Iovance Biotherapeutics’ Cell Therapy Center (iCTC) in Greater Philadelphia is the first centralized and scalable manufacturing facility dedicated to producing tumor infiltrating lymphocytes (TIL) as a potential therapy for patients with solid tumor cancers. One of the leaders on the ground at Iovance’s manufacturing facility is Margot Wilson, Director of Operational Excellence. Wilson works to ensure that these TIL cells are properly manufactured to be returned and administered as potential cancer treatments to patients. Wilson’s goal in working at Iovance? To deliver hope to patients who need new options.
Once partnered with a contract manufacturing organization as the sole source for TIL therapy supply, Iovance has expanded from a headquarters in San Carlos, California, and a research site in Tampa, Florida to custom-build iCTC for internal manufacturing in Greater Philadelphia. This facility is strategically located at the Navy Yard, 10 minutes away from Philadelphia International Airport, enabling Iovance to efficiently receive initial tumor samples and, once complete, transport potential therapies back to patients throughout the country and around the globe.
Wilson’s role at iCTC encompasses optimizing the manufacturing site’s productivity, improving processes, and collaborating with other teams throughout the organization, including manufacturing operations, quality control, and supply chain. The manufacturing team works with patients’ cells to create the product, quality control ensures all product is safe to be delivered to patients, and supply chain receives the tumors for processing and ships the final product for patient infusion.
Wilson’s educational background in chemistry, internal auditing experience, Six Sigma Black Belt Certification from the American Society of Quality, and recognition from the Project Management Institute as a Project Management Professional all lend to her expertise in operations management.
“It’s really exciting to be able to integrate the whole chain. Before, we were only using contract manufacturing organizations to create our product and test it,” said Wilson. “So I see it as a way that Iovance can create and test results. This brings many benefits as we can help with controlling the whole [manufacturing] process all the way through.”
This crucial oversight of Iovance’s process is what drives Wilson’s ambition to go to work each day. From a young age, Wilson knew that she wanted to help people. After ruling out becoming a physician and pursuing a traditional medical career, Wilson has found her role at Iovance to be the perfect fit.
“I think that’s one of the things about cell and gene; you’re really on the forefront of cancer research and development. I mean, how often do people get to say that they’re helping with something that impactful?” said Wilson. “You look at paramedics, doctors, first responders – those are things I found weren’t good fits for me. So I can still use my skill set, but still help with the same mission.”
Wilson encourages others looking to pursue meaningful work to consider the cell and gene therapy industry in order to affect real change and create meaningful results.
To explore career opportunities in cell and gene therapy in the Greater Philadelphia region and join Wilson and thousands of others in the mission to bring groundbreaking therapies to patients, visit Select Greater Philadelphia’s new job search tool here.