Careers in Biotech: Creating Change and Opportunity

Snehal Patel, Head of Technical Operations at Sana Biotechnology (Sana), discusses his day-to-day work, his experience living and working in Washington, and his passion for promoting diversity and student engagement in the life sciences industry.

Q: Tell us about your position and day-to-day work.

Snehal: As the Head of Technical Operations, I’m involved in many aspects of the department, including process development, analytical development, supply chain manufacturing, technology, regulatory and quality. My predominant goal is to lead my team to translate innovative research from our scientists into medicines that we can deliver to patients.

Q: What about your work at Sana or life in Washington are you most proud of?

Snehal: I’m passionate about mentoring young students and professionals as they explore career options. For example, I’m very proud of the work I’m doing with Shoreline Community College, and soon, University of Washington Bothell. I’m a product of a community college. Back then, I didn’t always know that biotech was a career opportunity for me. I started off in a research lab, and I had no idea it would take me to the heights that I am at today.

I love being able to give back to Washington’s community colleges and show students that there are different avenues and opportunities available to them in biotech. I want to tell young people that you don’t have to become a doctor. There are so many fields and so many ways to make an impact in the industry!

Q: Let’s talk more about Sana. What makes Sana’s technology different from other life science companies?

Snehal: What sets Sana apart is why I’m here. When I first joined the life sciences industry in Washington, I worked at a company that focused on autologous cell therapy, which is the process of taking your T cells, reengineering them and giving them back to you to fight cancer. This process was challenging to scale because you’re making one medicine specifically for each person. This also required a complex supply chain, significant time, and manual resources.

Sana has developed an innovative platform that is designed to serve more patients than autologous cell therapy. By taking healthy donors or healthy T cells, we’ll be able to re-engineer them and serve more patients.

For me, joining Sana has allowed me to create change and give hope to more people. I believe the technology that has been created here has the potential to set us apart from the industry.

Q: Sana recently broke ground on a new manufacturing facility in Bothell. Can you tell us about it?

Snehal: The new facility is approximately 80,000 square feet and will hold between 100 to 200 employees once at capacity. It will support our existing work in cell therapy, and we’ll also have some free space to build and expand on our latest innovations as our technology evolves.

It’s a huge opportunity for the company to have control of our own operations. Right now, we leverage third parties to help make our product, but the new facility enables us to own the production from start to finish. The facility will also present new job opportunities, including entry-level roles, that can enable professionals to learn a new technology – similar to how I got started in the industry.

Sponsored by Life Science Washington and Sana Biotechnology.

Interested in learning more about Snehal’s career at Sana and the many avenues available to those who are looking to join Washington’s life science and biotech industries? Sana is currently hiring for several positions with different experience levels in quality control, manufacturing, technical operations and more. Check out Sana’s career page to learn more.