Collectively, Benchmark personnel are responsible for dozens of issued patents, hundreds of USDA and FDA approved products and facilities, and many groundbreaking technology introductions.
The Benchmark management team has years of experience with multinational biological and pharmaceutical companies, and can be seen in numerous industry and government boards, working groups, and steering committees.
Timothy J. Miller, PhD (CSO)
Dr. Miller is one of the leading experts in biological development, having earned his PhD in Microbiology from the University of Kansas in 1979. Following a postdoctoral assignment to the McArdle Oncology Institute at the University of Wisconsin, he joined Armos Corporation in 1981. Armos was a biotechnology start-up seeking to apply emerging molecular biology technology to opportunities in the agricultural arena. Miller joined the SmithKline Animal Health organization in 1982, where he led a team of scientists creating novel veterinary vaccines through molecular biology. His team was extraordinarily successful and productive. Dr. Miller and his team are responsible for over 30 patents, and Dr. Miller developed the world’s first rDNA subunit commercialized into a licensed product (Litterguard®). Success in that endeavor led to increasing responsibility within SmithKline Beecham, serving as Director of SKB’s Molecular Biology group and primary liaison with the corporate legal team charged with building a comprehensive patent estate and initiating key technologies in the organization. Following Pfizer’s acquisition of SKB’s animal health business, Miller led their Virology and Process Development groups until leaving in 1996 to start Benchmark Biolabs. Dr. Miller was also Chairman of the redrafting of the Summary Information Format (SIF) used by the USDA for evaluating recombinant DNA-derived vaccine and immunotherapeutic candidates. The insights into developing technologies, intellectual property and application to commercial product offer an unique combination of core expertise that is immediately applicable to clients seeking direction for their technology.
Mary Ann Pfannenstiel, PhD (Laboratory Services)
Dr. Pfannenstiel earned her PhD in Phytopathology and Biochemistry from the University of Wisconsin in 1980. She served in teaching and research roles at the University of Nebraska and at Swarthmore College before heading the Analytical Microbiology Department at SmithKline Beecham Animal Health in 1991. Dr. Pfannenstiel joined Benchmark shortly after its founding in 1996. She developed the enabling technology that led to Advent®, one of the first fully licensed and USDA-approved vaccine products to emerge from a client-supported Benchmark effort. She also developed the fermentation product Lactrol®, which is used as an inhibitor of unwanted bacterial growth during fermentation, a skill proven valuable during selection of genetically modified organisms during scale-up. Because of her breadth of understanding of USDA and FDA development paths, and because of her analytical skills, Benchmark’s laboratory operations have grown steadily. Industrial clients and government regulators have praised the novelty of systems that Dr. Pfannenstiel’s team has developed to assure that generated data is of the highest quality and is delivered on time and on budget.
Paul J. Blotkamp (Manufacturing)
Mr. Blotkamp earned his MS in Microbiology in 1979 from the University of Kansas. His early career (1974-1981) involved research into the feasibility of manufacturing specialty chemicals from renewable resources. After research assignments with Midwest Research Institute, Gulf Oil Chemicals and the University of Arkansas, Mr. Blotkamp joined Schering-Plough in 1981. At SP, he was responsible for the production of Alpha 2 Interferon for clinical trials and pre-licensing studies, and he participated in the design and commissioning of the commercial scale plant that continues to manufacture that product today. In 1983, Mr. Blotkamp accepted a position as Production Manager for Solvay Animal Health, where he managed all aspects of production for a $100-million business segment. In 1989, Mr. Blotkamp joined Oxford Laboratories as VP of Manufacturing. A series of acquisitions led to senior manufacturing roles with Upjohn, Bayer and Intervet. In 2002, Mr. Blotkamp joined Benchmark Biolabs and started developing the manufacturing model for clients, as well as process development and capabilities. His work at Benchmark has included the approval of the first plant-made vaccine-manufacturing facility in the world, the first Probiotic IND filing at the FDA and the first “green” poultry vaccine-manufacturing facility.
Madonna Carlson (Regulatory)
Ms. Carlson began her career as a microbiological research technician at the University of Minnesota Department of Veterinary Pathobiology. She then went on to develop diagnostic laboratory methods and swine vaccines for Oxford Veterinary Laboratories. After the acquisition of Oxford Veterinary Laboratories by the Upjohn company, she developed a specialization in the areas of Quality Control and Regulatory Affairs. In 1993 Ms. Carlson joined Solvay Animal Health as Director of Veterinary Biologics Regulatory Affairs. When Wyeth’s Fort Dodge Animal Health Division purchased Solvay Animal Health, she became Director of U. S. Regulatory Affairs for the merged company, and later was named Senior Director of Global Biological Animal Health Regulatory Affairs for Fort Dodge Animal Health. At the same time she served as team leader for reference requalification, and also served on key QA committees for US and International biological product change management. Ms. Carlson headed an independent consulting practice from 2006 until joining Benchmark in 2011.
Ms. Carlson has served as Chairman of the Animal Health Institute Biologics Section Regulatory Committee, and was recently an invited speaker at an Association of Veterinary Biologics conference. She has managed over 100 successful registration and licensing campaigns involving veterinary biological products intended for use in all major domestic animal species, both full and conditional, for the US and export markets. Ms. Carlson is also experienced in autogenous product regulatory and quality issues. Ms. Carlson is an experienced trainer and continues to host various nationally recognized veterinary biologics training seminars throughout the year.
Josh Johnson (General Manager)
Mr. Johnson joined Benchmark Biolabs in 2004, where he began managing Facilities and Site Infrastructure. Projects at this time were centered on internal design and expansion efforts, including process design and planning, equipment sourcing, installation oversight, and the development of continuous maintenance/calibration and other support systems. As a result, Benchmark began offering these services to external clients. Mr. Johnson then assumed lead roles in all client-driven facility and process improvement projects. Mr. Johnson’s work in these areas included the design, construction, licensure, and management of 5 separate facilities, as well as numerous client facility expansions and consultations for similar activities throughout the country. In the following years at Benchmark Mr. Johnson assumed other management roles in Operations, and Business Development. In 2015, after Benchmark joined the AgriLabs® family of companies, Mr. Johnson was selected as General Manager. Mr. Johnson currently serves on the Board of Directors for the Bio Nebraska Life Sciences Association as well as the Iowa Biotechnology Association, and is an active participant on various committees and panels across the biotech industry.