Gael Peron is the Vice President of the Smithers Medical Device Testing
division. Read the press release >
What keeps you busy every day?
Because I’m new in this role, I am keen on learning about the company and its employees. The COVID-19 pandemic has affected this situation since I was only able to spend a couple of weeks in the office before stay-at-home orders took effect. I have yet to meet our colleagues in the United Kingdom in person! But I feel thankful that, through today’s communication tools, we have already been able to build great relationships, and I look forward celebrating with them a few victories.
I am especially focused on learning the specificities of the testing, inspection, and certification (TIC) sector. A large part of that will come from meeting with our clients. I enjoy building relationships, discovering what they need, and deepening my understanding of the industry. Of course, the COVID-19 crisis has affected this part too. But all of us at Smithers are finding creative ways to build and maintain relationships and make sure our clients are getting what they need from us. That is our priority above all else.
Another focus is to work with my team to continuously improve on our service offerings and operations. We just came out of the strategic planning exercise for the Medical Device Testing division. We are planning for growth in the years to come, and expansion factors heavily into our planning process. We want to replicate the success the team has achieved in Europe and broaden our geographic reach.
Who are your clients?
We serve the pharmaceutical
and biotechnology industries, as well as suppliers to those industry segments to a smaller extent. We focus on combination devices, which results from the combination of a drug or active pharmaceutical ingredient and the associated delivery mechanism. A large portion of our activities come from the chemical analysis of the interaction of the drug with its container and the effect of time on that interaction. The other large portion is to make sure that the device will function as it is intended to be used through physical and functional testing.
What trends and changes are you seeing in the medical device industry?
Pharmaceutical companies are balancing many different priorities: Keeping up with the ever-evolving regulations and legislation, adhering to aggressive product development timelines, and making many decisions. Largely established pharmaceutical companies must innovate to fight the erosion of their patent portfolios. Meanwhile, we see a large pool of companies seeking to bring to the market drugs with similar mechanism of action, also called biosimilar
. I am passionate about this field since I studied the production of recombinant proteins. As a result, more and more of them relying on external testing laboratories like Smithers to partner with them throughout the development process so they can make confident decisions.
What sets Smithers apart in this area? What makes Smithers special?
There are three important factors that set Smithers apart.
Does MDT work with the other divisions of Smithers?
- Knowledge. This team is made up of brilliant, dedicated scientists and technicians. We prioritize hiring the best and brightest experts to support our clients.
- Flexibility. We approach each study with an understanding of client needs and a complete dedication to scientific integrity. We can adapt quickly and customize testing programs for highly specific devices.
- Commitment. Our clients can rely on us to deliver their data on time.
Yes. Our services are complemented by our colleagues in the Materials Science and Engineering division, who deliver package
and distribution testing
services for the medical
industries and polymer
material selection and verification. We also collaborate with the Smithers Pharmaceutical Development Services division by offering downstream and complementary services to theirs for drug products.
When you think about the future of MDT, what excites you?
I am very eager to add new services to our portfolio and build a global network of testing laboratories around the world so we can support clients in many geographies. This will enable us to partner with more clients and become their testing “right arm,” supporting their development processes every step of the way.
What do you like best about your job?
As part of a system that delivers critical therapies, we are serving a larger mission of making the world safer. I find this incredibly rewarding.
On a day-to-day basis, I enjoy being surrounded by and conversing with so many bright people and managing the growth of our business.
What were you doing before you joined the Smithers team?
Until Smithers, my career has been in single-use bioprocessing and medical devices for blood and cell therapy. Who would have thought that studying biotechnology would have led me into the manufacturing of highly specialized plastic bags? I started off on the field with sales support and climbed the ladder to eventually become President of Charter Medical for four years. After that, I ventured into contract manufacturing for genetic testing for a short period of time.
How do you spend your time outside of work?
My wife and I bought an older house, which I enjoy fixing up on the weekends. I also exercise daily. As time allows, I enjoy hiking with my family, gardening, golfing, and hunting.