Our Stories

Read stories of how our people apply heart and science to solve complex challenges, deliver breakthroughs in the face of the toughest obstacles, and make the world a healthier place for patients everywhere.

Pete and Lisa Beerse

Pete and Lisa Beerse

Made
For

Hope And Heroes

HOW A COMBINATION OF MEDICINES HELPED ONE MAN TAKE BACK HIS LIFE, AND INSPIRE US ALL.

On a quiet Sunday afternoon, Pete and his wife Lisa took a moment to sit on a porch swing and relax. A small piece of wood holding the chain broke and they fell backwards causing Pete to break his neck. Now, this father of eight who had been a college athlete had to face life in a wheelchair, requiring assistance for even his most basic needs. Pete says while the physical toll was tremendous, the emotional and mental toll was even worse. In addition to dealing with his body having to understand its lack of function – from mobility to heat regulation – there was the depression and anxiety that also comes with watching his wife and kids step in to care for him. But Pete and Lisa did not give up. They worked for over a year with doctors to find the right mix of medications. Though it was a grueling process, eventually they got it right. Pete credits these medications with saving his life and giving him the strength to persevere. Together, Pete and Lisa look forward to the future: their daughter’s wedding, time with friends and family, even their first trip on an airplane since the accident. As Pete says, “We’ve been married 32 years. Not long enough.”

Nicole O’Brien
Sr. Director of Technical
Program Design,
Pharma Services,

Alachua, FL

Chris, Lauryn, Carson Rose, & AJ Tubesing

Made
With

Innovation & Determination

HOW A VIRAL VECTOR GOT THE BOOST IT NEEDED TO START DEFEATING AN INCURABLE DISEASE.

Duchenne’s Muscular Dystrophy is an incurable disease that mostly affects boys. It results from a gene defect that prevents those affected from developing normal muscle structure and function. Children typically lose the ability to walk by early adolescence and may only survive into their 30s or 40s. A client was developing a new viral vector gene therapy, but they could only make one batch at a time, and this could only treat one patient. Nicole and her team worked on two paths. First, they re-engineered the growing process so it could now treat 5-10 patients per batch. Next, they gutted a site and rebuilt it with multiple bioreactor suites. All of this on a tight clinical trial deadline. Now, the client will be able to make enough material to treat hundreds of patients per year and the results are astounding. Promising clinical trials are underway and participants are developing stronger muscle tissue. Although it’s still early, the results for these Muscular Dystrophy patients are promising.

Holli Carlson
Client Services Director,
Pharma Services,

Mt. Prospect, IL

Holli Carlson

Delivered
With

Agility & Integrity

HOW SPRING BREAK HAD TO WAIT A LITTLE LONGER, SO A BABY COULD HAVE A BETTER SHOT.

After a long night of packing for her family’s spring break vacation, Holli woke up at 4:40 AM Saturday morning. She noticed a text message on her phone. A six-day-old baby experiencing violent seizures needed a client’s medication immediately. Vacation was going to have to wait. By 5:20 AM, Holli was on the phone with the client to identify a solution. By 7:30 AM, she and her team were at the site (normally closed on Saturdays). The client had received an emergency Treatment IND from the FDA the night before. Next, through Thermo Fisher’s Total Transportation Management capability, they were able to arrange same-day shipment from their TSA-certified warehouse. No red tape. No delay. No package opening at the airport. The package went directly on a commercial flight, and was hand delivered to the hospital 12 hours after Holli received that text. Best of all, when every moment mattered most, a baby in urgent need could be treated with the client’s medication in hours instead of days.

Mike Pearson
Staff Program Manager,
Pharma Services,

Bend, OR

Mike Pearson

Solved
With

Conviction & Collaboration

HOW LEVERAGING A GLOBAL NETWORK DELIVERED BIG RESULTS

Mike’s team in Bend, OR was only supposed to optimize the spray drying process for a particular medication while another, much larger, facility would handle the large-scale manufacturing. However, the other facility’s equipment wouldn’t be available in time to meet the client’s aggressive IND filing schedule. It was time to leverage the power of the Thermo Fisher Scientific global network and Quick to CareTM program to offer the client their best chance for success. Through incredible effort and intensely coordinated activities, the team in Bend delivered nearly two orders of magnitude more material than typical projects before transferring the product to other Thermo Fisher sites to test, fill, and deliver to patients. Despite the change in plans, the right team stepped in to ensure all deadlines were met, and the client got a critical medicine to the patients who needed it most.

Jigal Shah
Portfolio Services Manager,
Pharma Services,

Whitby, Ontario

Jessica Morin
Business Manager,
Pharma Services,

Whitby, Ontario

Jigal Shah and Jessica Morin

Solved
With

TENACITY & URGENCY

HOW DIGGING DEEP INTO CANADIAN REGULATIONS GOT A CLIENT’S MEDICATION ONTO SHELVES IN BRAZIL.

A medication made in Thermo Fisher’s Whitby, Canada site needed to be on shelves in Brazil by July 4, or the client would lose the right to sell the medicine in that country entirely. But the delivery vendor made a mistake and delivered the product to Mexico instead. Jessica and Jigal teamed up to work through the options. They could do another production run in Canada on short notice, but it still wouldn’t meet their deadline. They couldn’t ship from Mexico to Brazil because Mexican customs would delay the process for too long. So, they took a step back and looked deeper into the regulations to find a better and quicker solution. The 10% of the run that had been kept at the plant in Canada was able to be shipped to Brazil by the deadline and still comply with Brazil’s regulations. The product arrived on shelves in Brazil by the end of June, and the client was able to deliver this life-changing medication to patients that never had access to it before.

Chris, Lauryn,
Carson Rose,
& AJ Tubesing

Chris, Lauryn, Carson Rose, & AJ Tubesing

Made
For

Hope And Family

HOW A FAMILY’S PERSEVERANCE HELPED THEM REACH A SEEMINGLY UNATTAINABLE GOAL.

As members of the United States Air Force, Lauryn and Chris were as healthy and fit as a young couple could be. But in the world of genetics, all it takes is a couple of proteins lining up in the wrong way, and things can change in a hurry. They found that out when two of their three children tested positive for Cystic Fibrosis (CF). Lauryn and Chris were both carriers of mutations that, when combined, caused the disease. So an active life was replaced with one of endless treatments, trips to the doctor and fear of catching even the slightest cold. Plus the knowledge that life expectancy for patients with CF was typically about 31. Something no parent wants to hear. They learned of a “wonder drug” helping CF patients – one that actually treated the underlying causes of the disease, not just the symptoms. Best of all, it was manufactured in their backyard in Reading, Ohio. After about 6 months of taking the medicine, their doctor said something they hadn’t heard before: “Your daughter looks healthy.” And best of all, life expectancy for patients who respond to this therapy is now into the 60s and beyond. So these two veterans can now look forward to all the dreams that parents have for their kids, including a long life and children of their own some day.

Nicole and Gavin Pierson

Nicole and Gaving Pierson

Made
For

Compassion & Courage

HOW ONE INCREDIBLY BRAVE KID INSPIRED A ONE OF A KIND CLINICAL TRIAL.

Gavin had late stage brain cancer and not a lot of time. Chemotherapy and surgeries were not working, and Nicole was desperate to find a way to save her son. She knew of a drug in clinical trial that was showing promising results in adults, so she contacted the manufacturer and made her case for Gavin. The manufacturer agreed to let Gavin take the drug, but as a child he couldn’t participate in the existing trial. They needed to create a special trial so he could participate. Fisher Clinical Services, by Thermo Fisher Scientific, and the drug company worked together to create a special clinical trial, just for him. For the next two and half years, Thermo Fisher delivered Gavin’s individual dose on time, every time. The result was astounding. Not only did the tumor stop growing, it actually shrunk. And Gavin? He’s able to be a kid again, attending school, playing with friends and taking karate class. He’s now a brown belt in karate, going for black.

Hui Wang, Ph.D.
Operations Support Engineer,
Pharma Services,

Brisbane, Australia

Hui Wang

Delivered
With

Agility & Fluency

HOW SPEAKING A THIRD LANGUAGE HELPED WIN THE RACE TO MARKET.

Several Chinese pharmaceutical companies were competing to be first to market. And second place didn’t matter. Hui Wang, from Thermo Fisher’s Brisbane, Australia site, had a client trying to become the first Chinese pharmaceutical company to bring a cancer drug to the U.S. market. The complication? They’re a Chinese company who has never done business in the west. Clearly translators would have to keep things moving. But speaking both Mandarin and English wasn’t enough. With speed at a premium and a tech transfer document needed asap, Hui also needed to be fluent in the language of science. With her extensive scientific and manufacturing background, she worked with client teams, translating technical information in real time. So the process never slowed down. In fact, instead of taking the typical two months, the initial tech transfer document was ready in two weeks. Allowing her client to win that race.

Marcus Roberts
Senior Manager, Quality,
Pharma Services,

Memphis, TN

Marcus Roberts

Delivered
With

Initiative & Insight

HOW ONE SPLIT-SECOND DECISION MADE A DIFFERENCE FOR THOUSANDS OF PATIENTS.

In the world of drug manufacturing not all life-saving decisions happen in the lab. Sometimes it’s a lot closer to delivery that key moments require fast thinking. Such as one Saturday morning in Memphis, TN, when Marcus noticed the freezer temperatures were out of range. With over 2,000 cold chain shipments leaving his facility per day, he couldn’t afford to lose a week’s supply due to warm temperatures. As the repair crew worked on the issue, Marcus knew it wasn’t an easy fix and he needed a backup. So he had to make a call, on a weekend, without time to consult the chain of command. Soon, Marcus had a few freezer trailers on site, and an emergency work crew helping to load ice into them, so they could keep the week’s supply safe. And on Sunday, when he got the notification that the main freezer was having issues again, he knew he had made the right call. Today, the freezer is fully operational, and such issues are rare. However, we now keep extra freezer trailers on site permanently as a back-up, just in case.

Adamou Seydou
Gelatin Associate,
Pharma Services,

High Point, NC

Adamou Seydou

Delivered
With

Ingenuity & Insight

HOW WASTED MATERIAL INSPIRED SAVING TIME AND MONEY.

When it comes to manufacturing softgel dosage forms, nobody knows more about operating the equipment that makes them than Adamou. He’s relentless about finding new ways to make the manufacturing process more efficient. So, when he saw the amount of scrap material being produced during a specific manufacturing process, he was determined to find a way to decrease it. He enlisted the help of a team of experts who supported his cause and they worked after hours and weekends until they found a solution. The result is a new process that greatly reduces scrap, delivers savings to customers, and most importantly, helps to lower the cost of medicines for the patients who need them.

Tony Pidgeon
Director, Business Management
Pharma Services,

Swindon, UK

Tony Pidgeon

Solved
With

Protocols & Passion

HOW HALF THE BATCHES ACHIEVED TWICE THE RESULTS.

Sometimes, the future of a client’s entire company is riding on the success of one trial. That was the case when a small client came to Tony looking for a formulation solution for a revolutionary treatment. The problem was, their clinical trial protocol, as originally written, required six blinded doses. But the client could only afford to produce three batches, not six. If they couldn’t complete this trial milestone, the company was at risk of going out of business. When the client presented Tony with the issue, he recommended an adjustment to the trial protocol that would ensure they could gather the clinical data they needed with just three batches. By changing the clinical protocol, the trial the client thought was beyond their reach, suddenly became possible. And now this small company could move forward to make a big impact.

Whitney Sandberg
Sr. Director, Quality,
Pharma Services,

St. Louis, MO

Whitney Sandberg

Made
With

Flexibility & Focus

HOW SHORT-TERM FLEXIBILITY ENABLES LONG-TERM SUCCESS.

When a client tells us that our internal processes are getting in the way of meeting their needs, we take it to heart. That’s the position Whitney faced when her client felt that her facility, originally designed for GMP biologic drug substance commercial manufacturing, was too rigid for the fast-paced, rapidly-changing world of clinical manufacturing. So, she pulled together a cross-functional team that included Quality, Tech Transfer, and Biological Sciences, to take a new look at their commercial quality processes to determine how they could appropriately adapt them to meet the unique needs of their clients in development phases. And the change worked. Now her facility can deliver the robust and reliable commercial process it has always been known for, as well as the more flexible, faster-turn execution needed for clinical. Best of all, her clients can get to clinical trial faster and expedite delivering medicines to the patients who need them most.

Sanjay Konagurthu, Ph.D.
Sr. Director, PDS Global
Science & Technologies
Pharma Services,

Bend, OR

Sanjay Konagurthu

Solved
With

Chemistry & Conviction

HOW TAKING THE EDGE OFF A CRYSTAL GAINED AN ADVANTAGE.

Sometimes, even if your job focuses on data, you have to look beyond it. That’s why Sanjay and his team at Thermo Fisher Scientific don’t just apply data to solve formulation challenges. They look beyond the data for other potential roadblocks. In the early phase trials of a complex API molecule, his team recognized that dagger shaped crystals were inhibiting flow during production. While short-term workarounds for trials were at hand, they knew that in future scale ups, this would become a significant problem. So they collaborated with teams who modified the API process in advance. Smoothed the crystal. And solved the problem before it became one.

Angie West
Global Relationship Director,
Pharma Services,

Allentown, PA

Angie West

Delivered
With

Capacity & Compassion

HOW A COMBINATION OF TEAMWORK, HEART, AND SCIENCE ENSURED THOUSANDS OF PATIENTS AROUND THE GLOBE DIDN’T GO WITHOUT MEDICINE.

Angie will never forget the day she got a call from a client with a packaging and logistics challenge of global proportions. They needed her help figuring out how to get an oncology drug labeled for 60,000 patients in 35 countries every month. And they needed that solution to fit in a four week cycle – half the time typically required to turn around a trial of that scale. So, Angie pulled together a team of experts across 10 departments to break down every step of the process. They worked long hours and explored every possible opportunity to increase efficiencies and take time out of the process. Then they set up an operator training lab to ensure everyone on the team could deliver the new solution as planned. The result was a 55% reduction in cycle times and thousands of patients around the world received the life-saving medication they needed.

Mike Cruskie
VP & GM API Operations
North America,
Pharma Services,

Florence, SC

Mike Cruskie

Solved
With

Science & Service

HOW ON ANY GIVEN DAY, A SUIT JACKET CAN BECOME A LAB COAT.

When a client’s molecule experienced a problem during scale up at Mike’s API facility, he did exactly what any Thermo Fisher Scientific general manager would do: he put on his lab coat and got to work. As a process chemist who spent many years in the lab himself, Mike is uniquely qualified to lead a team of API chemists, analysts, and operators. And when the situation requires it, he’s ready and able to jump in to solve complex problems like this one. And that’s exactly what they did. The cross-functional team uncovered the issue, minimized the batch waste, and gave a small company a shot at making it big.

Mandy Bosse
VP & GM Cincinnati
Regional Operations
Pharma Services,

Cincinnati, OH

Mandy Bosse

Delivered
With

Capacity & Compassion

HOW 800 EMPLOYEES WORKING 3 SHIFTS FOR 365 STRAIGHT DAYS KEEP A SINGULAR FOCUS.

Managing a 24/7 facility that simultaneously handles more than 90 molecules requires a leader who understands development, manufacturing technology, operations, logistics and customer needs. But, if you ask Thermo Fisher Scientific site GM Mandy Bosse, she’ll tell you that the most important aspect of her job is to inspire. Which is why she regularly invites patients to her facility to speak to her team about the drugs they make every day. One such patient is Tyler, who suffers from nephropathic cystinosis, and takes a drug made at the facility to treat his disease. Tyler, who is surpassing patient life expectancy norms, didn’t come alone. He brought his wife who is expecting their first child. That’s a healthy dose of inspiration for a team whose work may be predicated on precision, but is fueled by compassion.

Jeff Hou, Ph.D.
Director and Site Head,
Scientific & Technical Affairs
Pharma Services,

Princeton, NJ

Jeff Hou

Made
With

Process & Purpose

HOW A SMALL STARTUP WAS ABLE TO SCALE UP, WITHOUT LOSING THEIR PRECIOUS MATERIAL.

Jeff faced a dilemma: how to complete a large biomanufacturing scale up with the very small amount of material his client gave him. And the stakes were high. His client had spent a lot of time and money developing this potentially revolutionary Alzheimer’s treatment. Any wasted material would put the execution of the clinical trial at risk, and possibly risk the future of the entire program. Jeff knew the process needed to be perfect. So, his team worked tirelessly to find ways to improve the cell culture performance. They examined key process parameters and even completed additional work in the process development laboratory to ensure success. The result was a flawless scale up and, most importantly, a potentially breakthrough drug was able to get into the clinic.

Michael Stanek, Ph.D.
VP Business Management,
API Pharma Services,

Linz, Austria

Michael Stanek

Solved
With

Optimization & Optimism

HOW MONITORING THE BOTTOM LINE INSPIRED A LEADING-EDGE SOLUTION.

While observing the API manufacturing process for a client, Michael wasn’t happy with what he saw. The purification process was inefficient, unnecessarily driving up costs. So, he got to work analyzing the entire process and his ideas were tested in the lab. The improvements discovered were so impressive that the client agreed to test the process at a larger scale. After another successful outcome, they decided to implement the refinements across the entire manufacturing process. The result not only reduced impurities and cut costs, it enabled capacity improvements which allowed greater control to manage larger volumes.

Shawn Regits
Manager, Process Engineering,
Pharma Services,

Allentown, PA

Shawn Regits

Made
With

Accuracy and Action

HOW A SIMPLE PROCESS BUILT PERFECT PERFORMANCE.

When a client required the 100% error-free assembly of syringes that included a backstop, Shawn knew his operations team would require a new process. The current process required multiple steps, each with the potential to risk deviation. A deviation could quarantine the job and risk medicine not being delivered on time. The solution was a smart and simple error-proofing tool Shawn designed and built, which replaced several steps in the process. The tool allowed only syringes with a backstop to continue through the line. Several months after implementation, there are zero deviations and shipments are out the door faster than anticipated.

Isabelle Lafosse
Director, Global Technology Transfer
Pharma Services,

Cincinnati, OH

Isabelle Lafosse

Delivered
With

Power & Partnership

HOW A GLOBAL NETWORK PROVIDES A GENUINE ADVANTAGE.

When a client gets an opportunity to expand rapidly, it takes a global partner to pull it off without a hitch. That’s what happened when Isabelle’s client received approval for a second indication for a drug that Thermo Fisher Scientific’s Patheon business was making. She knew manufacturing volume would go up. Fast. Her fear was that the two sites currently making the product couldn’t handle the increased volume. So, she tapped into the power of her global team, and in partnership with the client, conducted multiple trials simultaneously across Thermo Fisher’s global manufacturing network. As a result, they found a third site that met the client’s regulatory filling specifications, and most importantly, met the growing patient demand.

Emily Anderson
Ph.D., Analytical R&D,
Pharma Services,

Florence, SC

Jessica Floyd
QC Lab Supervisor
Pharma Services,

Florence, SC

Emily Anderson & Jessica Floyd

Solved
With

Chemistry & Collaboration

HOW IN A CULTURE OF KNOWLEDGE SHARING, A MENTOR PAVED THE WAY TO SUCCESS FOR THEIR MENTEE.

At Thermo Fisher Scientific, we believe that knowledge belongs to everyone. So, years ago, when Emily worked with her intern, Jessica, in the analytical department, she taught her all she could, as freely as possible. Today, Jessica leads her own team in quality control. Because of her past experience, she is uniquely qualified to identify issues that might have otherwise been missed and everyone benefits. This unique culture of knowledge sharing is a big part of how we get medicine into the hands of patients faster.