Esteban Tascon, PSM in Biotechnology '16

Delivering Antibodies to Patients

Influencing the end-to-end process

After working for five years as both a Bioprocess Technician and a Campaign Process Specialist for global biotech powerhouse, Genentech, Esteban Tascon ‘16 decided to attend the PSM in Biotechnology program to further his education and knowledge of the biotech industry.

Esteban is now a Project Manager at Genentech, whose role is to bridge the needs of clinical and commercial antibody production between many different departments, including Quality and Process Development. He ensures that a project has everything in place at the right time in order to efficiently produce and deliver needed medicine to patients. Esteban hopes to continue to work his way up the ladder and to make a positive impact at Genentech in any way he can.

Why did you choose USF’s biotech program?
I decided to join the biotechnology program because of the unique curriculum and flexibility offered. It also represented a way to expand my skill set and continue to develop professionally while becoming more marketable in the industry. Working full-time at Genentech, only a program taught at night would work for me.

How did you manage working full-time at Genentech while attending the program?
I knew that I was getting into a big challenge working and studying full time, but it also felt like a great opportunity that I needed to pursue. I was allowed to flex my schedule from time to time and I received nothing but total support from my supervisor. I managed the work load by using my time wisely through project management skills and a lot of coffee! Looking back at it, it was fun to be busy and seeing ultimately how fast each semester went by.

Did Genentech support you during your time in the program?
Absolutely. One of the great perks working for a company like Genentech are opportunities like their tuition reimbursement program, which helps employees financially in their continued educational pursuits. The criteria for approval is simple: will you come back a more prepared individual who adds more value to the team after graduating? The answer was yes, and the company and its leadership had my back.

How did the program help you grow in your career?
The program gave me a wider perspective of the biotechnology industry allowing me to see components beyond science like legal health authority regulations, international law, bioethics, among others that I was not aware of at the time. For example, working in a global organization, it is important to understand regulations for different zones, such as EMA and FDA, and how healthcare is provided differently in the UK than in America, which was important for me to know as a Genentech employee. With this, I have been able to tailor my resume to pursue other opportunities in the company that allow me to continue to help our patients under different roles than production.

What is your favorite memory from your time in the program?
Definitely seeing Professor Moira Gunn use her media experience and giving presentations to all kinds of relevant biotech businesses in London. Not only were we abroad, having access to cutting edge science, but the way she has created such an impressive network of industry leaders around her is amazing.

How do you continue to carry on USF’s mission?
"Doing now what patients need next", as stated in Genentech’s mission, makes my work very personal everyday. Whenever we get good clinical data from studies around the world, it is confirmation that we are making a positive contribution to the world. Delays in the production of our drugs, whether clinical or commercial, represent a risk to patients in need and I directly influence the end-to-end process, so it is a big responsibility, but also a really empowering feeling.