Christopher Good is the Director of Cell and Gene Therapy Logistics at Biocair, the global GDP logistics specialist.
Twenty years ago saw some incredible moments in history, such as completion of the human genome project, the oldest exoplanet found in space and Concorde’s final flight. It was also when Christopher Good joined the Biocair team.
Throughout his career, he has been instrumental in changing the shape of the business and finding ground-breaking ways of building cell and gene therapy logistics. Christopher reflects on his last two decades at Biocair and how the industry has changed during that time.
Christopher Good joined Biocair as a Logistics Coordinator in the company’s Cambridge HQ after graduating with a degree in Chemistry and Chemical Technology.
Although Biocair has always been a life sciences logistics specialist, 20 years ago, the shipment profile differed from what we see today. As the industry has progressed, it has evolved from predominantly shipping pre-clinical and small molecule products, where the company has its deep scientific roots, to focusing on the wider life sciences supply chain, with cell and gene therapy now at the core of the business.
It is not just the focus of the business that has changed. Two decades ago, Cambridge, UK, was the only business location, followed by the addition of the first office in the USA located in Cambridge, Massachusetts, which was supported by a small team.
Staffing overall looked very different, largely based on operations, finance and transport. Employee roles were not defined like they would be today, with employees having a broader remit back then.
For instance, Christopher also supported the compliance team. Within that role, he was involved in a variety of jobs away from the traditional operations side of the business. The three years in this role gave him a great grounding and started to shape his path at Biocair.
Biocair has long been an extension of its customers’ operations. After three years, Christopher was ‘implanted’ at a major customer’s site providing an on-site presence for all specialist logistics queries as well as playing a key role in other areas of the customer’s business, including supporting the logistics of overseas expansion as the customer developed research and manufacturing sites in Asia.
In 2010 Christopher returned to Biocair’s Global HQ in Cambridge to devise a solution and manage work on an implanted medical device recall programme. To this date, this is the world’s largest implanted medical device recall.
Christopher’s career was truly taking off at this point, cemented by a promotion to Solutions Manager. This new role was predominantly project-focused, supporting Biocair’s significant move into clinical trials, an increasing focus area of business for Biocair at that time.
As a Solutions Manager, Christopher set up global processes and coordinated development in other countries for clinical trials. This point in 2015 was a significant moment in Christopher’s career history and for Biocair as he was responsible for handling one of the first commercial launches of a gene therapy.
Cell and gene therapy
Biocair handled a gene therapy clinical trial for a customer seeking FDA approval for commercial launch. Christopher managed this process, supporting the commercial launch and global rollout, and set up further trials throughout Europe, APAC and the US.
What was so significant about this project from the outset was the requirement to develop new packaging solutions and new ways of working globally to support use in the clinical setting whilst maintaining the sensitive product. With all the work and new processes involved, it is a testament to Christopher that Biocair is still managing the product and associated processes to this day.
Having driven and implemented the solution across Biocair’s different offices globally, Christopher moved to his current role as Director of Cell and Gene Therapy Logistics.
In 2018, he became focused on more strategic areas of the business, having identified the need to have a dedicated cell and gene therapy team in place to provide increased support for this exciting area of personalised medicine.
His promotion in February 2020 coincided with the start of the pandemic, which presented a number of challenges when trying to build out teams during a global shutdown. However, as the first team to be established was in the USA, Christopher maximised the opportunity of working from home to adjust his hours to fit into the US schedule.
The setup was followed by building the dedicated European team the following year.
At the beginning of 2022, Christopher became a member of Biocair’s Strategic Leadership Team, supporting the corporate governance of the business.
From an operational point of view, one of Christopher’s proudest moments was supporting the setup of Biocair’s China office. This included in-person meetings with local Biocair customers, followed by providing ongoing training for new local staff in 2007. Fast forward to today, Biocair now has three offices in China which are going from strength to strength, located in Beijing, Shanghai and Guangzhou, driven by the expertise and dedication of the original China team.
In addition, Christopher is proud of his involvement in the design, implementation and ongoing management of the world's biggest implanted medical device recall, which was, and still is, a hugely significant project, being a feature on many countries’ investigative documentary TV programmes at the time.
Finally, Christopher cites the commercial launch of one of the first approved gene therapies in 2015.
However, Christopher is clear that his overall achievements are not about the biggest projects, but those activities that have taken place in the background. This includes Biocair’s wider transformation as a business and ensuring it can realise much of its growth in a sustainable way.
Christopher places much of his success on ensuring that he has actively kept up to date with training and personal development during the whole of his career.
Commenting, he says: “It's vital that training is not something that happens early on but at all stages of your working life. This is particularly important if you are looking to improve your management skills.
The importance I place on development means I spend a lot of time mentoring my team and identifying where they might need support, as well as taking the opportunity to learn from them. At the moment, this includes looking at the importance of cell and gene therapy from a customer point of view and ensuring Biocair’s services address the challenges of this sector.
I am very much focused on driving the team forward and ensuring their continued growth. It's important to focus on the industry, but it's also about creating an environment within Biocair where we can pioneer and help push the business forward.
As well as supporting the team, we will help to grow and develop the business, making sure that our processes, technologies and ways of working are forward thinking.”
One of the biggest challenges faced by Christopher was the 2020 lockdown when commercial flights essentially stopped overnight. Biocair’s challenge as a logistics business was maintaining the supply chain for customers – something that ultimately benefitted the business, highlighting the importance and value of specialist logistics providers but was a real challenge at the time.
Christopher highlights that the pandemic gave supply chain logistics a huge opportunity, with the industry becoming quite prominent in the mainstream media.
He comments: “Being part of a growing business focussed on moving science forward, putting the customer’s needs at the centre of everything we do and doing new things is immensely satisfying. Now, we are leading the way in Cell and Gene therapy logistics and creating new opportunities, and I could not be prouder to be part of it.”