Case studies

Finn is our NAATTC Operations Manager which look at cell and gene therapies, used to help long term management of even cure of disease, often in areas of high unmet medical need.

Finn | Northern Alliance Advanced Therapies Treatment Centre Operations Manager

Northern Alliance Advanced Therapies Treatment Centre (NAATTC)

"It’s brilliant to be working with companies developing leading-edge healthcare, supply chain and informatics products and with hospitals in England and Scotland that are at the forefront of adopting these medicines for patient benefit."

What does the job involve?

Advanced therapies hold great promise for both the treatment of patients with currently chronic or incurable diseases and for the growth of a new life sciences industry.  However, advanced therapies are very different from traditional pharmaceutical medicines and are challenging to implement in a healthcare environment.  I work closely with the twenty partners of the NAATTC to help grow a network in the UK to deliver these new therapies into the NHS.  Our partners include leading biotechnology companies developing advanced therapies, companies developing innovative supply chain and informatics solutions for these temperature sensitive medicines, NHS organisations in the North of England and Scotland and academic institutions.  Day to day activities in this role are varied but revolve around making sure that the project stays on track, reporting to Innovate UK which funds the NAATTC and providing advice and support to the Centre’s two Directors and Executive Team to support the adoption of these medicines across the centre’s geographical reach.

What you love about your job?

It’s very exciting to have a key role in setting up this new Centre and shaping how it runs. I’ve got a very dynamic job which will continue to evolve as the centre becomes more established and starts to deliver its goals.  It’s brilliant to be working with companies developing leading-edge healthcare, supply chain and informatics products and with hospitals in England and Scotland that are at the forefront of adopting these medicines for patient benefit.  I work with a great team in the NAATTC and Newcastle Hospitals, and am proud to be employed by an ‘outstanding’ NHS Trust which is recognised nationally and internationally for the quality and range of its specialist services. I love that my job will make a difference to patients and it’s really motivating to know that my role will contribute, if only in a small way, to helping those very close to home such as my neighbours, friends, colleagues and family.

Proudest moment so far?

The NAATTC is a new centre – we won a competition for funding from Innovate UK and are one of only three such centres in the UK.  It was a huge task to develop a bid in the short time made available, coordinating across the twenty organisations proposed for this consortium – the proudest moment apart from being a competition winner was pressing the submit application button 11 minutes ahead of the deadline!

Any tips for finding a job that you love?

Being interested in what you’re doing has got to be top of the list.  If you’re not sure, try to get some work experience or ask to shadow a role to get a better idea about what’s involved.  Find someone who would be happy to mentor you ie give you advice and share their experience to help you find your way.

Tell us about any travel and / or unusual aspects of the job

Part of the job is to share our learning from the centre - this may involve giving talks at conferences and other meetings – usually within the UK but could be international.  It also means promoting our activities via a variety of social media platforms (not so unusual perhaps but I’ve got to learn to Tweet!) We also have regular review meetings that are held at different sites across the Centre’s geography (usually Leeds, Newcastle, Edinburgh) and we work closely with the Cell and Gene Therapy Catapult (whose job is to help support industry working in this area) and the other two Advanced Therapies Treatment Centres – so we’re outward facing as well as focusing on what the NAATTC does.

What are your usual working hours?

Nominally 08.30-17.00 but this varies hugely according to the needs of the job.

What training is needed for your job?

A science background, with good understanding of the NHS, advanced therapies and project management.  

Why should someone come and work in your department?

Advanced therapies have been identified by the government as important for the economy as well as for patient benefit.  In the NAATTC we’re really working at the forefront with these medicines - joining our project management team will equip people with skills and experience that in the longer term will lead to exciting opportunities within both the NHS and industry.

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