Aldevron Breakthrough Blog

Taking Biotech as Far as it Can Go at the Breakthrough Symposium

Aldevron is privileged to work with some of the most innovative and groundbreaking companies, academic institutions, and government laboratories in biotechnology today. Since the company’s founding 20 years ago, Michael Chambers and John Ballantyne have always focused on clients, with the goal to improve the lives of the customers and patients they serve. Researchers across the globe are making tremendous breakthroughs in gene and cell therapy and gene editing, resulting in advances in medicine, agriculture, energy and many other fields. We are honored to serve as the basis for many of these transformative products.

It is in the context of the tremendous success and enormous potential of our field that Aldevron is hosting the inaugural Breakthrough Symposium in Fargo, North Dakota, on November 6-7, 2018. With four approved products in gene and cell therapy, advances in manufacturing scale and quality, and the next generation of products on the horizon, we invite leading organizations and individuals in gene and cell therapy and gene editing to our worldwide headquarters to “Take Biotech as Far as It Can Go”. Attendees will hear the latest advances in the field and have the opportunity to collaborate with colleagues, all in a dynamic, unique area of the country we call, “Fargo. North of Normal”.

The symposium will host presentations from across the spectrum of research, manufacturing, and commercialization. An impressive list of organizations will be represented, including Ziopharm Oncology, bluebird bio, Northern Therapeutics, and the University of Wisconsin, to name just a few.

0718- Blog-speakersProfessor Luk Vandenberghe, from Harvard University and the Broad Institute, who was named Outstanding New Investigator by the American Society of Gene and Cell Therapy, will present his lab’s latest work on AAV capsid development.

Professor Matthew Porteus, from Stanford University, will present his group’s pioneering work on gene editing to treat diseases including sickle cell anemia.

Andrew Moreo of the Nationwide Children’s Hospital will review the hospital's state-of-the-art GMP production of viral vectors that support many clinical trials.


The symposium closes with Tom Whitehead, co-founder of the Emily Whitehead Foundation, discussing the inspiring story of his daughter Emily's fight against leukemia and her becoming the first pediatric patient to receive a cell therapy for the disease.

In addition to the compelling presentations, attendees will participate in poster sessions that will showcase outstanding work in the field. Tours of Aldevron’s 70,000 square-foot manufacturing facility, the largest plasmid DNA production operation in the world,  will provide the opportunity to see firsthand how the company is preparing for the growth of the industry and future needs of clients.

We look forward to welcoming you to Fargo and invite you to learn more about the symposium at Registration is open, with the early bird rate available until July 31. The site also provides a link to easily book accommodations. Sponsorships are available for companies to exhibit and meet the leading organizations attending the event. Abstracts for consideration in the poster session are encouraged and will be accepted until August 31. For any questions, please email me at, and we will see you in Fargo in November!


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James Brown, Ph.D.

James Brown, Ph.D.

James Brown has over 25 years of biotechnology industry experience, and has spent the last decade in gene and cell therapy. In 2015 he joined Aldevron where he serves as Vice President, Corporate Development and Chief of Staff. His responsibilities include developing and implementing strategies for expanding Aldevron’s products and services. In this capacity he heads the product management function, which expands existing product features and develops new products. As Chief of Staff Brown works with the CEO to execute on his strategic priorities. Prior to joining Aldevron, Brown was Vice President, Technical Operations, at REGENXBIO Inc., a gene therapy company. In this role he was responsible for contract manufacturing, vendor management, operations, quality assurance and biological reagent sales. Prior to REGENXBIO Dr. Brown served in roles of increasing responsibility in operations and quality assurance at MedImmune, Meso Scale Discovery and IGEN International, Inc. Brown holds a Ph.D. in chemistry from Stanford University and a B.S. in chemistry from Butler University.

Topics: Events