MaxCyte Puts A Focus On: Maher Masoud, CEO

Maher Masoud

Maher Masoud
President and Chief Executive Officer

MaxCyte Puts A Focus On: Maher Masoud, CEO

Maher was named President and Chief Executive Officer of MaxCyte in January of 2024. He brings more than 25 years of experience in the biopharmaceutical industry, including 17 years as an attorney and general counsel, to his new role at MaxCyte. Maher has most recently served as EVP, Head of Global Business Development and Chief Counsel at MaxCyte. During his tenure, MaxCyte’s SPL partnerships grew to include 23 partners (as of January 1, 2024).

Maher started his biopharmaceutical career as a research associate with Glen Research, a Maravai company, before joining Human Genome Sciences as Director and Corporate Counsel, overseeing legal activities for the company’s global clinical trials until its acquisition by GlaxoSmithKline. Prior to joining MaxCyte, he oversaw the operations of six business subsidiaries at Wellstat, a life science holding company. During his tenure at Human Genome Sciences and Wellstat, Maher supported the launch of three FDA-approved therapies, Benlysta®, Vistogard® and Xuriden®.

Maher holds a Bachelor of Science degree in cell and molecular biology genetics from the University of Maryland and earned his law degree from Michigan State University College of Law.

Who inspires you? How do you inspire others?

Throughout my life, inspiration has come from many sources, starting with my parents. Even though they grew up in an environment that limited their ability to be school educated, it didn’t stop them from immigrating to the US from the Middle East with a desire to provide their children with an opportunity for education and growth. They fearlessly started over from scratch in a new country with a new language and culture and no financial resources or safety net. I have been called a fearless leader (not sure I see myself as such) – but if it is, this comes from witnessing the courageous efforts of my parents to create a better life for their children.

I’ve also been inspired by successful entrepreneurs in the life sciences industry, such as Hugh Mackie, founder of Glen Research, and Sam Wohlstadter, founder of Amgen, Applied Biosystems, Igen, and Bioveris, who willingly and fearlessly entered the unknown field of science with a vision to move it forward by founding their own companies. Working in an entrepreneurial environment at a young age at Glen Research gave me insights into that “founder mentality” – the belief in and knowledge of what it takes to create and grow a company.

I think the fearlessness instilled in me by my parents and those entrepreneurs, as well as my authenticity and genuineness, resonates well with my colleagues at MaxCyte. I am a passionate and emotional person who sometimes wears his heart on his sleeve. I've learned to accept that because it’s who I am. I encourage others to be true to themselves as well and not be afraid to speak up, as there are no dumb ideas in this organization. Fear should not dictate how we make decisions – I want to ensure that someone with the knowledge and the skillset doesn't feel intimidated by a situation or the environment. There are many ideas that can come from many different people, and all are and will be valued.

Describe a valuable lesson you learned early in your career.

There are actually two things I learned early on – process improvement and patience. I worked in retail while going to college, and listening to customers and providing good service were paramount. Ensuring that our customers received the products and services they needed required organization – having processes in place so that the departments could continually function efficiently and on time. This was critical to the company’s success.

At Glen Research, the leadership team saw my potential to take on a much more significant role in management within the company. I quickly learned that this does not happen overnight; there is a process and method to advancing your career. First, you must believe in your worth, show it, and ultimately be recognized for it. This takes patience and a willingness to prove yourself over and over again.

What attracted you to work in the life sciences industry? To work at MaxCyte?

I’ve always been interested in science – I majored in cell and molecular biology and genetics in college and have provided biotech and pharmaceutical companies with legal counsel during the second part of my career after leaving the bench. Prior to MaxCyte, I had not worked in cell and gene therapy, but it was clear to me about 10 years ago that this was where the science was going. When MaxCyte reached out to me, I was impressed that the company was focused on both providing its platform to therapeutic developers and having willingness to research and develop its own therapy. They had created an electroporation platform used in multiple research applications and were also trying to develop its own therapeutic; this takes courage and a willingness to take on risk which is where great science often originates from. It was apparent that the DNA of the company revolved around science and trying to understand the complexity of cell therapies. That is what drew me in – I could tell there was something special here.

What do you enjoy most about working here?

We are a small, close-knit company – everyone in the organization can learn what other teams are doing, work together so that we can rise above any challenges, share in our common goals, and celebrate our successes. As an operational leader, I want to understand what everyone is working on and how it impacts our customers to see how I can help. I want to ensure that every person in every position has the knowledge, capabilities and support needed to grow within our organization and become a leader. To me, it is important to teach and lead by example.

How do you encourage employees to “think big”? To be innovative?

We truly need to remain curious to understand and know what our customers want and why, especially as the field of cell and gene therapy continues to evolve rapidly in complexity. Since we work so closely with our customers, we are in a unique position to know when they encounter hurdles and help them develop solutions to overcome existing and potential problems. Recognizing these ‘opportunities’ as I prefer to call them, is one of our biggest strategic priorities. We can only get to the bottom of their needs by breeding curiosity and staying current with scientific and technological advances.

Enabling Vertex to manufacture CasgevyTM was a huge milestone for MaxCyte – what’s next on the horizon?

We are working with 26 SPL partners, many of whom are looking to commercialize their products like Vertex. Over the next several years, I hope additional approvals in the cell and gene therapy space will be based on cells being engineered on our platform and edited on our system. It's humbling and inspirational to know that these approvals may help patients with cancer, infectious diseases, autoimmune disorders and rare diseases.

How does MaxCyte raise the bar, so to speak, for the life sciences industry? How can it be extraordinary?

We've had the best-in-class electroporation platform for the past 20 years. Along with that we have a global team of technical application scientists both in headquarters and in the field, engineering, quality and regulatory experts to provide ongoing support and a sales team with a scientific and business mindset. To differentiate ourselves and continue to be extraordinary, we must build on this success so that every solution and tool we provide to our customers is also best-in-class. Because we are all in one location and well capitalized, we have the resources to be nimble and react faster to our customers’ needs than anyone else. Knowing that our customers and their patients come first drives us to find the solutions to meet their needs.