Ken Kent VO:
2020 made us think about collaboration differently in that, you know, we had to get better at it. You know, we were used to collaborating most effectively in a room together.
“A possible connection”
“Finding ways to speed production”
“A reduction in timing”
“Meeting the needs of a global pandemic”
“Rising to meet the challenge together – Gilead Logo”
Hi, I’m Ken Kent. I’m the Senior Vice President of chemical development and manufacturing operations at Gilead.
January of last year, a colleague of mine informed me that there was a virus spreading rapidly within China, and it was a type of coronavirus and it was thought that potentially one of our investigational medicines could be effective against this. He gave me kind of the heads-up and said we may need to be ready to move quickly if this turns out to be as bad as it might look.
So, my thought was, it could really help. My concern was we had really set up our supply chain for a much smaller population.
So we knew we were going to have to scale up the manufacturing process and scale it out. By that I mean, use more than one supplier and more than one part of the world.
So, having diverse geographic footprint really was going to be an imperative for us.
The only way we could meet all of the potential needs for this program was to do a lot of things in parallel, hoping that we’d all hit the finish line at the same time.
The first order of business was to get multiple sites in multiple continents working on the same key raw materials at the same time so that they could deliver them as fast as possible in a sufficiently large quantity. The next step was then making the active ingredient at multiple sites that were dependent on these starting materials.
I think the hardest thing about working remotely with these partners was that we truly were fully remote on key things where in the past we could actually fly out, see, touch, and feel their instruments as they’re running.
We couldn’t do that.
And so, we really had to get...think of it in a new way. How could we visualize what they’re doing? How could we get them to be more specific on their description?
How could we be more specific? It was what really enabled a lot of this to get done.
You know, we compressed down our timelines that we’d normally do for development by literally years–things that we’d do in years we did in months. So, most people said, oh, I don’t know if that’s possible. But we really challenged the team to say, don’t tell me if it’s possible; tell me if it’s impossible. If it’s impossible, okay, then we can’t do it. But even then, I'm certainly going to question you why it’s impossible.
There's a lot of things about the team that impressed me. They didn’t miss a beat.
They found ways to overcome all the distractions that are out there.
I don’t know if I have my proudest moment. I'm really proud of the team. That a lot of people really bought into that saying, hey, we could make a difference, let’s see what we can do.
I think, just the sort of level of dedication, teamwork and sacrifice was, it was impressive.
Closing Card – Gilead Logo