EXECUTIVE DIRECTOR: GLOBAL mRNA TECHNOLOGY TRANSFER AND TRAINING HUB AT AFRIGEN BIOLOGICS PTY LTD
Caryn Fenner is an alumnus of Rhodes University, and the University of Cape Town (UCT) obtaining a BSc Honours in Biotechnology and a PhD in Bioprocess Engineering, respectively. Before joining Afrigen Biologics, she held a research position at the Centre for Bioprocess Engineering Research (CeBER) at UCT, focusing on new product and process development using microbial and enzyme technology. Caryn has technical experience in biomanufacturing of recombinant proteins and therapeutics. She has taught at both undergraduate and postgraduate level, including supervision of postgraduate students. She served on CeBER’s executive management team and oversaw operations of the analytical facilities. As an NRF grant-holder, Caryn was the principal investigator of two research projects in the area of biocatalysis. She has co-authored articles and chapters in peer-reviewed journals and books.
Caryn joined Afrigen Biologics mid-2016, as Senior Scientist and Laboratory Manager of the Adjuvant Formulation Centre. She oversees Afrigen’s product development programme; these include Veterinary Health, Human Health, and Novel formulations, portfolios, and all scientific and technical operations. She leads the team of highly competent scientist focusing on the application of next generation adjuvant formulations to improvement and development of vaccines for human and animal health. Their formulation capabilities, which is based on a nano-encapsulation technology platform is also being applied to complementary and alternative medicines (CAMS), vitamins and minerals.
She was appointed as an executive member of Afrigen’s Board in a new role as Technical Director in August 2018. She also has the privilege of serving on UCT’s seed fund investment committee and as an advisor to the SA governments Department of Science and Innovation on Health Innovation related programmes. She has also recently served as an external evaluator on the SAHPRA COVID-19 expert committee.
Most recently Caryn has taken on the executive directorship of the Global mRNA technology transfer and training hub, a WHO-led public/ private partnership consortium to advance mRNA vaccine development and manufacturing for Africa and other LMICs.