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Ellinoora Koivula, Biovian: Third summer in the pharmaceutical industry

Hi everyone! I am Ellinoora Koivula, and I am currently working for the third summer at Biovian Oy in Turku. Biovian is a Contract Development and Manufacturing Organization of biological medicines, whose customers are mainly companies developing biopharmaceuticals or gene therapies. In other words, we don’t have our own products, but we offer our services to customers through the different phases of projects.

Just over two years ago, I graduated with a Bachelor of Science from the biochemistry degree program at the University of Turku. After that, I continued with my master’s studies in molecular biosciences in the line of cell biology, and now all I have left in my studies is my master’s thesis. Other summer bloggers have shared their reflections on their school choices, and I can relate to these thoughts myself. Medicine and the natural sciences behind it have always interested me, but I have never dreamed of a career as a doctor, for example. In my opinion, biochemistry has been an excellent choice considering this basis, and at Biovian I have been able to see how medicine and natural sciences work together in practice.

I first started at Biovian as a summer employee a little over two years ago in the manufacturing and support functions team. After the summer, I continued working as an hourly employee and I am still on that path. The difference is, though, that nowadays I work in the quality control and analytical development team. For most of my years at Biovian, I have been one of the only hourly employees, so I have been able to do various jobs on a wide scale, wherever help was needed. Currently, most of my working days are spent writing study reports and doing other paperwork.

I already mentioned that my master’s thesis is all I have left in my studies. In addition to hourly work, I have had the opportunity to do my thesis work at Biovian. The subject of my thesis is setting up a monocyte activation test as an analysis method for Biovian. Using the method, it is possible to test pyrogens, i.e., fever-causing substances, in pharmaceutical products and medical devices without experimental animals. The functionality and efficiency of quality control are in a really significant position in the pharmaceutical industry, and it has been great to be involved in developing these elements. It has been easy to do the thesis in the sense that the practices and customs of the company and, for example, working in a GMP environment have already become very familiar to me.

Biovian has grown a lot in recent years. The growth is illustrated by the fact that when I started working a little over two years ago, Biovian had around 100 employees and soon we are already crossing the mark of 200 employees. The work atmosphere at Biovian is really enjoyable, and the coworkers are always helpful. These are some of the reasons why I have liked working here. The work at Biovian is meaningful and responsible, and I feel that my own way of working matches perfectly with the mission “We do what we say”, which is part of Biovian’s Nordic values. From my own point of view, one of the pleasant developments is the increased investment towards summer workers and students. For example, team introductions have been held for summer employees, where the team’s activities have been presented, in addition to which the presenter has told about their own background and career at Biovian. The introductions have helped us to understand the company’s operations across team boundaries and what kind of jobs we could end up in the future.

Enjoy the summer! 🌞

Ellinoora Koivula

Summer employee of quality control and analytical development, Biovian Oy