Foundation Medicines European subsidiary is located within the Roche Campus in Penzberg, Germany, just a couple of miles south of Munich. Roche Penzberg is one of Europe’s largest biotechnology centers, employing around 6,200 people from over 50 nations. Its strategic geographic position reflects its vast business importance. Besides offering comprehensive genomic profiling for different types of malignancies to cancer patients in Europe, the team in Penzberg also synergistically operates with Roche, as well as collaboration partners in Europe and worldwide. This makes the Penzberg site an important hub for many of Foundation Medicines international activities. Roche nurtures a collaborative corporate culture which promotes and supports open-minded thought and activity. This environment harmonizes perfectly with Foundation Medicines core values and culture, combined with a great emphasis on personal and professional development.
The Foundation Medicine laboratory in Penzberg was initiated in January 2017 and launched for commercial diagnostic, i.e. comprehensive genomic profiling for cancer patients, in October 2017. In addition to laboratory operations, the site functions as hub for internal collaborations and partnerships. The central location in Europe and within the Penzberg campus allow for a strong synergy between Foundation Medicine, various national and international partners and Roche.
The Foundation Medicine team in Penzberg consists of several groups, such as Laboratory Operations, Client Services & Accessioning, Computational Biology, Quality Assurance, Automation Engineering, Project management, Finance and IT. Starting with only 4 employees in January 2017, the team has grown to almost 60 employees in March 2020 (from 6 different nations) and continues to expand in size! Many of the Roche amenities on campus can also be used by Foundation Medicine employees, such as the gym, canteen, and bus services.
Accessioning, Foundation Medicine Penzberg, Germany
Accessioning technicians are the first touch point when a patient’s tissue or blood sample arrives at Foundation Medicine’s lab site in Penzberg, Germany. When the sample arrives, accessioning is responsible for performing an initial quality check of the received material and completing the accompanied paperwork. Once this check is administered, the data is entered into Foundation Medicine’s system to initiate tracking throughout the sample's journey. Subsequently, the sample is passed along to the Laboratory team, where it is tested with the appropriate comprehensive genomic profiling assays. In addition, our Penzberg lab processes a larger number of samples that are submitted to our site for research purposes. Once a sample has been successfully processed in the lab and a Foundation Medicine test medical report is available, residual material is sent back to the submitting pathology or oncology department. At the conclusion of this process, the accessioning team performs a final quality check and prepare the specimen for send-off. We are flexible individuals who thrive in a small team setting and work well in a fast-paced environment.
Client Services, Foundation Medicine Penzberg, Germany
Foundation Medicine’s Client Services team acts as an important communications bridge between Foundation Medicine teams, such as the Laboratory Operations team and the Accessioning team, and external partners, including ordering physicians and pathologists. The team’s tasks include providing education, guidance, and support to customers and patients. Client Services is also responsible for the successful transmission of the medical report. Providing testing status updates and supporting customers with their requests is all part of the successful customer service experience. What makes the tasks of the Client Services team in Penzberg special is working hand in hand with the Roche costumer care team. Together with Roche and other Foundation Medicine sites, the Client Services team is constantly improving processes to increase customer satisfaction. Working collaboratively with physicians, oncologists and pathologists is integral in achieving Foundation Medicine’s mission to transform cancer care. We want to ensure a reliable, proactive and professional experience for patients and physicians.
The collaboration between our teams in Penzberg, as well as our colleagues in Cambridge, Research Triangle Park, San Diego and Palo Alto, shows we are one team with one mission throughout our locations.
Computational Biology, Foundation Medicine Penzberg, Germany
The Penzberg Computational Biology team is responsible for developing annotated genomic profiles of somatic aberrations based on massively parallel sequencing (NGS) data, in the context of studies of cancer -patient samples. We are always focused on delivering timely results to physicians. This requires a deep understanding of NGS bioinformatics and cancer genetics, strong organizational skills and a proactive attitude. In addition to working on the genomic profiles of patients, we are developing advanced computational methods, analyzing and visualizing research and operations data, and participating in validation studies.
International Operations, Foundation Medicine Penzberg, Germany
Since its establishment in Penzberg, the International Operations team has played a crucial role in expanding the reach of Foundation Medicine assays to different countries, on different continents, ranging from close partners in Switzerland, to long-distance collaborations with partners in Israel and China. The International Operations team has grown and to date it consists of valued members including a manager and project manager, a team of bioinformaticians, scientists and quality assurance experts. The multi-disciplinary team performs various functions to accompany international collaborators in all steps of our product qualification and launch to market. This includes establishing, maintaining and growing relationships with affiliate institutions, and providing guidance to facilitate the set-up of the assay workflows. Many of these functions are carried out remotely but a laboratory training happens in person to ensure that each step of the assay workflow is understood and performed according to Foundation Medicine standards.
Laboratory Operations, Foundation Medicine Penzberg, Germany
Our Penzberg Lab team consists of ambitious and dedicated molecular technologists. Every day, we are working toward delivering high quality molecular insights by performing next generation sequencing-based comprehensive genomic profiling tests. We work in close interaction with all other operational functions, such as the accessioning team, client services, pathologists and computational biologists.
The sample journey starts when the accessioning team delivers the specimen to the lab team. Our tissue test, FoundationOne CDx, relies on formalin-fixed, paraffin embedded tissues samples. Thin sections of those tissue specimens are prepared, stained and reviewed by a pathologist, who is assessing quality, tumor content and confirming disease type. Subsequently, several consecutive steps are necessary to prepare the sample for automated DNA extraction. A quantification assay is then performed to ensure an adequate yield of DNA as input amount for further downstream processes. During library construction and hybrid capture, our technicians perform a multitude of different processing steps using automated liquid handlers to prepare the patient samples for next generation sequencing, which completes wet lab processing. Once sequencing is accomplished, data is analyzed by a team of computational biologists and bioinformaticians. The working spirit within the Penzberg Lab team is marked by a close interdisciplinary collaboration across all the international Foundation Medicine sites, as well as within the complete team at the Penzberg site.
Quality Assurance, Foundation Medicine Penzberg, Germany
The International Quality Assurance team is a flexible team of talented individuals with various professional backgrounds from the diagnostic and pharma world. We provide guidance to many different areas of the company in a collaborative, solution-oriented way and in alignment with the organizational strategic direction.
In our daily work, we ensure that the services we provide for physicians and partners meet the company and international quality standards. We also strive to continuously improve our company’s efficiency by determining system improvements and implementing positive changes.
The solutions-focused spirit in our communication with other departments in Penzberg, our colleagues in the U.S., and our global customers makes our daily work very rewarding. We also support our international partners at affiliate sites in Switzerland and China and other international projects with technology transfer activities, trainings, across sites proficiency testing, pre-accreditation activities and audit inspections, among many other tasks.
We have diverse quality assurance responsibilities and like to work in a challenging and dynamic work environment with a focus on getting the highest quality insights to physicians.
Technology, Foundation Medicine Penzberg, Germany
The Penzberg Technology team is tirelessly working on providing the hardware and software resources and tools required to help physicians make more informed decisions about their patients’ care. We are working with cutting edge technologies to create and maintain both local and cloud-based infrastructure and software products following agile principles. Close collaboration with both our Penzberg and U.S. colleagues is at the heart of our daily business, making teamwork, curiosity and innovation among our key assets.