Cytiva will continue to drive continuous improvement in the bioprocess space says Christopher Riley, taking over from Emmanuel Ligner as head of Danaher’s Biotechnology business.

Dan Stanton, Managing editor

January 2, 2024

4 Min Read
Christopher Riley takes the reins at Cytiva

A new year and a new exec at Cytiva, the bioprocess division of life sciences magnate Danaher Corporation. Christopher Riley has moved from Danaher’s genomics medicine business to take over from Cytiva president and CEO Emmanuel Ligner.

After 19 years in the business, Ligner announced he was stepping down in a LinkedIn post from November last year, stating it was “the right time to pass on the leadership reins of Cytiva.”

He added: “A leader knows the way, goes the way, and shows the way. I could not be prouder of the company we have built and the passion my colleagues bring to our work every day. I’m excited to see Chris take this company to the next level.”

Over the past few years, Cytiva – previously the Life Sciences division of GE Healthcare – has grown its presence in the bioprocess space, accelerated by its acquisition by Danaher, and last year’s amalgamation with fellow bioprocess vendor Pall.

Thus, BioProcess Insider spoke with Riley to discuss both Ligner’s legacy and his own plans for Cytiva’s continued growth:

BioProcess Insider (BPI): How do you view the state of Cytiva within the bioprocess space as you take over the reins?

Christopher Riley (CR): Cytiva is a strong business with enormous potential. The team is well down the path on delivering the enhanced customer value of combining the capabilities of the legacy Cytiva and legacy Pall Life Sciences organizations, proving these two teams are truly better together. The combined organization is incredibly talented, and I’m impressed by their unwavering commitment to Cytiva’s mission to advance and accelerate therapeutics.  As I watched Cytiva take shape as a new organization within Danaher, I really admired what this team has accomplished. Cytiva has the leading set of capabilities, technologies, and solutions to serve customers like no other.

BPI: Any comment regarding the work of your predecessor and what you might have learnt from him?

(CR): I have enjoyed being Emmanuel Ligner’s colleague in Danaher Leadership team meetings over the past three years. We both think similarly about our obligations to customers and the patients they serve. Emmanuel and I both have tremendous passion to deliver on Danaher’s responsibilities to our associates as well as to the environment. 

During his seven years as CEO, Emmanuel led the company through several changes – transforming from GE Healthcare Life Sciences to become Cytiva, during a pandemic no less, to building a more capable business by combining with Pall Life Sciences.  I look forward to working with Emmanuel during January and February to learn as much as possible about the Cytiva business and to ensure a seamless leadership transition.

BPI: In the current macroeconomic climate, what do you need to do to keep Cytiva in the robust position it’s in?

(CR): Regardless of the business climate, we are going to stay true to the Cytiva mission of advancing and accelerating therapeutics.  The 15,000 Cytiva associates live this mission every day.  I have no doubt that this team will stay intensely focused on the needs of our customers.  We are also going to stay intensely focused on our improvement priorities.  The Cytiva team has been successfully using the Danaher Business System to drive continuous improvement for a few years now.  We simply want to be the best biotechnology partner for our customers. 

BPI: In such a consolidated space and with the integration of Pall completed, how are you hoping to grow Cytiva further going forward?

(CR): Cytiva has developed robust growth and innovation strategies, and I don’t anticipate these changing materially in the foreseeable future. Cytiva offers the broadest and deepest biologics manufacturing and service offerings for pharma, biotech, and translational customers. That breadth and depth allows us to bring a unique combination of speed and productivity to our customers, helping them get therapies to market faster with less risk. We are confident this is the right strategy, and we will continue investing to strengthen our capabilities. Also, this team is very clear on what we need to do to deliver on our sustainability commitments. While we have much to do, we are really excited about what we have accomplished so far.

BPI: You come from the Genomic Medicines space. Will this be a factor in your growth plans for the company?

(CR): Yes, I most recently led Danaher’s Genomic Medicines Group which includes both Aldevron and Integrated DNA Technologies.  We are incredibly excited about the curative power of these advanced therapies, and Danaher and Cytiva have been actively investing in this space.  So, yes, Genomic Medicine will definitely be a factor in our growth plans.  Cytiva has capabilities across a number of modalities and our growth plans will include helping our customers innovate novel therapies but also continue delivering established therapies more efficiently.

About the Author(s)

Dan Stanton

Managing editor

Journalist covering the international biopharmaceutical manufacturing and processing industries.

Founder and editor of Bioprocess Insider, a daily news offshoot of publication Bioprocess International, with expertise in the pharmaceutical and healthcare sectors, in particular, the following niches: CROs, CDMOs, M&A, IPOs, biotech, bioprocessing methods and equipment, drug delivery, regulatory affairs and business development.

From London, UK originally but currently based in Montpellier, France through a round-a-bout adventure that has seen me live and work in Leeds (UK), London, New Zealand, and China.

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