Innovation in Cell Therapy: The Perspective from Brazil with Hugo Cabrera


Hugo Cabrera is a biotech entrepreneur with a passion for research and development and innovation in the field of Advanced Therapy Medicinal Products (ATMPs) including cell therapy and tissue engineering.

Hugo is currently Director of Business Development for Techlife, a clinical-stage biotech company, part of the São Lucas Cell Therapy Group. The São Lucas Cell Therapy Group is a 47-year-old privately held company with nationwide operations in the fields of hematology, hemotherapy, oncology, cell therapy, cancer research and cellular technology.

Hugo also serves as Founder of HMCell, which provides contract and consulting services to academic researchers, industry and investors with its focus being the commercialization of cell and gene therapies, and regenerative medicine technologies.

Before entering the biotech field, Hugo held various positions in strategy and marketing as well as supply chain management.

In this episode, Hugo and Mark discuss topics including:

Hugo’s compelling personal story – starting in Peru and the U.S. (Maryland and Massachusetts in particular) and his current work in Brazil while also working closely with the biotech ecosystem in Massachusetts. 

How Hugo decided to focus on biotech and also his specialty, cell therapy using patients’ own cells to develop therapeutics with a focus on cartilage implantation.

Hugo’s experience as a translator between scientists who are working on biotech and cell therapy and investors who are interested in these therapies. Such a translator role is not easy – Hugo discusses which skills are necessary to do that effectively and how he developed and continues to sharpen them.

Hugo’s advice for others who may have a research background as a PhD or a Postdoc who are thinking about career opportunities in venture capital.

This dynamic time in Brazil for government regulation in biotech.

Hugo’s activities in “deep tech” – research still being done in university labs that may hold commercialization potential but will need more nurturing as it’s not as mature, or as far down the “translation curve” from lab to commercial application.

Hugo’s advice for researchers interested in translating their science for the commercial market.

The situation in Brazil with many Brazilians suffering because of the COVID-19 pandemic, and Hugo’s goals coming out of the pandemic.

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