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Dr. Kara Calhoun

VP, Manufacturing & Process Development


Harder, Better, Faster, Stronger: Biologics Drug Manufacturing Post-Pandemic


The biotechnology industry relies on biologics manufacturing to take an engineered cell and to ultimately deliver a purified, safe, and effective product to patients. The drug development cycle starts with designing an engineered product, scaling up & purifying operations, and performing aseptic filling into vials or syringes. Scientists and engineers play a key role in efficiently developing manufacturing processes to provide materials for clinical trials and for commercial production. During the pandemic, the industry met the challenge of providing safe and effective Covid vaccines in faster timelines than previously possible. In addition, additional challenges related to limited manufacturing slots, supply chain disruptions, and talent turnover remain. Leveraging these lessons present a new opportunity for future scientists and engineers to lead in a new generation of biotechnology manufacturing paradigms.

Meet the Speaker:

Since first learning about the power of genetic engineering to create medicines, Kara has combined interests in math, biology, and engineering into a long-term career in the biotechnology industry. She has worked in both large and small companies such as Genentech, Merck, and NGM Bio leading teams to manufacture biologic medicines and vaccines for oncology, lung & eye disease, and infectious disease. Some of her favorite accomplishments include achieving record-breaking timelines to submit a new drug application to the FDA, completing simultaneous process tech transfers to global manufacturing sites, and creating an innovation labs (iLabs) team. Kara completed her Chemical Engineering undergraduate degree at Princeton University and her Ph.D. at Stanford University. She lives in Mountain View with her husband and three children.

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