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July 20 2022
BMS has had a solid foundation in the Dutch market for over 50 years, and with the groundbreaking launch of our first European Cell Therapy manufacturing facility in the Netherlands, we are expanding the future of healthcare innovation.
“The first hole in the ground was dug in October of 2021,” said Tina Jackson, associate director of GMP (Good Manufacturing Practice) Training at Leiden. “The team at the moment is a group of people who are just starting this journey together and the atmosphere is amazing. It feels like a start-up environment.”
Right this moment, we are looking for passionate people who want to help build—literally and figuratively—better solutions to make a difference for patients.
Tina wasn’t looking for a new position when she learned of the 2024 launch of BMS’ Cell Therapy manufacturing facility in Leiden, but she found herself eager to be a part of something new after discovering more through her own research.
“I cannot explain it, but it's like the right place, the right time and situation,” she shared. “I contacted the recruiter to find out more about it, and from then on, I got more and more interested. Everybody I spoke to along that way just oozed passion about what they were doing, with a lot of excitement and sheer enjoyment.”
She joined the team in March of 2022 to lead the GMP training process at the Leiden site and now beams with that same level of enthusiasm and excitement.
Unlike Tina, Said Khoya, a senior manufacturing associate of Cell Therapy Manufacturing Operations at Leiden, was looking for something new when he found BMS. After 10 years working in biologics and vaccines with another company, his research led him to Cell Therapy.
“I was reading about CAR T (chimeric antigen receptor T-cells), and I thought, this is the future of healthcare,” Said said. “I saw that BMS was going to be the first in Europe [with a Cell Therapy facility] and I wanted to help take the company to the next level.”
And that’s exactly what he’s been doing since he joined the team in April 2022. Together, Said and Tina will help ensure our products are consistently produced and controlled according to GMP standards once the facility’s doors open.
Cell Therapy, which uses the body’s own T-cells to fight hematological cancers, is one of the most groundbreaking new forms of cancer treatment being studied today. With our new manufacturing site, BMS is contributing to the growing role of the Netherlands as an international leader in the field.
“BMS is very willing to invest in what they believe in, whether that's people, products, or research and development,” Tina explained.
With products only in their infancy and BMS’s continued investment in our Cell Therapy capabilities, the growth potential of this science, your career, and the ability to transform patients’ lives is incredible.
“You don't necessarily have to be from a Cell Therapy background, but you have to be able and open to learn about it. Even if you're not part of the research and development, you are part of delivering a product that can potentially save a life,” Tina added.
Said was eager to learn about Cell Therapy and emphasized the impact the team at BMS can have. “From the start to the end of the batch, knowing you can impact patients' lives is the most beautiful thing.”
The home of our first European Cell Therapy facility is Leiden Bio Science Park (LBSP), one the largest life sciences clusters in the Netherlands. The so-called “Boston by the North Sea,” the region offers a stimulating community for innovation that’s easy to reach from nearby cities like Amsterdam, the Hague, Delft and Rotterdam.
With 36% of Dutch people citing the bicycle as their main mode of transportation, it's a healthy, easy way to commute. “When you first come here, you're amazed by how many people ride bikes, myself included,” Tina laughed. “You don’t have to be able to ride a bike, but it helps. And if you want to leave the country, you only have to drive a couple of hours in any direction and you arrive in another country.”
From a language point of view, Tina noted that a lot of people will and can speak English, making it more open and accessible to a lot of different nationalities. And at BMS, this diversity in backgrounds is evident.
“There’s a lot of diversity here at BMS,” Said said. “It's one big family and that's the reason people want to come on board.”
That big family will expand from around 60 people today to nearly 700 when the site launches in 2024.
“If you want to be a pioneer and try something new, BMS gives you the opportunity to be able to shape yourself in your next move,” Tina said.
Said agreed adding, “You can develop yourself while developing the company. With more ideas, connections and products, we can transform the future of global healthcare.”
Want to get in on the ground level of a career with sky-high potential? Explore open roles at our production facility in Leiden today. Discover more about BMS Netherlands at bms.com/nl and about career opportunities in the Netherlands here at careers.bms.com/nl.
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