Joseph Raker, Ph.D. – Immunophotonics

Please tell us about your background: where you grew up, studied, and why you chose the field you did.

I was born and raised in Utica, New York where I attended high school at Utica Senior Academy. In 1993, I enrolled at Utica College of Syracuse University, where I received my B.S. in chemistry. After graduating from Utica College in 1997, I enrolled at The Pennsylvania State University, where I worked under the direction of Dr. Timothy Glass. My graduate work was focused on the synthesis of organic-based synthetic receptors for the allosteric recognition of transition metals and dicarboxylates.

Following graduation from Penn State in 2002 with a Ph.D. in organic chemistry, I joined Albany Molecular Research (now Curia), where I worked in the medicinal chemistry department for over 10 years. Also, at Curia, I headed up the project management department at a sterile fill finish facility. At Curia, I was able to combine my experience in organic synthesis and drug product manufacturing.

What does your current position entail? How does it tie into your previous experience, and where is it going?

My position at Immunophotonics is Executive Vice President, CMC. I oversee all aspects of chemical research, production, analytical testing, packaging, and distribution. The CMC department is focused on maintaining consistent clinical supply of our lead compound, IP-001, supporting all regulatory submissions, and continuously expanding the knowledge base of the molecule.

My focus at Immunophotonics has continually evolved and expanded from process design and optimization to analytical method development, then regulatory submissions and clinical supply chain management. As the company continues to advance its lead asset, the CMC department is turning its attention to process scale-up and validation.

In what context did you first learn about light scattering and Wyatt Technology's instruments?

As Immunophotonics’ lead compound, IP-001, is a semi-synthetic carbohydrate polymer, the characterization of the molecular weight characteristics is at the center of its analytical program. As we developed our analytical method, focusing on light-scattering detection, Wyatt quickly emerged as the gold standard in instrumentation and technical/scientific support for our project.

How has your Wyatt instrumentation contributed to your research and development studies?

Our Wyatt light-scattering detector has been a key asset in the characterization of IP-001. Having the instrument in-house has allowed us to explore the properties of IP-001 and optimize a size-exclusion chromatography method that provides consistent data to support the release and stability of our clinical batches.