Innovation in methods and equipment is key at Aragen. I encountered a challenging project last year as a client came to us with a potent new molecule for cancer treatment. Timelines were very tight and the molecule was hard to express in sufficient amounts. Our team worked out an innovative approach to shorten timelines by miniaturizing and parallel running different steps. This plan, in combination with using the newest cell printing technology, provided us with plenty of well behaved, good expressing clones to develop further into the final stable cell lines. We were able to deliver for our client in a timely manner and exceed expression expectations.
Regular brainstorming sessions with colleagues across disciplines steer possibilities forward with success. Being part of such a team energizes me and helps me strive for growth with each new project.
The most exciting aspect of working at Aragen is the control I have over my career path. I find the culture here, gender neutral, transparent and encouraging. The company has enabled me to explore my interests and skills over the past 15 years. I have utilized every opportunity given to me to improve myself. My work began in R&D but I have settled into project management now. Thanks to my mentors, I was able to make a transition in my career at the right time. When I became a manager, I benefited greatly from the in-house Elevate training program for first-time managers. Last year, I was selected for the women executive development program, EvolWe. Both programs have helped me better manage my work-life balance, and grow in confidence as a person and as a professional.
An encouraging work culture at every step of the way has made my journey at Aragen exceptional. When I joined 10 years ago as a scientist, I started work with an open mind, and no expectations. Right from the outset, I felt supported by my colleagues and benefitted from open doors of communication with my team heads. Transparency and good guidance helped resolve problems quickly and successfully, while building trust. I asked for and was entrusted with responsibilities whenever possible, which enabled me to push myself, achieve goals and follow my professional ambitions. Today, as a manager, I continue to nurture a culture of trust, and maintain an open-door policy for my team to come to me with their successes and failures. Once, after weeks of work, we experienced a setback in the lab. I had no hesitation in taking responsibility and informing the client that we would rework the batch immediately. And deliver we did!
In Japan, business relationships take time to cement. That’s because Japanese companies want to get to know you first... understand how you operate, how you communicate, how quickly you respond, and most significantly, how consistently you deliver. Only once there is a high level of confidence and trust, will they enter into business with you.
Being Japanese, I understand this mindset. I also understood that Aragen would be a good fit for Japan because scientific integrity, transparent communication and quick turnaround time, are key differentiators of this company. In 2014, I joined Aragen to build relationships of trust with Japanese customers. Over the last seven years, we have more than tripled our business in Japan.
It was the fifth day of the city-wide COVID lockdown in March 2020, and an important mechanistic pharmacokinetic study was on schedule. Data from this study was critical for candidate nomination. At stake, was customer expectation and a critical in vivo study that had been initiated but not completed. My colleagues and I decided to step up to the challenge. Leaving our homes was a huge risk, but we worked as a team and planned it well. At the crack of dawn the next morning, five of us drove to the facility. Over the next two days, we completed all pre-activity. On the third morning, despite the limitation of a small team, we conducted the experiment over 12 hours non-stop.
Our efforts and the results delighted the customer. It felt good to deliver against the odds and demonstrate Aragen’s commitment to customer at the center.
We were still coming to grips with the global pandemic in India when Aragen leadership swung into action. I was put in charge of setting up our COVID-19 Command Center (CCC). It was early days. New information kept emerging, government guidelines and directives were evolving. It was tough to keep up but we did our best to get prepared. Before long, the entire organization was tested. COVID-19 facts, precautions, and social distancing norms (as they emerged) were shared, updated and strictly implemented. If anyone tested positive, I personally ensured that he/she and the family were given the necessary information viz. medical services, quarantining and insurance. Soon, we recognized the need and benefits of an exclusive quarantine facility. Quick decisions were made to set it up and many opted to use it. My team and I continue to go above and beyond the brief to make all our colleagues feel fully supported. My COVID duties have not ended but I feel proud and happy to be part of an organization that cares so much for its employees.