About BIOQUAL, Inc.

BIOQUAL, Inc. (BIOQUAL) was established in 1981 to perform contract research services focused on in vivo models of human diseases.  Our models span a wide range of prevalent infectious diseases including (among others) COVID-19, influenza, RSV, HIV, Zika, Dengue, Malaria, MRSA and Mpox. BIOQUAL specializes in delivering individually tailored models for current and emerging diseases. These services also encompass sample processing and custom assays for serology, cell-mediated immunity, viral loads, and bacterial enumeration. In addition to infectious diseases, our model services now include syngeneic mouse tumor allograft and select human cell line derived xenograft (CDX) models, and we now offer GLP-compliant preclinical testing services in various small animal models. Our laboratories and vivarium are available for level 3 biocontainment, including studies of Select Agents. Service offerings are focused on meeting client needs regardless of animal model or specific disease type and delivery of downstream expertise throughout the process.

BIOQUAL’s laboratories are actively involved in the evaluation of vaccines, vaccine therapeutics, microbicides, and drug therapies. In vitro services are available for evaluation of immunologic, virologic, and molecular parameters. These services include sample processing, virus stock generation, quantitation of infectious virus, virus neutralization assays, hemagglutination inhibition assay, quantitative PCR, antigen and antibody ELISA detection assays, flow cytometry, lymphocyte proliferation, and other cell-based assays.

Leadership Team

Mark Lewis, PhD – President / Chief Executive Officer

Dr. Mark Lewis received his Bachelor of Arts in Biology and chemistry from Ohio Wesleyan University (Delaware, OH) and both his Master of Science and PhD in Virology from Ohio State University (Columbus, OH). His thesis and dissertation focused on feline leukemia vaccine development and virus pathogenesis in cats. In 1988, Dr. Lewis became an employee of Southern Research Institute and was contracted to work at the U.S. Army Medical Research Institute for Infectious Diseases (USAMRIID) in Frederick, MD. In 1991, the SIV animal models group working at USAMRIID was transferred to the H. M. Jackson Foundation in Rockville, MD, where the focus of the group was changed to vaccine development and pathogenesis studies. In 1998, Dr. Lewis joined the Infectious Disease Research Division at Southern Research Institute Frederick in Frederick, MD and became the manager of the Animal Models/Vaccine Research Department.
In 2003, Dr. Lewis joined BIOQUAL, Inc. as the Vice President of Bioresearch. He was promoted to Executive Vice President in 2008, to President in 2010, and to CEO in 2013. He has 35+ years of experience with a research focus in the development and utilization of nonhuman primate models for AIDS for testing vaccines and therapeutics. In his current role, he is responsible for overseeing the ongoing operations of all divisions and for providing general scientific oversight and resource management throughout the company.

Mitch Franklin, MBA – Chief Operating Officer

Mr. Franklin received his Bachelor of Arts in Economics from University of Maryland and his MBA in Government Contracting from George Washington University. He has 33+ years of experience with managing and administrating civilian, DoD, and NIH contracts.
In 2012, Mr. Franklin joined BIOQUAL, Inc. as the Vice President of Operations and was promoted to Chief Operating Officer in 2015. He provides leadership to our Human Resources, IT, Contracts and Facilities Operations teams. In his current role, he oversees the daily business and administrative operations of the company.

Hanne Andersen Elyard, PhD – Chief Scientific Officer

Dr. Andersen Elyard received her Bachelor of Science in Biology from Northwestern State University (Natchitoches, Louisiana) and her PhD in Microbiology from Louisiana State University, Shreveport (Shreveport, LA). Her dissertation focused on characterizing the antigen-specific CD8+ T cell populations generated in the spleen and draining lymph node following herpes simplex virus type 1 (HSV-1) infection of the hind footpads of C57BL/6 mice. After completing her PhD, she served as a postdoctoral fellow at the AIDS Vaccine Program at NCI (Frederick, MD) where she worked on several projects utilizing a SIV rhesus macaque model. Among these, she characterized
rhesus macaque NK function, generated rhesus macaque dendritic cells for use as a prophylactic vaccine for SIV and helped to develop and characterize SIV-specific T cell lines for infusion into SIV infected macaques.
In 2006, Dr. Andersen Elyard joined BIOQUAL, Inc. as a Staff Scientist. She was promoted to Research Director in 2011, to Vice President of Science in 2018, and then to Chief Scientific Officer in 2022. She has 20+ years of experience with pre-clinical animal models for infectious diseases. Dr. Andersen Elyard spearheaded the establishment of BIOQUAL’s influenza virus program. She also led the efforts that resulted in offering models for a variety of virus disease models in nonhuman primates, including Chikungunya, Zika, and Dengue. In her current role, Dr. Andersen Elyard serves as the PI on several of BIOQUAL, Inc.’s government contracts and oversees a team of nine PhD-level scientists. She also provides guidance and support on all scientific aspects of the company.

Chris Kirk, CPA – Chief Financial Officer

Mr. Kirk received his Bachelor of Science in Accounting/Finance from the University of Maryland. He is a licensed CPA.
In 2021, Mr. Kirk joined BIOQUAL, Inc. as the Director of Finance & Accounting. He was promoted to Chief Financial Officer in 2022. He has 30+ years of accounting experience. In his current role, he is responsible for managing and leading the financial initiatives of the Company and serving in a strategic advisory role for the CEO and C-suite peers. He also provides commercial insight and leadership across the business to exceed business plan targets.

Swagata Kar, PhD – Vice President, Preclinical Models and Services

Dr. Swagata Kar received her Bachelor of Science in Microbiology and Master of Science in Zoology (Molecular Biology) from University of Pune, India, and her PhD in immunology from Uniformed Services University of Health Sciences (Bethesda, MD). Her PhD thesis research project focused on determining the mechanism of innate and humoral immune responses to polysaccharide, protein and bacterial antigens, and vaccines in mouse model of Streptococcus pneumoniae. She then transitioned to studying cancer immunotherapy using rodent tumor models, as a postdoctoral fellow, at the Vaccine Branch, Center for Cancer Research, National Cancer Institute at Frederick. Prior to her PhD, she served as a Research Fellow at National Institute of Virology, India, and later worked as a Biologist in the Lab of Malaria Immunology, NIAID, NIH.
In 2016, Dr. Kar joined BIOQUAL, Inc. as a Staff Scientist. She was promoted to Research Director in 2020 and then to Vice President, Preclinical Models and Services in early 2023. She has 15+ years of experience with preclinical animal models and immunoassays. Dr. Kar has been actively working on introducing and establishing new animal models of cancer and infectious diseases for preclinical testing at BIOQUAL, Inc. She has also served as subject matter expert, consultant, or co-investigator on various collaborative grant submissions. In her current role, she is responsible for identifying new business avenues, managing the overall research operations of the preclinical testing utilizing small animal models, and the associated in vitro testing.

Salih Muhammad, DVM, MBA – Vice President, In Vivo Operations & Corporate Strategy

Dr. Muhammad received his Bachelor of Science in Animal and Poultry Science from Tuskegee University (Tuskegee, AL), his Doctor of Veterinary Medicine (DVM) from Tuskegee University College of Veterinary Medicine (Tuskegee, AL), his American College of Laboratory Animal Medicine (ACLAM) certification, and his MBA from Northeastern University (Boston, MA). He has 15+ years of experience in preclinical research working with species ranging from small animals (rodents, ferrets, guinea pigs, and rabbits) to nonhuman primates and has also helped to test and develop numerous animal models, vaccines, and therapeutics.
In 2008, Dr. Muhammad joined BIOQUAL, Inc. as Assistant Director with a primary focus on clinical animal care, animal model development, and regulatory support. He was promoted to Senior Director of Corporate Strategy in 2017 and then to Vice President of In Vivo Operations and Corporate Strategy in 2019. In his current role, he is responsible for leading the in vivo operations team in meeting current and emerging research opportunities, maintaining both regulatory and accrediting body expectations of standards, developing and executing cohesive strategic initiatives across functional units, and cultivating relationships across myriad stakeholders to create lasting partnerships.

Jim Treece, MBA – Vice President of Operations

Mr. Treece received his Bachelor of Science in Wildlife Management and MBA in Business Administration from Frostburg State University (Frostburg, MD). Mr. Treece is LATG certified and has 25+ years of experience in the bioresearch industry. Prior to joining BIOQUAL, he served as the Director of Veterinary Services at Advanced Bioscience Laboratories, Inc for 5 years.
In 2014, Mr. Treece joined BIOQUAL, Inc. as a Facility Director. He was promoted to Business Operations Officer in 2019 and then to Vice President of Operations in 2022. In his current role, he is responsible for operational aspects of client studies, annual capital budget allocations, facility management, and oversight of government contract deliverables. He has also implemented several In Vivo laboratory Animal Management Software systems.

BIOQUAL’s Commitment to Animal Welfare

Animals have contributed to many medical breakthroughs in recent history and play an essential role in the development of life-saving drugs, vaccines, and therapies. BIOQUAL, Inc. is committed to ensuring the ethical, humane, and compassionate treatment of animals in research whenever no suitable alternatives are available.

Standards of Ethical and Humane Treatment

Animal models are a necessary component of BIOQUAL’s mission to provide innovative research support for improved global health. To ensure ethical and humane treatment, BIOQUAL is committed to the following:

  • Having a duly constituted Institutional Animal Care and Use Committee (IACUC) that is qualified through the experience and expertise of its members to ensure that all research and teaching protocols using live vertebrate animals are designed and performed in a humane manner that complies with all applicable laws, polices, and guidelines
  • Fostering a culture of recognition and appreciation for the role of animals in research for all staff
  • Incorporating the 3R’s of animal research (Replacement, Reduction, and Refinement) to constantly seek to improve our program of animal care
  • Maintaining the highest standards of animal care and use through a collaborative approach involving veterinarians, scientists and animal support staff

Accreditations and Registrations

BIOQUAL is committed to the welfare of all animals we work with in research. BIOQUAL continues to meet the expectations of industry oversight bodies, and hold the following:

  • Accreditation with the Association for Assessment and Accreditation of Laboratory Animal Care (AAALAC)
  • Office of Laboratory Animal Welfare (OLAW) Assurance
    Registered U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) Class R Research Facility