Ana Luiza Pinto Queiroz
Digitalization Business Lead at APC
APC was created out of a passion for science and research. In 2011, Dr. Mark Barrett and Prof. Brian Glennon of the UCD School of Chemical and Bioprocess Engineering in Dublin, Ireland, embarked on a mission to disrupt the pharma and biotech industries with a hyper-focused, accelerated approach to drug process development. Foregoing outside investment, APC has grown organically to become a global powerhouse in process development, partnering with companies large and small to bring medicines to market at unprecedented speed. We caught up with Ana Luiza to learn more about the employee experience at APC.
I had the opportunity to visit APC during my PhD, and during the visit, I was very impressed by the cutting-edge technology available in APC’s laboratories. As I spoke to a few people, I was also amazed by the depth and diversity of expertise onsite. It felt to me that APC is a place where lots of friendly and very knowledgeable people come together to work on super innovative projects and they have all techniques required to get the projects done. That is incredible to have and made me want to be part of it!
In APC, we stretch our technical knowledge and our soft skills at a very fast pace, and continuously. The projects we get are always about solving an important issue in the manufacturing site – or across multiple sites – or developing processes so they become more cost and time-efficient, safer, and deliver products with greater quality. The process itself can vary; in these 2 years working in APC I have worked on small molecule and large molecule projects. I have done projects that were laboratory intense and others that were done only using modeling approaches. That is to say that APC is technically challenging and gives us the opportunity to learn a lot while preparing to do the projects, and during the projects too. Not to mention that we have the freedom to be creative on how we do things to always keep pushing the bar higher for the value we deliver to the clients.
Thinking outside of the technical sphere, people in APC are incredibly collaborative, even though everyone is busy doing their own projects, we always make time to help each other. The culture around people here is truly great. There are also great mentorship and development programs in the company, so we can learn from the projects and through the internal soft skills programs too.
I moved to Dublin to work in APC and that was in April 2020; when Covid19 lockdowns began. I was also finishing writing my PhD thesis at the time. I thought the beginning would be difficult, but my peers were incredibly friendly; Even though we had to keep a safe distance, masks on, and all measures to avoid the spread of Covid, I felt very welcomed and that made all other challenges I was facing at that time a lot easier. My line managers were also very open to discussions, and I had excellent support from them as well whenever I needed it.
I started in APC as a Process Development Engineer 2 and after my first performance review, I was promoted to Process Development Engineer 3. Over the last 2 years, I had the opportunity to further develop my skills not only in regard to the technical aspects of pharmaceutical process development, but I am also improving leadership, project management, technical communication, commercial support, complex problem-solving, and other skills that are fundamental for the career path that I have chosen.
APC is growing a lot and now we have VLE, which is a sister company on the Biologic side of the business. There are many opportunities to support the growth of both companies and develop our careers as we support their growth. It is an exciting moment to be in APC and VLE!
I would call out 2 highlights, one was a laboratory intense work where we developed a series of streamlined telescoped reactions, crystallizations, and isolation of a small molecule and the value of this work was that it enabled the client to manufacture that medicine for advanced or metastatic solid tumors. The second was an in-silico modeling project to improve a process to transfect cells with viruses. The work we did was what enabled the manufacturing of a new gene therapy treatment.
In both cases, the client was developing life-changing medicines that were yet not manufacturable. The processes were not safe enough or would not deliver the right quality necessary to be approved by the regulatory agencies. However, after we worked on these processes, they met the requirements to be manufactured. I am very proud to work in a company that brings to the market medicines that improve and save lives.
APC is a great place to work if you are curious, creative, and looking to make an impact in the world by driving new medicines to market. In an early-stage career, it is a place where you will learn a lot from experienced and highly qualified staff, most of them PhDs. That is to say that APC can offer you all means for continuous career development.
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