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Krannert Summer Intern Emilia

Emilia C at Roche in Indianapolis

MBA Student

MBA Marketing Intern – Custom Biotech

Indianapolis, IN

This summer I worked at Roche Diagnostics, the diagnostic division of Hoffman-La Roche which manufactures equipment and reagents for research and medical equipment diagnostic applications. Roche Diagnostics is organized into five major business areas: Roche Applied Science, Roche Professional Diagnostics, Roche Diabetes Care, Roche Molecular Diagnostics, and Roche Tissue Diagnostics (Ventana). All business areas except Roche Applied Science focus on health care applications, mainly targeting physicians, hospitals, and consumers. Roche Applied Science targets research settings in academia, pharmaceutical and biotechnology industries.

At Roche, I was lucky to be placed in an internship role where I was able to use both my biological engineering research and manufacturing background along with my newer business skills. The internship role was in the Custom Biotech division which is similar to the Roche Applied Science business area, however, very unique to Roche – no other company has a similar set up. Custom Biotech is a division that offers a range of innovative products and services for the biopharma, cell therapy, and in vitro diagnostics markets, customizable to meet customer’s unique quality and regulatory needs. Custom Biotech provides Roche raw materials to Roche’s competitors. This division is run with an entrepreneurial mindset by looking into underdeveloped markets whereas the other business areas of Roche have established markets within the hospital segment.

At the beginning of my internship, I aided in the glycoengineering campaign by conducting lead generation of a few hundred contact names in academic research, biotech and pharma market segments. My main project began shortly after this campaign which was to determine the market opportunity for GMP (Good Manufacturing Practices) Growth Factors. Growth factors are important regulators of cell responses in all living organisms. They enhance cell growth, stimulate cell differentiation and multiplication, increase growth rates, reduce/remove waste products, and stabilize cell cultures. Some applications of growth factors include media supplements, medications, stem cell technology, therapeutic antibody production, and vaccine production. In our project, we were looking for a very specific part of the growth factor market – GMP (serum-free, animal-free) and growth factors used as additives (not direct injection).

What are some outcomes the organization will have from your internship experience?

The goal of the project was to provide input to Roche global management in Basel, Switzerland about the GMP growth factor opportunity in the US market. By quantifying this opportunity, we will have current menu expansion of our product portfolio and a make or buy decision of GMP growth factor technology.

What has been the most challenging part of your internship?

At the beginning of the internship, I was told that I would be conducting secondary market research.  This quickly changed, however, once I realized that there was no data or market research specifically on the GMP growth factor market. This led me to begin primary market research which was both challenging and exciting. Challenging because an outside organization conducted Custom Biotech’s primary market research which meant that everyone in the department was familiar only with secondary market research. This was exciting because I was able to carve a path for the department’s future primary market research conducted in house. I enjoyed working with various individuals from marketing analytics and the sales representatives that helped deploy a survey to over 120 Custom Biotech customers. 

How has the experience been interning at a large organization?

Interning for the number one company in the in vitro diagnostics industry and one of Fortune magazine's top 100 companies to work for was an amazing experience. With an intern cohort of 52, 16 of which were Purdue students, the formal internship program was one of the best parts of the internship. There were numerous events each week, put on not just by the Roche HR department but also by the four intern committees (Professional Development, Community Service, Documentary, and Social). I had the opportunity to be the president of the Professional Development Committee and organized a summer intern newsletter, numerous lunch and learns with vice presidents from Custom Biotech and Government Affairs, Toastmasters elevator pitch workshops, and a past intern panel.