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Women in Pharma® Member of the Quarter: Gaelle Saint-Louis

Gaelle Saint-Louis
Women in Pharma® Quarterly Member Spotlight: Gaelle Saint-Louis
Gaelle Saint-Louis
Evofem Bioscience

Gaelle Saint-Louis is the Women in Pharma® (WIP) Chair of the ISPE San Diego Chapter. She began her involvement with ISPE as the Young Professional (now Emerging Leaders) Chair for the Greater Los Angeles Chapter in 2019. After relocating to San Diego, she took on a leadership role within the Chapter's Women in Pharma committee. Professionally over the past three years, her career has grown exponentially, and she is now the Director of Manufacturing for Evofem Biosciences. She was recently peer-nominated by multiple members from the California ISPE Chapters regarding her remarkable execution of their latest joint Women in Pharma event during the annual ISPE Volunteer Week.


Can you tell us about your career?

I began my career working in validation for Confab Laboratories, J&J, and Sandoz in the Montreal region of Canada. When I moved to the US from Canada, I spent five years at Azzur Group, starting as a Sr. Validation Specialist. Azzur helped me to expand my skill set by moving me to Project Management and then to Director of Client Relations.  

Currently, I am the Director of Manufacturing for Evofem Biosciences. I spend my time flying from my base in San Diego to sites in Texas, Seattle, and Canada. Working at a small company requires me to wear several hats. My responsibilities include managing pharmaceutical manufacturing and compounding, process improvement, clinical and commercial supplies, packaging, and validation activities. Last year I was in charge of the implementation of a new fill line with a CMO and am now working on technology transfer and adding CMO in Canada. Before my current role, I spent two years at Evofem as Sr. Manager of Technical Operations. 

Evofem Biosciences is a commercial-stage biopharmaceutical company focused on unmet needs in women's health. While in development for several products, Evofem has a product on the market, Phexxi®, which is a hormone-free gel for the prevention of pregnancy. 

What prompted you to get involved with Women in Pharma in your community?

I work for Evofem, which is a leader in Women's healthcare. I am all about helping to empower women. I consider myself a lifelong learner. I joined Women in Pharma to further my technical knowledge while connecting and collaborating with other like-minded women in the industry.  I've always had a passion for helping others. Women in Pharma allows me to give back to my community by serving as a mentor.

If you could give career advice to a young professional who dreams of making their way into the pharmaceutical industry, what would it be? 

Believe in yourself! Don't limit your growth potential; explore other career options outside of the traditional positions. Sometimes those steppingstones teach us the best lessons because they force us to adapt and learn new skills, which will only strengthen our ability as we advance in the industry.

What is one of the greatest challenges you have overcome in your career?

Getting peers and colleagues to understand the value and knowledge I bring to the position/department/company.

Can you share details about the recent joint California WIP event, "Women at Biotech Frontiers?"

In March, I took the lead role representing the ISPE San Diego Chapter, working with the Women in Pharma Chairs of the other two ISPE California Chapters: Shalom Sunny and Thao Nguyen (LA) and Anamica Srinivasaragavan (SF) to offer a half-day session: Women at Biotech Frontiers. This was a joint event to celebrate the idea of breaking down barriers and supporting female pharmaceutical professionals. Women are continuing to bring significant technical contributions to the frontiers of biotech. 

The goal for this session was to have a platform to highlight groundbreaking and innovative technical contributions from female leaders in our industry. This was the first time in ISPE's Women in Pharma history that we had an event between three chapters in person and virtual happening simultaneously. Each Chapter hosted one of the high-level female presenters, a local group of ISPE Members, and other participants.

The event organization was quite challenging but also very gratifying. Feedback from participants made all the hard work pay off as we heard how much they were inspired by the presenters and enjoyed networking with others in the industry.

Has your experience with ISPE helped you in your career in any way, and if so, can you please explain?

ISPE has helped to increase my professional knowledge and network within the industry. Not only has ISPE been a vital instrument for me professionally, but I have also met some very dear friends. Additionally, ISPE provided many opportunities for me to expand upon my technical knowledge which enables my ability to understand my client's needs.