During my internship I have been working at Genmab, Utrecht, the Netherlands. Genmab is a young (founded in 1999), ambitious company whose activities are located at the overlap of academic research and biopharmaceutical design and production. Genmab has three locations worldwide; Utrecht focuses on research and design (R&D), Copenhagen focuses on clinical trials and houses the headquarters of the company and, lastly, the US focuses on the administrational functions.
At R&D there is not only focus on antibody (mutant) design and testing, but also batch analysis, purification and release. I have discovered that Genmab is a very ambitious company that strives to produce their own products within a 10 year time frame. There are many company events to keep employees motivated, bound to the company and to award them for their input. There are also several (motivational) meetings per year to which all employees are invited. The location at Utrecht houses about 150 employees and is still growing.
During my internship I have been working on screening of certain antibodies that seemed to have great potential in treatment of cancer cells. I have been testing several properties of these antibodies in order to decide if the antibodies were suited to become a lead generation and thus to further be developed. Unfortunately, this was not the case. Therefore, the scope of my project was moved towards a more fundamental issue (mechanism of action) that had been a side-project for a while already. I noticed that I enjoyed the feeling of helping to discover the mechanism of action. It made me feel like I really contributed to the company, more than when I was doing the screening. So I after all I am happy that the antibodies were replaced by a –in my opinion- more interesting topic.
I found that although it I was working in a company working environment, there were still hints towards an academic environment, like Friday afternoon drinks and more focus on research than expected in advance. I surely do not regret diving into the Genmab world for my internship. I have learned many new things during the past months, and I am sure I will benefit from them in my future!