Leading our cell therapy efforts across BioPharmaceuticals R&D, I am responsible for the research and early development of cell therapy-based projects across cardiovascular, renal, metabolic, respiratory and immunological diseases.

In this role, I oversee the strategic direction of the newly-formed cell therapy department as we build our capabilities both internally and through collaborations.

Prior to joining AstraZeneca in 2019, I helped to build five start-up companies in the cell therapy area into successful international businesses. Most recently I was Chief Scientific Officer at the Cell and Gene Therapy Catapult in London, a high-profile innovation centre established by the UK Government, and previously held similar positions at Cellectis, Cellartis, SQC Lab and Vitrolife.

I am also a Professor of Engineering Biology in the Department of Physics, Chemistry and Biology at Linköping University in Sweden and have published more than 60 peer reviewed articles.

Cell therapy-based products offer much promise as next-generation medicines. Our aim is to bring to patients cell-based therapies that have the potential to halt or reverse the damage caused by some of the most complex diseases.

Johan Hyllner Senior Director and Head of Cell Therapy, BioPharmaceuticals R&D

CURRENT ROLE

Senior Director and Head of Cell Therapy, BioPharmaceuticals R&D

2015

Organised Royal Society Scientific discussion meeting alongside Professor Sir Ian Wilmut and Professor Chris Mason on the topic of ‘Cells: from Robert Hooke to Cell Therapy – a 350 year journey’.

2013

Became Chief Scientific Officer at the Cell and Gene Therapy Catapult in London, UK, helping to build the organisation into a group of 230 specialists in cell and gene therapy with a proven impact on development.

2012

Appointed Professor of Engineering Biology in Engineering Sciences at Linköping University, Sweden.

Featured publications

On-chip in vitro cell-network pre-clinical cardiac toxicity using spatiotemporal human cardiomyocyte measurement on a chip.

Kaneko T, Nomura F, Hyllner J, et al. On-chip in vitro cell-network pre-clinical cardiac toxicity using spatiotemporal human cardiomyocyte measurement on a chip. Sci Rep. 2014 Apr 22;4:4670. 

Screening ethnically diverse human embryonic stem cells identifies a chromosome 20 minimal amplicon conferring growth advantage.

International Stem Cell Initiative, Amps K, Andrews PW, et al. Screening ethnically diverse human embryonic stem cells identifies a chromosome 20 minimal amplicon conferring growth advantage. Nat Biotechnol. 2011;29(12):1132-1144. Published 2011 Nov 27. doi:10.1038/nbt.2051

Characterization of human embryonic stem cell lines by the International Stem Cell Initiative.

International Stem Cell Initiative, Adewumi O, Aflatoonian B, et al. Characterization of human embryonic stem cell lines by the International Stem Cell Initiative. Nat Biotechnol. 2007;25(7):803-816. doi:10.1038/nbt1318

Human embryonic stem cells have a unique epigenetic signature.

Bibikova M, Chudin E, Hyllner J, Wu B, et al. Human embryonic stem cells have a unique epigenetic signature. Genome Res. 2006;16(9):1075-1083. doi:10.1101/gr.5319906

Genomic alterations in cultured human embryonic stem cells.

Maitra A, Arking DE, Shivapurkar N, Hyllner J, et al. Genomic alterations in cultured human embryonic stem cells. Nat Genet. 2005;37(10):1099-1103. doi:10.1038/ng1631