As the Vice President of Kentucky Operations @ vivitide, I oversee the manufacturing of peptides - from small up to multi-kilogram scale.
Peptide chemistry has been my passion ever since pursuing my bachelor’s degree. I went on to work at the Center for Genetic Engineering and Biotechnology (CIGB) - taking on various roles in the production and analysis of proteins and peptides – before returning to school to earn my Ph.D. in Chemistry at the University of Louisville.
I joined vivitide (formerly Peptides International) as a Research Scientist in 2013, managing some of the most complex peptide projects - including synthesis, purification and solution phase post-synthetic modification. I would say I have encountered everything –folding of peptides with multiple disulfide bonds, conjugation, condensation, alkylation, cyclization via lactam, click, and staple reactions – but the exciting part of peptides is that there are new challenges to tackle every day.
What is the goal of the operations team? We strive to ensure that peptides ordered are of excellent quality and are delivered to customers on time. We keep the science moving forward in the lab, so customers are happy with the outcomes. We work closely with leaders at vivitide to ensure vivitide remains the high-quality supplier of peptides to our partners in research and development. We make sure the quality of our products is what our customers keep coming back for. Supporting world class scientists around the globe is our mission.
How has operations in Kentucky changed over the years? When I started here back in 2013, our focus was on small to mid-scale custom synthesis. That was a great way to gain a lot of experiences since we have done thousands of peptides with all kinds of modifications. Customers would come to us because of our great customer service, our agility and because we are successful with the most challenging peptides. Our greatest enhancement over the past few years is that we can now grow with our customers’ projects.
With the investments we have made in our equipment, our facilities, and our people, we are now able to produce up to 2kg single batches and support our customers from the beginning of their journey with mg scale peptides up to large scale manufacturing.
How do you influence the customer experience? Our goal is to ensure a great customer experience in every interaction. A customer told me once that we quoted, booked the order and started manufacturing even before he received a quote from other suppliers. This is not happening by chance. I work closely with the sales team during the quoting process - confirming the manufacturing team can execute and deliver upon our promise.
Why do customers like working with vivitide? Well, we have the perfect company size to be agile while providing outstanding service. We are not the titanic and if our customers want to change direction with their projects that is not going to take days or weeks. Nevertheless, we are big enough to have the infrastructure and the talent in the organization to provide state of the art and innovative service. I, myself, have worked in almost every department - from solution phase synthesis, solid phase synthesis, purification up to even QC and QA. We have been around for almost 40 years and have the expertise required to take on complex projects.
What is the highlight of your job? I enjoy helping our customers with challenging chemistry projects. This is an exciting fast-moving company, and we provide breakthrough products to combat debilitating and rare diseases. Innovating around these challenges is a highlight for me.
What do you do when you are not helping customers?
I can be found running along the roadways of our beautiful local parks or taking long bike rides through the countryside outside Louisville. While my kids are grown, I have two dogs that keep me busy.