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“We are thrilled to welcome Dr. Franklin to Covance by Labcorp. Her experience and expertise will bring perspective and insight to cell and gene therapy at Covance,” said Bill Hanlon, Ph.D., president of clinical, therapeutic and regulatory sciences for Covance.  

“Dr. Franklin joins us at a critical juncture in our ability to support sponsors’ needs throughout the drug development process. She will guide our highly experienced scientists across functional disciplines to seamlessly develop and commercialize a cell or gene therapy. With Dr. Franklin’s expertise, we hope to further grow and advance our cell and gene therapy programs.”

“Cell and gene therapy approaches continue to show great promise in treating a variety of diseases that range from extremely debilitating rare diseases to applications in oncology,” added Franklin. “With several approved advanced therapies to date and many, many more in development, I’m excited to join Covance by Labcorp to and help sponsors in their mission to improve the lives of patients.”