"My hope is to increase access to Gene Therapies in the rest of the world," Sid Gupta (2Y, 2023) says.

A Hawryluk Scholar’s Lifelong Passion for Improving Human Health

Established this year, Kellogg’s Hawryluk Scholars Award is given to a group of students with an interest and goals in healthcare, with recipients receiving mentorship from alumni and Healthcare faculty. We connected with award recipient Sid Gupta (2Y, 2023) on his passion for healthcare and how he hopes to make an impact. Here’s what he had to say.

Tell us about your path in healthcare leading up to Kellogg.

I have been interested in human biology for a long time and my high school classes (particularly the labs!) really crystallized this interest into a passion to understand the inner workings of human cells, applying this knowledge to improve human health.

This interest in cell biology combined with an affinity for math led me to a graduate degree in Biomedical Engineering at Johns Hopkins, where I did a lot of research in tissue and stem cell engineering. My first role after grad school was at Lonza, where I combined biological sciences with traditional engineering principles to develop commercial-ready manufacturing processes for next generation therapeutics, such as stem cells.

The experience gained at Lonza eventually led me to an exciting opportunity at Juno Therapeutics where I designed manufacturing processes to take a patient’s own immune cells and genetically engineer them to target their cancer! This was a life-changing experience because of the impact of the work I did and also because I realized that these new genetic therapies needed cutting-edge technology to manufacture — finally leading to my latest role pre-MBA where I was the Global Product Manager at Pall Corporation for a line of bioreactor equipment that is required to manufacture a variety of drug modalities: from monoclonal antibodies to viral vectors to COVID vaccines.

How has this path evolved at Kellogg?

I am currently in my first year at Kellogg and curious about some diverse areas pertaining to Gene Therapy (where a ‘drug’ is used to treat the root cause of inherited diseases by correcting the DNA itself), in particular, the strategy, pricing, and the development of the adjacent manufacturing technology required to achieve economies of scale and automation.

One of the reasons I came to Kellogg is that the faculty, clubs and resources are wide enough that in my first year I can spend time learning more about these areas and then decide which one to immerse myself in for my internship and post-MBA roles. For example, Professor Craig Garthwaite is an expert in the areas of pricing and innovation in the biopharma sector and I cannot wait to take his course on Healthcare Strategy.

I have also been engaged with the Healthcare Club and General Management Club so that I can learn from other students who may have addressed pricing or access for advanced biopharmaceuticals or worked in the manufacturing industry to manage innovation in the pharma manufacturing solutions space.

How have you leveraged the Hawryluk Biopharmaceutical Scholars Program to develop yourself?

I am honored to be in the inaugural cohort of Hawryluk Scholarship recipients. It is early in the program but based on my interactions with the other recipients of the scholarship, it is exciting how much momentum and interest there is at Kellogg in the biopharmaceutical sector. This is reflected in the admitted students, the faculty interests, and club activities.

I am looking forward to developing my relationship with the other recipients as well as the faculty involved in this program. As part of the program, I will also be assigned a mentor from an industry or company that interests me and I think this edge will be very helpful for me to further hone my skills, identify my post-MBA areas of interest and recruit for the companies that interest me.

How do you hope to make your impact in healthcare after Kellogg?

I entered Kellogg with an interest in the intersection of gene therapy and the advanced technologies required to manufacture these gene therapies. Working at Juno and Pall allowed me to see first-hand the life changing impact of genetic therapies, but the process to manufacture these is quite complex, which results in prices that currently restrict access only to the wealthiest nations.

My hope is to increase access to Gene Therapies in the rest of the world, whether that be by directly working in pricing and access at a biopharma company, or indirectly by managing technological innovation at a company that manufactures advanced biopharma manufacturing solutions — hence, making these therapies easier and more cost effective to make.

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