Head of Manufacturing, Cell Therapy, Lonza Houston, TX (US)
Following her PhD studies in Genetics at the University of Siena, Francesca pursued a post-doctorate at Baylor College of Medicine, and then a faculty position at Texas A&M University, where she investigated genetic defects that cause rare cardiovascular diseases. Eager to move closer to therapeutic solutions, Francesca was drawn to industry and ultimately to Lonza’s commitment to making as many life-altering therapies accessible as possible. Francesca led the growth of our viral vector Process and Analytical Development Services until Nov 2019 and now serves as our Head of Cell Therapy Manufacturing in Houston.
Lonza is a world-leading Contract Development and Manufacturing Organization (CDMO), and an early player that has – and continues to – shape cell and gene therapies services. We embrace innovation, strive for impeccable execution, and are committed to the professional development of every single employee.
started at Lonza, my career has progressed…
To my great satisfaction. I have had leadership roles in both technology and operations groups, and on both sides of our technical offering: viral vector and cell therapy products. As an Asset Head and member of the Senior Leadership Team since 2014, I have developed my skills in strategic thinking, communication, leadership, fiscal accountability and mentorship. These skills have grown as I have moved into roles of increasing responsibility in our Houston site.
special to work at Lonza because…
The business is committed to enabling employee success, delivering stakeholder value, positively impacting communities, and strives for excellence, integrity and quality in every interaction. In Houston we have grown extremely fast in lock-step with the gene and cell therapy field, and while this has challenged every aspect of our operation, we have been supported by Lonza corporate because the opportunity to shape and lead an entire industry only happens rarely. I enjoy closely partnering with our customers to mutually benefit and educate each other, and achieve joint success through effective communication and technical breakthroughs. Despite inevitable road-bumps, it is incredibly gratifying, and it is exciting to be in the right place at the right time!
is meaningful because…
Lonza is changing the face of healthcare through its customer partnerships, providing quality, scalable, reproducible process and analytical technologies and cutting-edge solutions. With these, we aim to overcome manufacturing hurdles, transform healthcare and ultimately, to cure disease.
makes me feel good at the end of the working day is…
When I worked in Process Development, it was knowing that every process we scale and study we run; every protocol we plan and report we write; and every customer we brainstorm with, brings us one step closer to making meaningful changes for the health and lives of patients across the globe.
Now, on the manufacturing floor, the proximity to life-saving therapies is exhilarating. Despite the long hours and high-stakes execution involved by the team, processing cell therapy drug products for our customers has a direct impact within a short time on patients and their families, providing hope and a future where before there was none.
exciting thing about working at Lonza is…
The pace of growth, the ongoing learning and the opportunity to shape the success of our customers, who work to deliver life-changing therapies to patients in need. In a CDMO, you come to appreciate the breadth and variety of approaches to solving problems, and this is incredibly formative.
most appreciate about my team is...
The fact that it’s full of top-tier individuals who show an exemplary commitment to their work, focused on delivering results and show up every day driven by their compassion and our Lonza vision. They are utterly dedicated to our customers’ mission of creating life-changing therapies. They take pride in the quality of the deliverable and are exhilarated by the chance to be on the pioneering edge of a field that will change the face of human health.