Laguna Source in Korea 2019

Flying over Korea 2019

We began our trip in the beautiful southern city of Busan. With over 3.5 million people, Busan is South Korea’s second largest city and seaport. It’s know for its beaches, hot springs, nature reserves, seafood and annual international film festival.

It was a quick 24 hour stop, but we saw everything in Busan from the Haedong Yonggung Temple by the sea to the world famous Haeundae Beach. You can shop for everything from Gangnam Style socks, BTS calendars, animal themed face masks and colorful stationary at the Gukjie Market. Busan is a food city and the seafood is outstanding! A local specialty is Korean BBQ style clams and sashimi style raw fish at the Jagalchi fish Market.

We took the 9am KTX (Korea Train Express) high speed train from Busan to Incheon. Our plan was to take a cab from Seoul, but when we stopped at Gwangmyeong, we realized it was just a 20 minute cab ride to Songdo. Door to door it was under a 3 hour trip from Busan to Songdo. Anyone know what movie I watched on a train from Busan?

It was great to meet new Expat friends and their families and always fun seeing our friends we’ve known for many years. Chef Eddy from Toronto, still beaming from his Raptors Championship, opened his doors again for a fantastic happy hour and dinner. Songdo City Restaurant & Bar is a favorite hangout among the Songdo Expat community with a fantastic selection of domestic Korean & American craft brews, buffalo wings, chips & guacamole, creative burgers and pizzas. And just down the road is the world famous Cinder Bar. Owner Warren from New Zealand makes everyone feel like an old friend at home when they walk through the door. There’s an excellent selection of food, craft brews, cocktails and of course cheers. It was wonderful to hear of everyone’s adventures and travels to places such as Japan, Philippines, Guam, Thailand, Shanghai, Vietnam, Cambodia and Australia.

We enjoyed a fantastic lunch with our friends Heather and Soleiman from Chadwick International School. Coreanos Kitchen is in the new Songdo Triple Street Mall and serves Mexican Korean fusion dishes such as galbi short rib burritos and kimchi nachos. Chadwick International (CI) is an independent coeducational non-denominational K-12 international school. It is the sister school of Chadwick School, a premier independent K-12 school in Palos Verdes, CA. The faculty consists of over 70 international teachers providing a 7:1 student -to-teacher ratio and offering everything from AP and International Baccalaureate curriculum, World Languages, Athletics, College Counseling, Community Service, Global Opportunities, Outdoor Education, and Performing & Visual Arts.

Songdo’s many parks offer miles of pristine running trails and bike paths. The paths are well marked, safe from cars and easy on your feet. The New Songdo City and Incheon Free Economic Zone (IFEZ) is a master-planned metropolis and International Business District. The city is a model of sustainable green living, city-scale development, and innovation. The city has become a vibrant and attractive destination within Korea with world class shopping, restaurants and parks.

We were fortunate to visit the Samsung Biologics campus and manufacturing plants. It was wonderful to spend time and visit with the friendly team members. Samsung Biologics is now the World’s Largest Biologics CMO with 362,000L total mammalian cell culture manufacturing capacity with expanding Clinical Development Contract Manufacturing Services.

The ICN airport is just 20 minutes from Songdo and is consistently rated the best airport worldwide by Airports Council International. It is also rated as the world’s cleanest airport and the world’s best international transit airport by Skytrax. The airport has a golf course, spa, private sleeping rooms, an ice skating rink, casino, indoor gardens, video game center and a Museum of Korean Culture. Check in, security & customs lines move fast. Traveling to and from major US Cities, European Cities and popular Asian destinations is easy living within proximity to a major worldwide hub. And you never know what’s going to happen with the Museum of Korean Culture.

Want to learn more about living and working in Korea as an Expat? It’s an amazing opportunity to gain valuable international career experience while working with a fantastic friendly group of over 100 American Global Employees. Multiple Expat positions are immediately available and the general requirements include:

  • 8+ years of BioPharma industry experience working on biologic therapeutics including monoclonal antibodies, recombinant proteins or biosimilars. Experience working on mAb drug development or large scale/commercial biologics Manufacturing or Quality related BioPharmaceutical industry expertise preferred.
  • BioPharma expertise in Upstream Cell Culture, Downstream Purification, Analytical Development & Bioassays, MSAT (Manufacturing Sciences and Technology), Drug Product Fill/Finish, CMO Project Management, Business Development, Validation and Commissioning, New Biologics Facility Startup, Clinical Development, GMP Quality Assurance or Quality Control.
  • Desire to live and work in South Korea for a minimum of 3 years. You must have an adventurous spirit and open to working within a multi-cultural environment.

Key Expat Benefits include a company paid apartment in Songdo and International School Tuition at the fantastic Chadwick International School – Class of 2018 Seniors are now attending top Universities including Cornell, UC Berkeley, Columbia University, Princeton and NYU!

Additional info about Living and Working in Korea as a Global Employee is at –
You can also view more photos at –

A spotlight on Laguna Source working on the fight against COVID-19

In the midst of 2020, it’s all hands on deck within the Biotechnology, BioPharma and Pharma industries in the fight against COVID-19. Industry companies, governments and international organizations are racing fast and working together in efforts to develop and manufacture vaccines, therapies and testing capabilities. 

As of today, 161 vaccines are in development and 10 are now in clinical testing. In efforts to successfully vaccinate every person around the world, multiple vaccine platforms, technologies and manufacturing processes are necessary, including DNA-Based vaccines, Inactivated Virus Vaccines, Live Attenuated Virus Vaccines and Non-Replicating Viral Vector Vaccines. The following vaccine tracker is a fascinating overview of the development process in real time. Check it out by clicking this link:

Novavax based in Gaithersburg, MD, is a leading innovator of recombinant protein vaccines. Last week, Novavax was awarded $60 million in funding from the US Department of Defense for the manufacturing of NVX-CoV2373, a vaccine candidate engineered from the genetic sequence of SARSCoV2, the virus that causes COVID-19 disease.  

Laguna Source is excited to continue helping Novavax recruit top talent and is currently engaged to work on key positions including…

Alliance Program Manager in Gaithersburg, MD. This is an exciting project leadership opportunity responsible for working closely with US Government organizations and Non-Profit Organizations including BARDA, DOD, CEPI and the Gates Foundation. 

Novavax is also collaborating with fellow Maryland BioPharma company Emergent BioSolutions in an agreement to utilize contract development and manufacturing (CDMO) services to support development of Novavax’s novel experimental COVID-19 vaccine candidate. Emergent will produce the COVID-19 experimental vaccine candidate within their local CDMO and CMO facilities.

Laguna Source is also excited to help Emergent BioSolutions recruit top talent for key positions in their Bayview MD manufacturing facility including…

Sr Manager, QC Biochemistry in Baltimore, MD. This is a key opportunity to lead a team of employees responsible for QC Biochemistry laboratories, stability testing, and method transfer of therapeutic bulk drug substance and final drug product. 

Emergent Biosolutions recently announced an agreement with Johnson & Johnson to support the manufacturing of J&J’s lead vaccine candidate for COVID-19 that leverages the AdVac® and PER.C6® technologies from the Janssen Pharmaceutical Companies of Johnson & Johnson. To support Johnson & Johnson’s goal of supplying one billion doses of a COVID-19 vaccine, a long-term commercial manufacturing agreement is under negotiation for large-scale drug substance manufacturing anticipated to begin in 2021.

We are also working with Emergent Biosolutions on multiple Sr Manufacturing Associate positions for both Upstream Cell Culture and Downstream Purification manufacturing. These are wonderful opportunities for early career professionals to immediately make an impact in the fight against COVID-19. Basic requirements are 1 year of Upstream Cell Culture, Downstream Purification or GMP manufacturing experience.

San Francisco Bay Area Immunology company Vir Biotechnology recently selected South Korea based Samsung Biologics for large-scale production of antibodies to potentially treat Covid-19. Under the terms of the alliance, Samsung Biologics will offer manufacturing services for Vir’s monoclonal antibody (mAb) programme targeting the novel coronavirus, SARS-CoV-2.

Laguna Source is partnering with Samsung Biologics in Songdo, South Korea and recruiting for Senior level Global Expat positions in Downstream MSAT, Quality Control, Project Management and Business Development. 

In the midst of these trying times, Laguna Source is committed to utilize our resources to help our partner companies meet the demands for development and manufacturing of therapies and vaccines. Please reach out if you’d like to learn more about our targeted recruiting services or positions available helping fight against COVID-19.

Recruiting in a Pandemic

Companies are rapidly adapting new practices by the hour to make the best of the current business conditions impacted by the widespread COVID-19 pandemic. During these unprecedented times, it is essential for companies to take all necessary measures to protect the health and safety of their employees and visitors. Many key jobs in Manufacturing Plants, Laboratories, Healthcare, Hospitals and in the Supply Chains require employees to work on site and are even more essential to meet rising demands. 

Preventative measures change daily. With new self quarantine, social distancing and travel advisory guidelines, conducting face-to-face interviews is not the best practice. So What is the plan for continuing a recruiting process when a candidate gets to the in-person interview stage? How do companies continue recruiting for key essential and urgent positions,while maintaining the ability to attract top talent?

We’ve been on the phone with clients locally in Southern California, out of state, and in South Korea.This has been a learn-as-we go week for everyone. Here are a few things we’ve noticed:

  • Companies still need to recruit for key positions in Manufacturing Plants, Laboratories and Hospitals, where employees need to work on site. They also plan to continue recruiting for positions in IT, Sales/Marketing and in Supply Chain Operations, where employees can work remotely.
  • Companies are rapidly adopting video interviews processes in lieu of in-person interviews.
  • Candidates interviewing for positions are open to accepting an offer based on a full virtual interview process without conducting an in-person interview.

Here are a few things companies continuing to hire new employees over the next few months need to consider:

  • Defining, outlining and communicating a business continuity plan, which clearly presents measures taking place to ensure employee safety.
  • Communicating a revised interview process to candidates along with the assurance of best measures to ensure an efficient and safe interview process via phone and video calls.
  • Establishing a streamlined process which incorporates video interviews in lieu of in-person interviews. How can you replicate a plant tour or office tour with a video walk through of on-site locations? Providing a virtual facility tour, plant tour, lab tour or cafeteria tour will absolutely help candidates feel more comfortable about their new work environment AND make for a more fun Facetime call. 
  • Utilizing online presentations or interview seminars during video interviews in a group meeting through Zoom, Slack or other advanced online virtual meeting apps
  • Creating a virtual interview agenda which lists the panel of key stakeholders and decision makers who are conducting the series of virtual “in-person” interviews. The virtual interview itinerary can include links to Skype, Google Hangouts, Zoom or Facetime calls.
  • Identifying the process for making an offer after all virtual interviews are complete. Is your company comfortable hiring a candidate that has not physically met with any employee in-person?
  • Incorporating reference checks to help gauge a candidate’s personality, management style and integrity. This will help assure any decision maker who may not be comfortable hiring a candidate without a prior face-to face meeting.
  • Developing a virtual onboarding plan. Hopefully social distancing and self quarantining conditions will improve over the next few months. If it’s still not safe for employees to work on site in 1-2 months, is your company prepared to on-board a new employee to start work remotely? What new-hire orientation procedures are you able to run in a safe office environment or virtually?

And lastly, here is what candidates who are interviewing over the next few months need to consider:

  • Ask myself the question, am I open to accepting a position without having a face-to-face or in-person interview?
  • What else do I need to see or learn about that I would normally see during an in-person interview? How can I see the inside of the manufacturing plant, labs or office space? If my family needs to relocate, how can I learn more about the schools or local real estate?
  • If I need to relocate for my new job, will I be able to skip a househunting trip?
  • How can I start a new job independently from home or remote?

The development of new diagnostic tests, pharmaceutical treatments and vaccines as well as the continuation of healthcare, manufacturing, and supply chain operations is promising and even more critical. Hopefully it will be back to business as usual soon but until then, businesses will need to adapt new business practices including virtual recruiting operations. Business conditions are changing by the day, hour and minute. Please chime in and share any new business practices you’re seeing which are helping companies and job seekers streamline a safe interviewing process while social distancing. Stay positive, safe and healthy!