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Dr. Lynne Le Sauteur: Spearheading Innovation in Life Sciences

Dr. Lynne Le Sauteur
Dr. Lynne LeSauteur

Life science is fascinating; it is a field that studies living organisms, their structure, function, growth, evolution, distribution, and interaction with the environment, offering the promise of groundbreaking discoveries and advancements in healthcare. It is this dynamic realm in which Dr. Lynne Le Sauteur, Vice President of Laboratory Sciences at Altasciences, has made significant contributions to the industry. For Dr. Le Sauteur, life science is exciting and provides a sense of fulfillment. This domain has been a lifelong passion for her, driven by the desire to make a meaningful impact on drug development. With over 25 years of experience in biologic drug development, she went from establishing immunology departments to leading teams in research and development. She earned a Ph.D. in Pharmacology and Therapeutics from McGill University in Montréal, Québec.

Dr. Le Sauteur played a pivotal role in establishing the Immunology Department at CTBR, a different contract research organization (CRO), at a time when regulatory guidelines for immunotoxicity and immunogenicity testing were just taking shape. Her focus was on assembling the right team and developing the necessary tests to meet clients’ needs. After 13 rewarding years in that capacity, she had an exciting opportunity to join the Human Health Therapeutics Research Centre at the National Research Council of Canada (NRC). Her work centered on research and development, and the characterization and production of biologics.

During her tenure at the NRC, spanning six years, Dr. Le Sauteur led numerous teams, and spearheaded initiatives aimed at discovering, manufacturing, and characterizing innovative biologics that addressed unmet medical needs. This was achieved through close collaboration with several biopharmaceutical companies. However, her passion for the CRO space drew her back into the fold, and she was irresistibly drawn to Altasciences.

Let’s delve into the journey of a leader—Dr. Lynne Le Sauteur in the enticing sphere of life science.

Dr. Lynne Le Sauteur’s Leadership and Altasciences

Dr. Le Sauteur compares her leadership style to three definitions: transformational, coaching, and democratic. Transformational because she’s all about driving change and always looking for ways to improve delivery. Coaching because she consistently puts the needs of her teams and clients first. Democratic because she takes the time to listen, involves and engages staff to put the best ideas on the table in order to make informed decisions. Underlying all three leadership skills is a very strong emphasis on teamwork where individuals shine in roles that match their strengths and work effectively with colleagues to deliver. This synergy is vital to the success of bioanalytical projects.

Altasciences operates as both a contract research organization (CRO) and a contract drug manufacturing organization (CDMO), offering sponsors in the pharmaceutical and biotechnology sectors flexible support for early-phase drug development, from lead candidate selection to clinical proof of concept and beyond — streamlining the outsourcing process with their one-stop solution. The company offers a wide range of services, including bioanalytical assay development and validation, sample analysis, safety evaluation, formulation development, and clinical testing. Clients can choose individual services or custom suites, potentially reducing project timelines by up to 40%.

Dr. Le Sauteur’s decision to join Altasciences was influenced by a unique combination of factors. The main one was Altasciences’ dynamic, innovation-driven environment. It perfectly aligned with her desire to strategically contribute to laboratory sciences. Furthermore, the company’s unwavering commitment to providing comprehensive solutions, fostering strategic growth, and assembling a team of experts dedicated to scientific excellence, regulatory compliance, and operational proficiency were all factors that motivated her to join. At Altasciences, she saw unrivaled potential for impact.

Bioanalytical Contributions

Dr. Le Sauteur leads the vital departments responsible for generating essential pharmacokinetic and pharmacodynamic data in drug development. She likens her role to that of ship captain, guiding the bioanalytical part of the company’s fully integrated services. A cornerstone of the team’s success lies in bioanalytical expertise, utilizing advanced platforms like mass spectrometry, ligand binding assays, flow cytometry, ELISpot, cell-based assays, PCR, and more. These platforms generate the data needed to help understand what the drug does to the body and what the body does to the drug.

With three advanced laboratories strategically located across North America, exceptional delivery of bioanalytical data to clients is a priority. In addition, these laboratories, are engaged in ongoing evaluation of technological progress, including emerging technologies, equipment and tools, as well as trends for preclinical and clinical bioanalysis. Dr. Le Sauteur and her team have also been assessing how automation may increase efficiency in Altasciences’ bioanalytical departments. All of this ensures that Altasciences is at the forefront of bioanalysis and drug development. With all technological contributions, all departments within laboratory sciences ensure scientific and regulatory compliance, driving continuous innovation by blending technology, rigor, and adherence to regulations.

Increasing Efficiency

In a pivotal project aimed at enhancing the efficiency of bioanalytical services, Dr. Le Sauteur and her team are actively pursuing automation. The scope of automation projects spans from individual assay steps to comprehensive automation of entire assays or platforms, including enhancements for specific software used in bioanalysis. Operationally, a dedicated team is spearheading this endeavor, working closely with experts throughout Altasciences. A key driver of this initiative lies in the inclusive approach adopted by the team; the involvement of all relevant teams and stakeholders within the organization is crucial. This inclusive approach ensures that there is a coherent and comprehensive understanding of the challenges and opportunities presented by automation and that it aligns with client needs. Transparent and direct communication channels are integral, facilitating the sharing of challenges, as well as celebrating achievements. A well-defined roadmap guides the project’s trajectory, providing clarity and direction to all involved parties and enabling Altasciences to make meaningful progress in this endeavor.

Challenges as Vice President

As with any executive role, Dr. Le Sauteur will come across challenges, especially in a fast-paced, multi-site laboratory division. One of the main challenges is rapid and effective communication and decision-making among stakeholders. For her, these challenges are opportunities to enhance a client’s drug development journey. Altasciences has established the “One Laboratory Sciences” vision to promote effective teamwork among sites and teams, addressing client needs promptly. She emphasizes the critical role of productive, timely communication within and outside the organization. Altasciences’ company-wide, proprietary tools like “Ask Albert” and a centralized scheduling system facilitate seamless team collaboration and provide clients with a streamlined outsourcing experience. This approach ensures rapid and efficient progress in a client’s drug development program, without redundancy. Dr. Le Sauteur leverages the complexity of managing a dynamic, multi-site organization to foster a culture of collaboration and communication, turning challenges into growth opportunities, to the benefit of clients and the drug development process.

Advice and Recommendation

Dr. Le Sauteur advises aspiring scientists and entrepreneurs looking to enter the healthcare sector to consider joining a CRO, especially early in their life sciences career. Working at a CRO offers exposure to a wide array of projects, clients, and therapeutic domains, fostering diverse experiences. It will provide an opportunity to engage with cutting-edge technologies and expand your skill set. The fast-paced CRO environment accelerates learning across multiple facets of drug development, from preclinical research to clinical trials and regulatory affairs. This experience not only opens doors but also cultivates a robust network, expertise, and teamwork skills. Additionally, CROs teach efficient work and time management, preparing for high-pressure scenarios and tight deadlines, common in the healthcare industry. Joining a CRO can propel a career in rewarding directions while equipping you with essential skills for success.

Future Plans to Grow Laboratory Sciences

Dr. Le Sauteur and her team recently led a significant expansion at Altasciences’ bioanalytical laboratory at its site in Columbia, Missouri. This 8,000-square-foot space, which includes a test material department, is equipped with state-of-the-art instrumentation and robust bioanalytical capabilities. This expansion serves to augment the bioanalytical services that are already accessible at Altasciences’ Laval and Seattle sites, catering to the needs of preclinical and clinical studies conducted at Altasciences’ sites across North America, or standalone bioanalytical projects. The laboratories’ proximity to the organization’s preclinical and clinical facilities aims to facilitate seamless collaboration among teams, sites, and phases of drug development.

The organization is planning additional expansions in key areas to align with client demands. In addition to enhancing its bioanalytical solutions, the organization has been consistently increasing its capacity and diversifying its full-service offerings through a combination of acquisitions and organic growth over the past five years. Between 2020 and 2023, Altasciences has added five new locations to their portfolio. These encompass a CDMO facility in Philadelphia, the establishment of a third clinical unit in Los Angeles (adding to their Kansas City and Montréal clinics), the inclusion of three more preclinical facilities in Sacramento, Scranton, and Columbia (adding to their Seattle site), along with the opening of an office in England. Dr. Le Sauteur and all the teams at Altasciences remain committed to continuously seeking avenues to provide clients with an exceptional outsourcing experience, reaffirming its dedication to advancement and excellence in the healthcare sector.



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