- TurtleTree hires cellular bioprocessing expert as Chief Scientific Officer to help strategically execute the company’s innovation plans.
Biotech company TurtleTree Labs has hired Dr. Aletta Schnitzler, formerly the R&D Director of Merck KGaA’s Cultured Meat division, as its Chief Scientific Officer. She is described as a “world-class expert in cellular bioprocessing”.
Dr. Schnitzler has a PhD in Immunology and Neuroscience from the Boston University School of Medicine. After receiving her PhD, she made breakthroughs such as developing a xeno-free cell culture medium for mesenchymal stromal cell (MSC) expansion. She then chose to transition from biopharmaceuticals to cellular agriculture.
“Developing life-saving medicines through therapeutic cell manufacturing technologies was immensely gratifying. With cellular agriculture, the aim to better human health with nutritious and diverse alternative protein sources creates the potential to make a broader impact. Being at TurtleTree grants me a vital opportunity to improve our food system and benefit society on a global scale,” Dr. Schnitzler said.
TurtleTree has gone from strength to strength in 2021 — just last month, it raised $30 million to scale up the production of cell-based human milk ingredients. This followed on from the opening of the company’s new R&D facility in Sacramento in October.
Over the summer, TurtleTree announced it was preparing for the commercial launch of its first product, a cell-based version of the milk protein lactoferrin. The company also announced a strategic partnership with industrial biomanufacturing specialist Solar Biotech, to help TurtleTree scale up the manufacture of its cell-based ingredients. The next steps will be to align the company’s global R&D efforts and secure more key partnerships, which Dr. Schnitzler is ideally positioned to do.
“We’re incredibly honored to have Aletta and her expertise in both cellular agriculture and therapeutics with us,” said Fengru Lin, CEO of TurtleTree. “We’re excited to see her apply her experience to creating innovation cycles that will kickstart our productization.”