5 Questions with Jason Bosiacki, Associate Director, Manufacturing Operations at NextCure

“5 Questions With…” is a recurring BioBuzz series where we reach out to interesting people to share a little about themselves, their work, and maybe something completely unrelated. This week we welcome Jason Bosiacki, Associate Director, Manufacturing Operations at NextCure, a biotech company in Beltsville, MD that is developing first-in-class immunomedicines to treat cancer and other diseases.

1) Please introduce yourself to our audience by looking back at your education, training, and career.

I received my bachelor’s degree in biology with a minor in chemistry from Frostburg State University. I have been in the biotech industry for 12 years now, having spent most of that time in R&D, primarily immunology and in the manufacturing of biologics, making monoclonal antibodies and fusions proteins. I have worked in many roles during my journey, from being a lab technician, materials manager, manufacturing associate, lab manager and presently in manufacturing operations.

Having worked in my various roles over the past 12 years has helped me to better understand the big picture, realizing that no matter your role, you are ultimately a member of a team, working together to accomplish a common goal and are critical for the success of the company. At NextCure, that goal is providing treatments to patients who wouldn’t otherwise have any or very few treatment options.

2) You have been with NextCure since 2016 and have worked in six different roles there over the span of six years. Can you talk about how you progressed into more senior roles at the company and how NextCure generally supports the vertical movement of its employees?

Having been with NextCure since its startup days, I have had the opportunity to gain experience in many areas outside of my expertise. As a startup we are focused on accomplishing our goal as quickly as possible, building the value of the company and getting novel therapies to patients. To do this we sometimes need to step into roles outside of our normal job description and fill gaps to get the job done.

The chance to step up and volunteer provides tremendous opportunity to grow as a professional. There are always going to be new projects that need volunteers to oversee them, assays and experiments that have deadlines that need to be met, and planning that needs to be done in order to continue corporate expansion. I think one of the key elements to my success here has been filling those roles and gaps and finding solutions to problems.

RELATED: In Conversation: Shannon Biermann, Senior Quality Control Manager – Microbiology at NextCure

Indeed, learning is probably the most critical element for vertical movement. Know your job and everyone else’s, as you never know when you might need to step up and help or what information and skillsets are going to help you down the road. NextCure strives for excellence, whether it’s preparation of presentation materials, providing a justification for buying new equipment, drafting technical reports, or execution of research and discovery experiments. The management team here challenges its employees to be the best versions of themselves. After all, cancer and other diseases have a tremendous head start, and it going to take a tremendous effort to beat them.

3) What are some core values or takeaways the company has imbued into you during your six-year tenure?

There are several core values that I have observed during my time at NextCure:

  1. Focus on real-time communication throughout the organization
  2. Emphasis on speed and agility, empowering team members to make decisions quickly
  3. Investment in professional development, which ultimately makes the company stronger
  4. A strong commitment to advancing therapies for patients in need

In the end this is a key reason why we work so hard. These values really work synergistically to help build up not only the individual employee but also the organization.

Communication is key, whether sending an email or stopping by in person, making sure all relevant departments are represented and informed can save you a lot of time on the back end and can often prevent having to make last minute corrections. The need for quick decision making usually comes unexpectedly, so it’s best to be prepared and always know all your options. NextCure believes in promoting from within and strongly emphasizes the importance of learning and opportunity within the company. Whether by its open-door policy, professional development training, or promotion of professional networking, it’s a great place to work where opportunity is abundant.

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4) Having experienced so much vertical growth over on the team, what are some tips you would recommend to someone just starting out in an entry-level life science position such as a research associate or lab tech?

Be curious and ask questions – lots of questions. If you aren’t sure about something being discussed in a meeting, look it up. Learning is investing in yourself. It’s invaluable and you will carry it with you forever. Volunteer often and frequently, regardless of experience, and do what it takes to get the job done. Many times performing remedial tasks or things outside your normal job description feels like a distraction, but this builds new skillsets and makes you invaluable for an organization building your own value as a member of team and making you a critical team member throughout the organization.

5) If you had to pick one beverage to drink for the rest of your life what would it be and why?

Probably sweet tea. I’m from Florida and this is something I grew up on. It’s a tolerable mixture of water, caffeine and sugar