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Working at Gilead
Gilead has pursued and achieved breakthroughs in medicine for more than three decades, with the goal of creating a better, healthier world for all people. We have commercialized more than 25 innovative medicines, helping to transform treatment for people living with HIV, viral hepatitis, cancer and other life-threatening diseases. Through our ongoing bold and transformative science, we’re driving innovations that have the potential to become the next generation of life-changing medicines.
Our employees include some of the most talented innovators in the biopharmaceutical industry. We are always looking for the next wave of passionate people interested in joining an intellectually stimulating, socially responsible company with a track record of addressing serious illnesses and public health issues around the world. Every member of our team plays a critical and visible role in helping to discover, develop and deliver innovative therapeutics for people with life-threatening diseases. Because the impossible is not impossible. It’s what’s next.
A Look Inside the Innovation
Have you ever been curious about what goes into making innovative new medicines? In the latest episode of our “Inside the Innovation” series, learn about Gilead’s patient-first approach to pharmaceutical manufacturing from Monica Tijerina, Vice President, External Manufacturing, Clinical Supply Chain and Logistics, and Ken Kent, Senior Vice President of Chemical Development and Manufacturing. Listen in as Monica and Ken discuss what motivates them, share career highlights, and reflect on the critical role of inclusion and diversity in their work.
Okay, B camera. Here we go. Set and action.
Good to see you.
Good to see you! How should we start?
Hi, my name’s Ken Kent, and I'm the Senior Vice President of Chemical Development and Manufacturing here at Gilead Sciences.
Hi, my name is Monica Tijerina. I'm in Global Supply Chain and External Manufacturing within Pharmaceutical Development and Manufacturing.
Our industry uses many acronyms. So PDM, what does PDM stand for within Gilead and what does PDM do?
Yeah, that's a good question. You know, PDM stands for Pharmaceutical Development and Manufacturing. So pharmaceutical development is really: How do you make it? How do you test it? How do you administer it? So, when a compound first comes out of research, whether a small molecule or biologic, it's really an idea. And that will have to be tested—is it safe and effective in people? There's so much to figure out and really, we want it to be the optimal patient experience really, so what would be best for patients and how do we deliver that?
You know, the sort of, team dynamics are really integral to what we do. Can you give me a sense of how your team operates, and who do you work with and for?
In discovery, it's really important that we're there with the scientists that are identifying targets to treat HIV or treat a type of cancer. And so, you would have direct interaction with many individuals within research. And then as you start to progress into developing commercial, it opens up who you're working with as far as understanding what the patient needs are, making sure you develop the best medicine possible for them.
Many people go to the pharmaceutical industry because they have a personal connection. Do you have a personal connection? What drove you to join Gilead?
Well, you know, when I first interviewed at Gilead, I thought it was really exciting the passion that the founder had for the company and the belief that we were going to make a difference and have impact on patients’ lives. And right off the bat in the late 80s, we started working on HIV treatments and in the Bay Area, HIV was just a devastating disease. And in fact, I had two brother-in-laws that both passed from HIV. I remember I was at one of our manufacturing sites and we were really pushing to get these compounds to the patients, and I was telling this supplier, I’m going to ask really unreasonable things of you for a very reasonable cause, because this could be your mother, your father, your brother, your sister.
Definitely, I can understand what you're saying.
Monica, you know, there's a lot going on at Gilead—that's an understatement. How do you keep your energy up? How do you maintain that same easy demeanor and get-it-done attitude?
If you love science, or you have somebody who’s been impacted by a disease, this is a career that you can choose, and it’s very rewarding, it gives back more than I put in. So, I think for me, I really feel very passionate around STEM education for American students, and we don't produce enough American students that pursue a career in STEM, and so with me, I've been very fortunate to get an opportunity to lead Gileados, that's an employee resource group for Latinos. And so, we spend time to support the Latino community and support STEM education.
So, Ken, you've been with Gilead a very long time. And I want to ask you in your 33 years at Gilead, what is your most memorable project that you've worked on?
Boy, my most memorable project in 33 years at Gilead? That's a good question. I think when we got our first approval for a COVID-19 treatment. To get that done as quickly as the team did, under such unusual circumstances, was just phenomenal. I couldn't be prouder of them.
Monica, so you know, Gilead’s talked a lot about not only what we do but focusing on how we do it and part of that is really trying to grow through diversity , diversity of thought, and inclusion of all voices. Can you tell a little bit of how that positively impacts our ability to develop new medicines?
So, there's been a lot of research that shows when you have individuals who think differently, and you have people who will listen to those unique ideas, that you get to a better outcome. And so, development of medicines are no different. Just a diverse set of individuals from years of industry, gender, training, you know, education, all of those give you different perspectives. Without that diverse group, you will naturally just have blind spots, and so listening to those individuals always helps to get to a better outcome.
Monica, it's been a lot of fun. Thank you so much for spending time with me.
Thank you, Ken, I really enjoyed our time here together and just thank you for sitting with me today and sharing your stories. Always a pleasure.
Alright, see you soon. Bye.
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