Kite Seeking to Hire Cell Therapy Talent Ahead of Opening Its New Advanced Biomanufacturing Facility in Frederick, Maryland
A year and a half after announcing their plans to build a state-of-the-art cell manufacturing facility in Frederick County, Maryland, Kite, a Gilead Company, is looking to fill dozens of new biomanufacturing jobs in Maryland and add to the talented site team it already has in place.
To help find these new team members, Kite recently held a Virtual Recruiting Webinar, where event attendees and potential hires were given a taste of the “Why” that drives the Kite team each and every day, and a glimpse of what it’s like to be a Cell Therapy Specialist. For Kite, hiring the best and brightest bioengineering and life science talent is about more than technical skills. It’s also about marrying great talent and skills with a workplace culture that is inextricably linked with the lives of the patients and patient families.
Cell therapy manufacturing and the “vein to vein” nature of personalized medicine — where every cell therapy batch produced equals one patient treated — makes the process not only urgent, but also more intimate then other bulk biomanufacturing processes. The one batch to one patient relationship will create strong, personal ties between Kite’s team and every patient treated by products that will be produced at the Urbana, Maryland site.
This bond between Kite and its patients defines a company culture that drives innovation and great performance by encouraging its team members to embrace the deeply personal nature of their work.
Brian Stamper, Director of Manufacturing at Kite’s new facility, stated, “What I really love about Kite is the impact we have on patients. Every time we get a production batch at our facility we’re holding someone’s life in our hands.” Stamper shared that Kite’s second approved commercial product, Tecartus™, the first and only CAR T treatment for relapsed or refractory mantle cell lymphoma, has special meaning for him. His father-in-law has mantle cell lymphoma.
“What’s gone really well is Kite and Gilead’s shared focus on patients. Just like Kite is focused on the cure for cancer, Gilead is focused on the cure for HIV and hepatitis and other similar diseases. It’s been a great partnership,” he added. “Patients drive everything we do. Everyone who signs up for Kite takes our culture seriously and can contribute in a very meaningful way.”
Kite was acquired by Gilead Sciences in 2017 for $11.9B. Kite’s YESCARTA approval by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration as only the second cell therapy ever approved was a driving force behind the acquisition. Post acquisition, Kite began searching for the right place to build a new leading-edge cell manufacturing facility to add to its existing Maryland presence in Gaithersburg, Maryland.
“A few years ago we were trying to figure out where to build this facility. We knew we wanted to be on the East Coast, but Frederick really stood out. It’s a high talent area with great infrastructure and it’s just a great place to live. I’ve lived in Frederick County for 11 years now and I’ve raised my daughters here…We’re very excited to be here in Frederick,” shared Stamper.
Kite is looking to add several key pieces to the Urbana, Maryland site team, in a number of functions, including but not limited to cell therapy specialists, quality control, operations and technical positions.
During the Virtual Recruiting Event, the audience heard from several Kite team members, all of whom had compelling stories to tell about the “Why” driving the Kite team.
Damon Keene, Manufacturing Supervisor at Kite, had this to say about his tenure working for the organization: “I love working at Kite because of the deep seated culture of collaboration. Team members are keen to share information that ensures we are providing the best for our patients to have longer, fuller lives. No egos stand in the way of that goal…”
“Kite is very mission-oriented…A patient-first mentality is important…It’s also a very inclusive culture here. I always feel like I can go to anybody, even interdepartmentally. Everybody has this collaborative mentality, which is very important in the lab. This has been a very rewarding experience,” added Cell Therapy Specialist CaroElise Ataku.
Matthew Levy, Associate Director and Head of Talent Acquisition for Kite’s Technical Operations Group and a Lymphoma survivor himself, stated, “I hope everyone can see the passion that we have for serving our patients…What family hasn’t had cancer knock on their door? When I got sick several years ago I was working at a big pharma company where I felt a little bit like an employee number…when I got cured of that disease I thought I’d love to come to a company where I didn’t feel like a number and I could make a difference for patients, like I used to be. That’s when I sought out Kite and joined the team a few years ago.”
If you’re interested in a meaningful, challenging, collaborative and rewarding workplace culture that truly puts patients first, Kite’s Urbana, Maryland site might be a great new place to launch the next phase of your career.