-Written by Grace Herdelin, CBE '22
On the morning of September 1, I started the fall semester off with a Zoom meeting with Greg Russotti. Dr. Russotti has both a B.S. and M.S. in Chemical Engineering from Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute and a PhD in Biochemical Engineering from Rutgers University. In advance of our meeting, I did some research on Dr. Russotti background and saw that he was the Chief Technology Officer of Century Therapeutics, LLC, a company which had recently had a successful IPO and that conducted interesting research on cancer therapies, and I was very excited to hear about that experience. However, after introducing myself we quickly began discussing our shared positive experiences with social Greek life. We discussed the impact our respective organizations had on our professional lives and the unique leadership skills we gained from them. I then asked him to walk me through his professional life from his experiences working at a hospital and at Kodak to his current role. Dr. Russotti explained the many intriguing technologies on which he has worked at various pharmaceutical companies of varying sizes and environments. Upon reflection, I found two aspects of our conversation the most interesting: first, our discussion on CAR T-cell immunotherapy and on his experience on an executive team during an IPO.
CAR T-cell immunotherapy has the potential to save lives of patients who have failed all of the standard lines of therapy for various blood cancers. Dr. Russotti shared the inspiring story of Emily Whitehead whose pediatric acute lymphoblastic leukemia was treated with experimental CAR T therapy at the Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia. After relapsing twice, CAR T was her only hope and has kept her cancer free since 2012. I was stunned to hear about how successful the treatment has been.
On a different note, we also spent some time discussing Dr. Russotti’s experience as CTO while Century Therapeutics went public in June of 2021. Dr. Russotti was involved in investor pitches and worked to secure funding over several months. Century is now in the process of building a manufacturing facility and continuously developing the technology for which the company was founded.
My conversation with Dr. Russotti was both informative and engaging. I plan to stay in touch with him over the course of my senior year to get more advice for my future career and to learn even more from him.