Merck KGaA, Darmstadt, Germany
Merck KGaA, Darmstadt, Germany

Gene Lee

Director and US Head of Protein and Cell Sciences (PCS), in Billerica, MA
Joined EMD Serono in August 2009

What made you join EMD Serono?
I was ready for a challenge. The company offered me an opportunity to take a leadership role that not only leveraged my experience and expertise in cell line development, but also allowed me to broaden the scope of my responsibilities in areas that I had not led before. I was also attracted by the prospect of working closely with Research, having spent much of my professional career in a Development organization.

What are your current responsibilities?
I’m the head of a department (Protein and Cell Sciences) that has a number of core functions, all related to the progression of promising biological therapeutic candidates from Discovery Research into pre Development – essentially, getting our biologics ready to go into the clinic. We ensure that our colleagues in Research have high quality proteins for pre-clinical studies; we characterize the proteins to get a good understanding of their biochemical and biophysical structures, and create the manufacturing cell lines that will be used to produce clinical material.

What do you enjoy most about your work?
I enjoy working across so many interesting interfaces – we routinely work in close partnership with our therapeutic areas, and with our colleagues across NBE (new biological entities). We also work closely with various groups within the Global Manufacturing and Supply organization and our formulation development groups. As a result, we are in the unique position to contribute not only to the interesting functional aspects of our biological drug candidates, but also to aspects related to how they can be manufactured as well. I appreciate the opportunity to contribute in ways that touch on both the functional and development aspects of candidate drugs.

Which skills are most important for your work?
I find that a highly valuable skill is collaboration – both a willingness to collaborate, as well as actively seeking collaborative opportunities. Success in this industry is not possible without many moving parts working together in unison. In an environment where there are multiple projects competing for resources and following strict timelines, collaboration makes it possible to move forward. Collaboration also extends beyond project teams – it can make the workplace more efficient and effective, and help to foster an esprit de corps. Collaboration combines many skills/values that are important – teamwork, communication, transparency – and in my job, it is an essential “force multiplier” to help ensure that I can accomplish all the things that need to get done!

Which 3 items are most important at your workplace and why?
1) My team – I’d be nowhere without the talented scientists in our department! I am very fortunate to work with people who are dedicated and motivated, and committed to the success of the company, but who also have helped to create a friendly and productive workplace.
2) My computer – It’s indispensible for keeping up with all of the information that crosses my desk on a typical day: project updates, department presentations, coordination and communication with many departments within our global research organization, external collaborations, and regular updates from Legal/Finance/HR/Facilities… all before 10am! Which leads me to…
3) My coffee mug – One cup of coffee is not nearly enough to keep me going every day!

The current Employer Branding campaign claims “MAKE GREAT THINGS HAPPEN”.
What does this mean for you?

To me, it means two things. As employees of EMD Serono, we are all dedicated to making great things happen for our most important customers – the patients. We can also make great things happen for ourselves – through career growth, through volunteering opportunities, through contributing to a cleaner environment – and the company has been very supportive of these efforts. Having the ability to make a difference in so many ways, makes this a great place to work!


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Publication of Merck KGaA, Darmstadt, Germany.
There are two different, unaffiliated companies that use the name MERCK. Merck KGaA, Darmstadt, Germany, which operates this website, uses the firm name “Merck KGaA, Darmstadt, Germany,” in the United States and Canada, and also uses “EMD Serono” in biopharma, “MilliporeSigma” in life science and “EMD Performance Materials” in materials business. The other company, Merck & Co., Inc. holds the rights in the trademark MERCK in the United States and Canada. Merck & Co. is not affiliated with or related to Merck KGaA, Darmstadt, Germany, which owns the MERCK trademark in all other countries of the world.   To reflect such fact and to avoid any confusion, certain logos, terms and business descriptions of the publications on this website have been substituted or modified, such as by referring to “Merck KGaA, Darmstadt, Germany” instead of “Merck” standing alone.  Publications on this webpage, therefore, slightly deviate from the otherwise identical versions accessible outside the United States and Canada.