Featured Researcher: Odile Smith – Bristol Myers Squibb
Vice President & Site Head
Odile Smith serves as vice president and site head for the company’s Devens, Massachusetts facility. The Devens site includes three distinct manufacturing facilities: a large-scale cell culture facility focused on commercial production, a single-use facility strategically optimized for clinical supply and commercial launch, and a cell therapy facility focused on CAR T production to support cancer patients.
Beyond her site operational responsibilities, Odile enjoys an additional role representing Bristol Myers Squibb in the community, such as interacting with local officials, government agencies and community organizations. She also plays a crucial leadership role for the site’s many employees in building an inclusive culture that encourages all to pursue innovative ideas, develop leadership capabilities and gain valuable, diverse experience to shape their careers.
The Devens site has grown rapidly over the past decade from its start focused solely on large-scale, commercial biologics manufacturing, and today is a growing campus of more than 1,100 employees. A ribbon cutting, which heralded the next phase of growth at Devens, was held at the site in November 2021 for a new cell therapy facility.
In 2022, Odile was awarded Worchester Business Journal’s Outstanding Women in Business Award for her leadership at the Devens site and her contributions to the local life sciences community.
Reflecting on the future plans for cell therapy manufacturing and the broad combination of capabilities of the Devens site, Odile said it’s a facility that offers tremendous opportunities for employees.
“We have opportunities here for them to grow in their careers and have a direct impact on patients we serve,” she said.
Odile joined Bristol Myers Squibb in 2021 from Sanofi Pasteur, where she was head of biologics manufacturing responsible for multiple licensed production buildings, as well as three support groups supplying drug substance for viral and bacterial products for worldwide markets. She also served as senior director of Manufacturing Technology for the company, responsible for process and product development, industrialization, validation and manufacturing assistance. Other roles at Sanofi included project director, CMC leader, director of manufacturing technology, and project leader & operations manager. Before Sanofi Pasteur, she worked for Roche and Rohm & Haas (Dow Chemical).
A native of France, Odile holds a PhD in medicinal chemistry from the University Louis Pasteur, Strasbourg, France, and a bachelor’s in chemical engineering from Ecole Europeenne des Hautes Etudes des Industries Chimiques de Strasbourg, France.
Interests and Expertise
Odile’s career in the biopharmaceutical industry has centered on global manufacturing operations, an area she enjoys for the opportunities and impact it can have for employees and patients.
No stranger to managing manufacturing operations through global health crises, Odile cites her work during the avian flu and swine flu outbreaks as foundational in shaping her understanding of the challenges that can occur in the manufacture of biologics amid pandemic uncertainties and disruptions.
When not working, Odile enjoys raising and showing Briards — a French breed of herding dogs.
Odile and her husband regularly show their dogs at national and international competitions. Her dogs have been champions over the years that have won top awards in the World Dog Show in Paris, “Best of Breed” honors at the Westminster Kennel Club Dog Show and have claimed top prizes at other international and national competitions.