CASTL announces site manager for BC Biomanufacturing Training Facility

CASTL announces site manager for BC Biomanufacturing Training Facility

Vancouver, BC - The Canadian Alliance for Skills and Training in Life Sciences (CASTL) is pleased to welcome Umesh Ramachandran as Biomanufacturing Trainer and Site Manager for its new training facility located at the British Columbia Institute of Technology (BCIT) Richmond Campus. The new Training Facility stems from a partnership between BCIT and CASTL and was made possible through funding from the Government of Canada and the Government of British Columbia.

Umesh will play a pivotal role in liaising with industry and academic partners and launching operations at the world-class facility scheduled to open in September 2024. As part of the training team, Umesh will deliver in-person, virtual, and practical hands-on training to a new generation of learners and current industry employees in the Canadian life sciences sector.

Backed by a PhD in Biosystems Engineering from the University of Manitoba, Umesh has more than 20 years of technical and training experience in the life sciences sector. Prior to joining CASTL, he held various senior-level positions and worked on numerous international collaborations to advance bioprocessing and manufacturing systems. 

Umesh brings a wealth of knowledge and experience to the CASTL team. He will be an excellent representative in the region, ensuring that our newest facility provides a second-to-none training environment, where students get the real-world learning experience that so many employers are seeking.

Penny Walsh-McGuire
Chief Executive Officer, CASTL

Umesh’s past posts have included Senior Director, CMC at Qu Biologics Inc., where he led CMC and process development for site-specific immunomodulators (SSI) for the prevention and treatment of solid tumor and chronic inflammatory diseases. His work also involved overseeing GMP Drug Product manufacturing for phase 2 clinical trials in Canada, along with managing Drug Product and Bulk Drug Substance stability programs and regulatory submissions to Health Canada. During this time, he collaborated with external partners—including Biodextris, Charles River, Northway Biotech—on site-specific immunomodulators platform and potential clinical applications.

As Senior Scientist and later Director of Process Development/Microbiology at Symvivo Corporation, Umesh designed and implemented the clean room, scale-up operations, process development, manufacturing, and fermentation units, ensuring facilities and equipment met GMP standards. In collaboration with CRO-IQVIA, he led the CMC/PD teams in manufacturing Phase 1 clinical material for the clinical trials both for cancer immunotherapy and COVID19 vaccine programs. He also served as Platform/CMC lead for external pipeline projects with Janssen and Merck to manufacture research product for pre-clinical trials. Furthermore, he assisted CDMOs, including Biose Industrie (France) and Cobra Biologics (Sweden), with technology transfers; he also visited their facilities to ensure GMP compliance and to provide training on fermentation, upstream and downstream processes, purification of products, and commercialization of QC products.  

Umesh shares his experience and knowledge by teaching in laboratory and professional settings in the health science and industry sectors. He places particular importance on ongoing assessment for effective learning, as well as regular reviews of documentation and lab books to foster discussion and critical reviews of the data. 

As the site manager for our new training facility in British Columbia, I couldn't be more thrilled to embark on this journey with our team. Together, we have the opportunity to create something truly remarkable that will not only benefit our organization but also contribute positively to the BC and Canadian life sciences community

Umesh Ramachandran
Biomanufacturing Trainer & Site Manager, CASTL

Umesh lives with his wife and son in Burnaby and is proud to call British Columbia home. 



Media Inquiries:
Stefanie Bolduc
Director of Marketing & Communications, CASTL


The Canadian Alliance for Skills and Training in Life Sciences (CASTL) is a national skills and training organization formed to address the talent needs of the Canadian life sciences sector. Specializing in biopharmaceutical manufacturing, CASTL delivers on the economic and sectoral demand for individuals who have the technical skills to enter, thrive and meet the needs of the fast-growing Canadian biomanufacturing industry. With multiple GMP-like biomanufacturing training facilities, CASTL provides industry informed practical hands-on training, theoretical knowledge and e-learning. CASTL is the exclusive provider of the National Institute for Bioprocessing Research and Training (NIBRT) licensed training programs in Canada. Based in Ireland, NIBRT develops and delivers state-of-the-art training and education programs for the world’s leading biopharmaceutical manufacturing companies and partner academic institutions. CASTL is supported by National Lead Partner adMare BioInnovations and its adMare Academy. The adMare Academy is dedicated to providing the specialized training required to foster the next generation of highly qualified personnel who will drive the growth of Canadian life science companies.


About BCIT
Celebrating its 60th anniversary in 2024, the British Columbia Institute of Technology (BCIT) delivers flexible, relevant, and future-proof education that prepares learners to lead innovation in their workplaces and communities. As one of BC’s largest post-secondary institutes with five campuses, 300+ programs, and over 45,000 students enrolled each year, BCIT connects education, industry, and government in building an agile workforce. The BCIT curriculum is developed through close consultation with industry, and delivered by instructors who have hands-on experience in their fields.


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