(Photo Credit: Bre Cameron)

Kite Hosts Cell Therapy Hiring Event at Growing Frederick, Maryland Facility

Kite, a Gilead Company, opened the doors to its state-of-the-art cell therapy manufacturing facility in Frederick, Maryland to give the local life sciences community a look inside at its 275,000 square feet of operations space and an opportunity to learn more about the company’s mission to cure cancer. 

The “Onsite at Kite” event, which was held on World Lymphoma Awareness Day, featured networking opportunities, a facility tour, and panel discussion with site leadership, during which job seekers and industry professionals learned about Kite’s patient focus in manufacturing. 

Naren Kadaba, Vice President of Manufacturing and Site Head at the Frederick facility, kicked off the event.

“Cell therapy manufacturing is a unique and highly scientific process. Our products are not mass produced. It is a ‘made-to-order’ process where we engineer a patient’s own cells to treat their cancer. And what that means for us is that each batch represents a patient. Having the opportunity to meet the demand for CAR T to address the critical unmet needs of people living with difficult-to-treat blood cancers is personal,” Kadaba said. 

Kadaba then showed a powerful patient video that had a visible emotional impact on the panelists and attendees, driving home the importance of Kite’s mission to cure cancer and how the work at the Frederick site directly impacts people’s lives.

Following the video, Trushar Agrawal, Senior Director, Head of Manufacturing, spoke to why the work done at the Frederick facility is so urgently needed: “Currently, Kite has a median 16-day turnaround from leukapheresis (which is the process when a patient’s blood is collected) to product release in the U.S. This is important because the patients we treat are very ill and have the potential for rapid disease progression.”

“Every person that works here has a direct impact on our patients. Whether you work in our clean rooms, in the warehouse, the QC labs, in facilities or at a desk… it requires a commitment to the patient. When we think about expanding our team, we are looking for technicians, engineers, chemists, biologists, and facilities to name a few. But what we are really looking for are passionate people, problem solvers, with a good attitude,” he shared with the audience. 

Kadaba then moderated a lively and engaging panel discussion that included site experts from manufacturing, supply chain, facilities & engineering, quality, and manufacturing sciences and technology. The panel discussed a wide range of topics including the importance of Kite’s mission, the type of cell therapy work conducted at the site and the associated roles. Kite’s work culture and professional development and training opportunities available within the company were also discussed.

After the panel, Kite team members provided tours of the facility to small groups as the remaining attendees enjoyed great food, networked, and mingled with the Kite talent team, panelists and fellow job seekers. 

Shaima Akhlaq, an event attendee, shared her reason for attending and what she thought of the “Onsite at Kite” event: “I am a recent graduate and I’m looking for a career in CAR T therapy. This was a great event and I think being able to meet people at Kite in person is so much better than talking to recruiters on the phone. I’m very thankful to Kite for hosting and BioBuzz for sponsoring the event and giving students and people like me this opportunity,” she said.

Candice Collins, another event attendee, stated, “I’ve heard great things about Kite. The pull of Kite is that you can be in the business of helping someone and completely change their health and their life like we saw in the patient video.”

“My experience is in QA on the vaccine side and I wanted to see what that role was like in cell therapy. Plus, I was curious to see the facility and take a tour. The facility is just gorgeous,” she added. 

The “Onsite at Kite” event was a resounding success for the Frederick site team, the Kite hiring team and the many job seekers that came to learn more about Kite’s mission to treat and potentially cure cancer and how they could play an important role in that goal. 

To learn more or to apply for an open role, please visit kitepharma.com/careers.