Gjalt’s career spans the world of synthetic biology broadly, with a track record of developing biological processes for various applications, including commodity chemicals, pharmaceutical manufacture, and therapeutics. He has more than 20 years of experience building highly productive R&D organizations focused on advancing scientific innovation to commercialization.During his career, Gjalt developed both microbial and enzymatic biotechnological processes. First at Metabolix Inc. in Cambridge, MA, where he developed recombinant bacteria for the fermentative production of biodegradable polyesters that were commercialized as bulk plastics and surgical meshes for soft tissue repairs, and later at Maxygen and its spin-out Codexis in Redwood City, CA. At Codexis he led the discovery of enzymes for the commercial-scale manufacture of pharmaceuticals such as atorvastatin (Lipitor®), sitagliptin (Januvia®), and nirmatrelvir (PaxlovidTM). Subsequently, Gjalt initiated and built Codexis’ Biotherapeutics business, leading to a rich pipeline of therapeutic enzymes with two lead programs currently in clinical development.
Throughout his career, Huisman has formulated project, pipeline, and business plans for close to 100 programs, conducted due diligence on technologies and assets, and negotiated business deals potentially worth $300+ million. He joined the Baruch Future Ventures team in 2023, bringing his perspective and expertise to drive innovation and accelerate the commercialization of new technologies.
Gjalt earned his MSc and PhD degrees from the University of Groningen in the Netherlands. He pursued post-doctoral studies at Harvard Medical School and was a visiting scholar at MIT earlier in his career. In his free time, he enjoys hiking the local hills and spending quality time with his family. Gjalt is a visionary scientist and a seasoned business leader whose dedication and passion have helped shape the synthetic biology landscape.