Meet the Expert—Zvonimir Lackovic

Zvonimir Lackovic tells us what it’s like working in API manufacturing, as a chemist in Production, and explains how it’s just like playing a challenging round of chess! Read the full blog, here.

Teva api was my first job out of college. My journey to Pharma API manufacturing started back in 2012, when I started out at Teva api as a chemist in the R&D lab. Within the first few months I saw my future in this industry, I could see that there were great opportunities here, and the company recognized my knowledge and my work ethic.

What is the Teva api R&D lab like?
We have a steady flow of API compounds, and pride ourselves on providing customers with early launch opportunities, innovating where we can create value. That’s actually one of our company values. And so we are constantly innovating in order to implement new technologies and support highly-complex products.

I knew from preschool I wanted to work in chemistry! I had a great teacher when I was very young, she was a teacher and also a chemist. I saw myself working in a lab or in production, and I’ve now done both! I always wanted to help people. For some, that’s about becoming a doctor or a teacher, but I wanted to do things a bit differently, so I started to think about making medicines.

Every day is different at Teva api. I now work in production, where we are developing and producing Active Pharmaceutical Ingredients. With such a large portfolio of products, you can be sure that the next day or the next week, you’ll be working on another product! The work is very dynamic, and I need to be flexible, open-minded, and ready for anything.

We know how important our work is. I think the biggest challenge working in Pharmaceuticals is the time. We are making these products for people who are sick, they don’t have time to wait. We know who is waiting for us to get our work done, and this is special and important, but it’s also a great challenge.

The industry has changed over the past decade! I worked in the lab in R&D for two years, and then in 2014 I moved to production. More recently, I moved to a new plant, it’s more modern and has a lot of new technologies, too. It’s great to be at Teva, where we’re leading the industry, and you can see that across the whole company. For me, it’s shown by Teva giving us cutting-edge tools to make our jobs easier, and which allow us to be more accurate and give greater precision. Innovation has a measurable impact on the products we create, our APIs have high purity, we can get products out faster, and more.

My job is like a game of chess. You always have to be thinking to work in this field. Like in chess, you want to be a couple of moves ahead so that you can do the best job possible. You never want to be stepping into the unknown. I’m a perfectionist, so although I’m not a control freak – I do like knowing what to expect!
My knowledge and experience keeps me cool-headed. It’s important to keep a cool head, and to be creative about problem solving. I like to think about a situation, and consider what I can do to help others and to get us past a challenge. It’s also important to work as a team. You might have special abilities, but you can’t do anything solo. Being a team player is so important if you want to achieve.

Working in a dynamic area keeps me on my toes. I love working with other departments such as API R&D or Quality Assurance, and we have such a broad portfolio that it’s never boring! If you have a job where you do the same thing every day, you can get lazy, your mind can become lazy. That’s what I think of as a routine job. My job is the opposite of that! It keeps you in shape. We always have new products and transfers to think about, and with new products every two weeks, I’m always learning new procedures and science, and that keeps me sharp.

I’m an outdoorsy person. Making time for yourself is really important. In my spare time, I’m quite a sporty guy. I like to train, I’ve spent a lot of time weight-lifting, hiking, and I enjoy kayaking with friends, too. I love to spend time with my family and friends.