About PhoenixSongs Biologicals

Richard Malavarca, President

Co-founder of PhoenixSongs, Richard Malavarca has principal responsibility for the development and production of media formulations to support novel in house stem cell based model systems as well as client interactions with other customers to develop stem cell media components on a contract basis.

Mr. Malavarca brings over 30 years of experience in research and product development in both academic and commercial laboratories including Harvard medical school, the Roche institute, and Merck. Mr. Malavarca founded Specialty Media (now a part of Millipore), which was the first company to introduce commercial media for Murine embryos as well as Murine embryonic stem cells. In addition, he was co-founder of Cell and Molecular Technologies (now a part of Life Technologies), a CRO which developed animal models, cell lines, and supplied ready to use cells to pharmaceutical companies for cell based high throughput screening. Upon the sale of his companies, Mr. Malavarca was Director of R&D for the stem cell product area at Millipore and most recently director of expression technologies developing novel upstream products for Millipore’s Bioprocess division.

Mr. Malavarca received his BS in biology from Boston College.

Marsha Roach, Executive Vice President

Co-founder of PhoenixSongs, Marsha Roach leads a scientific team to develop stem cell-derived cellular model by isolating stem/progenitor cells from multiple human tissues, including but not limited to liver, biliary tree, brain, umbilical cord, and then differentiating them into functionally mature cell types for research and drug discovery. Ms. Roach manages external partnerships with many of the leading pharmaceutical companies, Contract Research Organizations, other biotech companies and academic collaborators to develop these stem cell-derived model systems and validate function compared to gold standard assays.

During her 14-year tenure at Pfizer, she pioneered the use of stem cell-derived cell types in drug discovery. Ms. Roach developed the first stem cell-derived neural model that was used in an industry-first high throughput screen that screened 2.4 million small molecules which resulted in the discovery of novel small molecule AMPA type glutamate receptor potentiators. In addition Ms Roach lead a research team in producing ES cell-derived hepatocytes that were functionally indistinguishable from primary hepatocytes in drug metabolism assays.

While at Pfizer, Ms Roach also had an Adjunct Faculty position with Dr. Jerry Yang at the Center for Regenerative Biology, University of Connecticut. In this position Ms Roach taught stem cell technology to graduate students, post doctoral fellows and faculty. Embryonic stem cell lines were isolated from mouse, rabbit and bovine blastocyst stage embryos.

Ms Roach earned her Bachelor of Science and Master of Science degrees from the University of Illinois in the area of animal science, molecular embryology and developmental biology. While earning her Master’s degree, she also worked as a Research Specialist managing an embryology laboratory. 

Lola M. Reid, PhD, Founder and Chief Scientific Officer

Founder of PhoenixSongs, Dr. Reid has more than 30 years of experience in doing cell and molecular biological studies on differentiated epithelial cells in culture, on matrix biology and chemistry, proteoglycan/glycosaminoglycan biology and chemistry, and on stem cell biology particularly of murine, rat and human livers, human biliary tree tissues and, most recently, human pancreas.

Dr. Reid and associates have published the first reports of the identification, isolation (by immunoselection technologies) and establishment in culture under wholly defined conditions of rodent hepatoblasts, rodent hepatic stellate cell precursors, human hepatic stem cells and hepatoblasts, and most recently, biliary tree stem cells and pancreatic progenitors.

The biliary tree stem cells are multipotent and give rise to liver, biliary tree and to pancreas in a process that increasingly suggests ongoing organogenesis of liver and pancreas throughout life. The precursors located entirely within the pancreas are, in fact, committed progenitors.In addition, Dr. Reid and associates have established serum-free, hormonally defined media and defined matrix substrata for cultures of these cells and their native mesenchymal cell partners (angioblasts, endothelial cells, stellate cells).

Her background and experience establish Dr. Reid as a though leader in the areas of endodermal stem cell populations, lineage biology in liver, biliary tree and pancreas and 2-dimensional and 3-dimensional cultures of differentiated cells under wholly defined conditions