Gilead names new manufacturing head in wake of recent hiccups

Stacey Ma

Gilead Sciences, which has been in the headlines recently for layoffs and recalls due to glass shards, has named a new head to its manufacturing operations.

Stacey Ma, who was previously the head of technical operations at Sana Biotechnology based in California, will be Gilead’s new executive vice president for pharmaceutical development and manufacturing, the company said. Additionally, Ma becomes part of the senior leadership team, reporting directly to Daniel O’Day, chair and chief executive.

Ma replaces Taiyin Yang, who is retiring after working at Gilead for nearly 30 years.

“Stacey has an impressive track record in the formulation and manufacture of medicines from pre-IND through commercialization,” O’Day said in a statement. “Under Stacey’s leadership, and as we continue to diversify our portfolio, I am confident that Gilead will maintain a global reputation for excellence in the development, manufacture and supply of medicines.”

Ma’s hire comes on the heels of the FDA signaling an all-clear in May for Gilead to resume studies of its investigational HIV med lenacapavir following recent glass compatibility issues.

The regulatory agency began clamping down on 10 lenacapavir studies in December 2021, citing concerns about the compatibility of the drug with the borosilicate vials it was being stored in. The combination had the potential to create “sub-visible” glass particles in the lenacapavir solution.

Ma’s hiring also supports Gilead’s plans to focus more of its manufacturing on the West Coast versus the East Coast. In March, the company announced it inked a deal for 27 acres of undeveloped land near its existing facility in Oceanside, California, which will be used for expanded manufacturing facilities.

At the same time, Gilead disclosed in a New Jersey Worker Adjustment and Retraining Notification notice that it was planning to lay off more than 100 workers at Immunomedics’ former headquarters in Morris Plains, New Jersey.