Courtney LeBlon, Director, Manufacturing Sciences and Technology (MSAT)
We pride ourselves on our exceptional team of cell therapy development and manufacturing experts. In the coming months, we’ll be introducing you to many of our team members who we think you should get to know.
What was your interest in joining the HCATS team?
I earned my BS in bioengineering and then went straight into grad school, getting my PhD at Lehigh University in mechanical engineering, with a focus on bioengineering and material science. While I was in school, I had the opportunity to work with mesenchymal stem cells and since that time, I knew I wanted to do something in the field of regenerative medicine/tissue engineering.
I learned about HCATS when I was leaving grad school. What they were doing was really attractive to me and I wanted to be part of building a contract development and manufacturing platform for the rapidly expanding cell therapy industry. When I interviewed here, I could tell that everyone was very passionate about their work, and I still see that today.
What was your first role and how did you develop in that role?
I started out as a Process Development Scientist in August 2013. I was able to get quite a bit of experience working primarily on CD34 cell projects. Over time, I started to consult on some other T cell projects and became more involved in tech transfer as we were starting to transfer those programs out. That made me want to learn more about this critical process, understanding the dynamics and what makes a successful tech transfer. During that time, I also had the opportunity to develop and train new members of the team, which was terrific.
How did you transition to management?
I now manage employees at both our Allendale and Mountain View sites. Before I came into the role of associate director of the MSAT department, Brian Hampson (who was, at the time, the leader of global MSAT), gave me the opportunity to be a function manager, which pushed me to think strategically and see the big picture. Having a manager engaged in my career growth and who saw my potential was critical. Now in my role, I have visibility to what is going on at the business level and can help my team see that too. I also want to give them the same opportunity to grow.
What encourages you to continue your development at HCATS?
I feel certain personalities lend themselves to working at CDMOs – being results-oriented, the ability to adapt - all really falling in line with our core values. After being here a few years, I think those are the things that really make you successful and, luckily, I think most of those traits come naturally to me.
I really feel like I belong at a place like this and if I’d gone somewhere else I wouldn’t have been as satisfied at my job. It’s definitely a challenging environment, but I think I wouldn't have been as fulfilled in another business.
Get to Know More about HCATS!
The HCATS team is here to help cell therapy developers and manufacturers of all sizes perfect their products and prepare for commercial-scale manufacturing. You can learn more about other members of the HCATS team in future articles.
PCT TeamOur leaders have worked on some of the major cell therapies of the past 20 years, and have extensive experience in pharmaceutical-grade quality and operations.
Subscribe to our blog for instant updates on challenges and trends in cell therapy development, manufacturing and commercialization.