About us

Management Team

Primrose Bio, Inc., is spearheaded by seasoned life sciences leaders, with over 150 years of collective expertise in pioneering and commercializing novel therapeutics, enzymes, and platform technologies. Our team leverages their extensive knowledge in biotherapeutics, from discovery through manufacturing through approval, to expedite and accelerate the development and launch of new biologics. 

CEO | Helge Zieler, PhD

In 2011, Helge founded Primordial Genetics with the goal of building the premier company for genetic improvement of microbes and enzymes used in bio-production. Today as CEO of Primrose, he is pursuing the same goal with a focus on manufacturing of nucleic acids and proteins used in genetic medicines, vaccines, and biotherapeutics. Helge has been an early participant in multiple biotech companies including Synthetic Genomics and Chromatin. He completed his doctorate in yeast molecular genetics at Stanford University and post-doctoral work at the National Institutes of Health.

COO | Diane Retallack, PhD

Diane was a founding member of the team that established the Pfenex Expression Technology® platform, overseeing strain engineering, HTP screening, and upstream development. With over 25 years of experience in molecular biology, protein expression and executive management, she has contributed to multiple therapeutic programs from product conception through commercialization. Diane completed her doctorate at the University of Michigan and post-doctoral work at the University of Wisconsin-Madison.

CBO | Michele Rubino

Michele oversees Primrose’s business and corporate development efforts to drive and deliver value to all the company’s stakeholders. With a career spanning from biotechnology to clean energy, the theme of his professional journey is to turn technologies and ideas into products and value. Michele most recently held leadership roles with Primordial Genetics, Synthetic Genomics, and a clean energy JV between Novozymes and private equity firm TPG. He holds an MBA from the MIT Sloan School of Management as well a MS in Industrial Engineering from the Politecnico di Milano, Italy.

CFO | Simon Latimer

Simon oversees the finance and accounting functions at Primrose Bio. Prior to joining Primrose, he was the head of corporate development and investor relations at Ligand Pharmaceuticals (Nasdaq: LGND) where he led the formation of Primrose via the merger of Pelican Expression Technology and Primordial Genetics. While at Ligand, Simon was instrumental in over $500 million of M&A investments and taking Ligand’s subsidiary OmniAb (Nasdaq: OABI) public with $115 million in financing. He started his career in public accounting at Ernst & Young and holds a Master of Accountancy from the University of Denver.

SVP Process and Analytical Development | Jeff Allen, PhD.

Jeff was also a founding member of the Pfenex team and today oversees process development, analytical, and production at Primrose Bio. A biochemist by training, he brings close to 30 years of industry experience in protein purification, detailed analytical characterization, process scale-up, quality control, and CMC regulatory interactions. Jeff’s development work and leadership has contributed to the success of a wide range of protein-based products and therapeutics. He completed his doctoral work at Utah State University.

Board of Directors


Board of Directors


Matt Korenberg
President, Ligand Pharmaceuticals;
previously Goldman Sachs

Jamie Levine
CFO, Cidara Therapeutics; previously Cidara Therapeutics, Sapphire Energy, Verenium, Goldman Sachs


J. Todd Mitchell
Founder & President, Two Seven Ventures

Wes Kaupinen
CEO, Palvella Therapeutics; previously Insmed, Quaker Partners

Chairman, President, and CEO
BioAtla LLC

Strategic Advisor

Keck Graduate Institute

Pharmaceutical Industry Advisor