Featured Researcher : Cathryn Shaw-Reid – Bristol Myers Squibb
Vice President, Global Drug Substance Biologics Operations
Based in Devens, MA., Cathryn serves as the vice president, Global Drug Substance Biologics Operations at Bristol Myers Squibb, where she oversees the strategy and operations for the entire global network of drug substance biologics manufacturing locations including Devens, MA., Syracuse, NY., and Cruiserath, Ireland. Her team plays a pivotal role in delivering Bristol Myers Squibb’ approved medicines to people with cancer and other diseases and making available investigational treatments to clinical trial participants.
“At Bristol Myers Squibb, one of our values is urgency,” said Cathryn. “We move together with speed and quality because patients are waiting.”
Prior to her current role, Cathryn served as general manager of the Devens Process Development and Manufacturing site for a year and a half. Despite challenges and uncertainty caused by the COVID-19 pandemic, Cathryn steered her team through the completion of multiple construction projects, allowing Bristol Myers Squibb to expand its physical footprint and boost the size of its workforce to above pre-pandemic levels. This has ensured the stability and continued flow of medicines to patients. Additionally, Cathryn has helped Bristol Myers Squibb’s biologics sites improve manufacturing processes to more efficiently produce some of the company’s most prescribed medicines.
Cathryn has called Massachusetts home for many years, having completed her MS in chemical engineering practice and PhD in biochemical engineering at MIT and her postdoctoral degree at Harvard Medical School. She began the first five years of her industrial career at Merck (MRL) followed by 16 years at Amgen, where she advanced from a principal scientist to an executive director of Manufacturing, before joining Bristol Myers Squibb in 2020.
Interests and Expertise
Cathryn uses her vision and leadership capabilities to open the door for those who have traditionally been excluded from the biopharma space. She serves as the sponsor for the Devens site’s Black Organization for Leadership and Development (BOLD) group and participates in the Bristol Myers Squibb Network of Women (B-NOW). As part of these commitments, Cathryn participates in internal and external thought leadership events; she offers advice and encouragement to employees from traditionally underrepresented backgrounds to help them network and navigate their experiences in the industry.
“When I joined Bristol Myers Squibb, I knew I wanted to bring my authentic self as an African-American to work in a way I had never quite done before,” Cathryn said. “This has meant talking about issues or myself, my family or my history in a way I had previously hesitated to do. I gathered m y courage and decided to show up just as I am, and if I feel like it’s important to talk more about race or gender, then I do so. My story has value, whether related to race and gender or not, for all men and women, and particularly for people of color in this organization.”
Additionally, Cathryn spearheaded the launch of Bristol Myers Squibb’ first-of-its-kind apprenticeship program with the Massachusetts Biotechnology Education Foundation (MassBioEd). The program has recruited 80 participants, primarily unemployed and under-employed individuals from historically excluded communities, especially those impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic. It aims to help them gain industry-recognized skills and work experience in biomanufacturing, providing them with career opportunities at sustainable wages in a highly specialized line of work.
Outside of work, Cathryn volunteers as a mentor and has supported the Scientist Mentoring & Diversity Program (SMDP), taking on relationships with diverse graduate student participants, giving them the opportunity to have one-on-one conversations with an industry leader and engage in career development workshops. In her free time, Cathryn is an avid reader and film fan. In 2021, Cathryn was named as one of the Worcester Business Journal’s Outstanding Women in Business.