iSpeak Blog

2022 ISPE International Emerging Leader Hackathon

Yanet Flor
Heather L. Bennett-Kelley
Carolina Isabel Serrano Martinez
Carrie M. McManus
Shakti Nagpal
Brandi M. Stockton
Silas Tamufor
Hamid Teimourian
2022 ISPE International Emerging Leader Hackathon

The 2022 ISPE International Emerging Leader Hackathon officially started on Saturday 29 October 2022 at 0800 EST, but the connections started happening the night before during the Hackathon Reception at Wreckers Bar and Grill in the Gaylord Palms Resort, Orlando, FL USA.

Over 30 ISPE Emerging Leaders, Coaches, and Supporters converged during the Hackathon Reception on Friday 28 October 2022 at 1900 hrs. They were greeted by the Hackathon Task Team members (Haley Durbin, Amanat Kaur, Hamid Teimourian, Heather Bennett-Kelley, and Carrie McManus) and handed a Speed Networking BINGO game card as a conversation starter. The purpose of the game was to encourage the hackers, coaches, judges, and supporters to get to know each other before the Hackathon began the next day. The hackers would be later assigned to teams the next day so this encouraged them to interact with each other as much as possible even if they would not be the same team. The hacker, Yanet Flor, won the game and was awarded a one-year ISPE Membership.

This last week was endless emotions. If someone had told me just a few months ago that I would be in Orlando, Florida living an experience as nourishing as the one I had during this 2022 ISPE Annual Meeting and Expo, I would not have thought it very easy. And I owe this in the first instance to ISPE Argentina and Martin Orcoyen, President of ISPE in Argentina, who was also a coach at the 2022 ISPE Emerging Leader Hackathon together with Christian Wölbeling, Jean François DULIERE, Brandi Stockton, and course my dear coach Paige Kane, Ph.D., CPIP, all sharing their experience and knowledge with the participating teams to develop the best improvement project for Genentech and AstraZeneca who were represented by Maxwell De Long and Hamid Teimourian, respectively. Thanks to all of them for supporting each of the emerging leaders. Also special thanks to event organizers Haley Durbin, Amanat Kaur, EIT, Hamid Teimourian, Heather Bennett-Kelley, Mugdha Apte, Leila Heiba, and Carrie McManus, who created a perfectly timed luxury experience. I can only deeply thank all of them for this incredible experience and each one of the emerging leaders as well as all the professionals at the annual meeting with whom I was able to exchange pleasant conversations, receive advice, or learn.

Quality Manager & Quality Auditor
GMP Check

On Saturday, 29 October 2022 at 0800 hrs EST the hackathon officially kicked off. The 2022 International Emerging Leader Steering Committee Chair, Heather Bennett-Kelley, kicked off the start of the 2022 ISPE International Emerging Leader Hackathon by welcoming the participants, coaches, judges, and guests. Then the 2022 International Hackathon Chair, Haley Durbin, gave an overview of the Hackathon format and schedule. She was followed by Mugdha Apte and Leila Heiba, the Genentech Problem Statement sponsor company representatives who worked for hand in hand with the hackathon task team to develop the Hackathon problem statement.

The Hackathon Problem Statement:

You are a consultant group hired by Genentech to improve the company’s individualized gene therapy pipeline and provide solutions for the new challenges encountered in the Clinical Supply Center (CSC). Please consider the “Factory of the Future” design in your solution and clearly state any assumptions you make. Your team’s solutions should address the related challenges in the following three areas -Regulatory, Supply Chain, and Automation.

The goal for each team was to prepare a 15-20 min PowerPoint presentation of their solution with a 05-10 mins Q&A session addressing all three case studies in the Regulatory, Supply Chain, and Automation areas. Refer to the Scoring Matrix for a detailed breakdown of how the presented solution will be assessed by the judges.

The Hackathon task team member and AstraZeneca Company Sponsor representative, Hamid Teimourian, reviewed the judging criteria to make sure the participants understood the presentation requirements and expectations.

ISPE 2022 Hackathon event was a fantastic experience for me to work with the task team and Emerging Leaders from different countries across the world. AstraZeneca sponsored this event, and I am very proud to work for a company that supports ISPE Emerging Leaders. I also had the opportunity to get to know my peers from other companies, and we look forward to partnering in other areas! Hackathon is a great platform for collaboration between industry & ISPE and I am looking forward to the next event in 2023.

Then it was time to Hack! The Emerging Leaders and coaches went to their assigned tables and started reviewing the hackathon problem statement, supplemental resources, and judging criteria with the guidance of our knowledgeable Hackathon Coaches. Hours went by and ideas were flowing from all directions and brainstorming sheets were being crammed with possible solutions. The Hackathon task team checked in on each team to ensure an understanding of the problem statement.

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The 2022 International Society for Pharmaceutical Engineering Hackathon was an amazing learning and networking experience I will never forget. As a hacker myself and have been in the industry for about a year, I got to connect with great leaders from all over the world within the pharmaceutical industry and learn from their experiences and knowledge to shape my team’s solution. I have 3 main learnings from this year’s Hackathon: 1) ATMPs manufacturing is one of the most complicated manufacturing processes within an already highly regulated industry. It is essential to think through each of the supply chain considerations, automation, and equipment selection to maintain the sterility of such a highly delicate product. ATMPs are specific to the patient, it is not easy to stop the process and restart again since manufacturing starts with the patient sample that has a limited shelf-life. 2) ISPE publishes AMAZING industry guides. As an emerging leader myself, learning how to use these industry guides was an incredible opportunity. I now understand how to search for the information that I need to solve a variety of industry problems. 3) The best teams are multidisciplinary and diverse teams. My team was comprised of people from 5 different countries, including people from industry, undergrad students, and two amazing coaches from 2 different countries. We all had diverse perspectives and ideas that were all blended to come up with a solution that could address the problem statement. After presenting, I attended multiple ATMP manufacturing sessions and saw how the ideas we had were implemented in the industry. Thank you to all the hackathon organizers. It was an incredibly successful event, full of connections, learning, and teamwork!


The hackathon challenged me to look beyond research! I learned how each component of the regulatory, supply chain and automation in manufacturing is an important part of a triad. Truly the industry is moving towards high throughput technology for production. It reflects that we all have a role to play as emerging leaders in pharma.

Later that afternoon as the hackers were entering the home stretch, they started turning their solutions into industry-standard proposal presentations to pitch to the Hackathon judges the next morning. The heat was on while some hackers stayed in the hackathon break-out room until 2100 hrs.

A week ago, I was taking a flight to Orlando, Florida to attend the ISPE 2022 Annual Meeting. I couldn’t imagine when I’d decided to go how many things I would bring with me on my baggage.

I was able to participate in the International Emerging Leaders Hackathon that was held thanks to the sponsors AstraZeneca and Genentech. In those days different students and young professionals from different parts of the world were brought together to solve three problem statements in the field of Cell Therapy. From this I would like to thank my team, the organizers Carrie McManus, PMP Haley Durbin Heather Bennett, MBA Amanat Kaur, EIT, and our coach Paige Kane, Ph.D., CPIP - I cannot be more thankful for all that I have learned. Finally a big thank you to all the ISPE members who dedicated their time to share their knowledge with us - Christian Wölbeling, Martin Orcoyen, Jean François DULIERE, and Brandi Stockton. This experience has brought me not only better knowledge about this industry, but also the chance to meet incredible people from whom I have been able to see how important passion, perseverance, and cooperation among others in anything we are involved. This wouldn’t happen to me without those who have believed in me Beatriz Sacristán Gascón and Ana Maqueda - giving me the chance to apply for the ISPE student grant from which I have been able to travel across the ocean. I can’t be more grateful.

Serving as a coach in the 2022 ISPE International Emerging Leader Hackathon was a Saturday well-spent! It was amazing to look around the room and see the Emerging Leaders realize their potential. It felt like the whole group including hackers, coaches, task team, and even the judges were working together to identify possible solutions.

The next morning on Sunday, 30 October 2022 the Hackers and their coaches huddled together to walk through their presentations before presenting to the Hackathon panel of judges, Maria Amaya, Heike Maxwell DeLong, Zen-Zen Yen, Vivien Santillan, and Ronald Berk. Each team did an amazing job providing innovative solutions to improve Genentech’s individualized gene therapy pipeline and provide solutions for the new challenges encountered in the Clinical Supply Center (CSC).

After the Hackathon, the participants gathered together for group pictures and reflected upon the experience. Friendships were formed and knowledge was exchanged between the students, recent graduates, and industry professionals. The 2022 ISPE International Emerging Leader Steering Committee Chair, Heather Bennett-Kelley, thanked all of the participants and supporters that made the hackathon possible.

Congratulations everyone on another successful ISPE Emerging Leaders hackathon! Thank you to the task team led by Haley Durbin with Amanat Kaur, EIT, Hamid Teimourian, Leila Heiba, and Mugdha Apte. Thank you to our coaches Paige Kane, Ph.D., CPIP, Christian Wölbeling, Jean François Duliere, Brandi Stockton, and Martin Orcoyen. Thank you to our judges Zen-Zen Yen, Vivien Santillan, Maxwell De Long, Ronald Berk, Maria F. Amaya, and Heike Roeder. Of course, thank you again to our sponsors Genentech and AstraZeneca!

Fast forward to Tuesday, 1 November the day of the ISPE Member Awards & Meeting and the day the winning Hackathon team would be revealed. The hackers greeted each other with open arms as the excitement of the awards announcement grew closer and closer.

Then Thomas Hartman, ISPE CEO & President, announced that the winning Team was, BioGatz, with team members, Claire Delmas, Anne Lynch, Emanuel Montanez, Shakti Nagpal, and Silas Tamufor led by their Coach Brandi Stockton. They were filled with excitement, shock, and appreciation as they walked up to the stage to receive their award. The winning team were awarded a complimentary ISPE one-year membership.

I want to acknowledge the outstanding performance of my fellow team members Shakti Nagpal, Anne Lynch, Emanuel Montanez, and Claire Delmas. Meeting for the first time, we only had 24 hours to introduce ourselves, get to know each other, understand the problem, challenge our ideas, and agree on the solution. Special thanks to the guidance of our fantastic coach Brandi Stockton, who incorporated her great leadership personality in every step of the process. The experience is more than winning the ISPE International Emerging Leaders Hackathon; it breaks perceived barriers and sets new possibilities.

Quality Assurance, R&D Clinical Injectable Manufacturing

Overall, the 2022 ISPE International Emerging Leader Hackathon was an invigorative, intense, and memorable experience for the hackers, coaches, judges, and supporters. The team is already looking forward to the 2023 International Emerging Leader Hackathon that will take place during the 2023 Annual Meeting & Expo which will take place in Las Vegas, Nevada USA 14 – 16 October 2023.