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Vector Laboratories: A look back at 2021

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The true north that kept us steady

For so many companies around the world, 2021 proved to be a challenging year, and Vector Laboratories was no exception. Against the backdrop of the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, we rode the waves of change, learning a lot about ourselves on the journey. Through these stormy times, we found a “true north” that helped us stay the course and forge ahead. As we close out this year, we can be thankful for critical strengths inherent in our company that not only held us steady but should also propel us forward in 2022.

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Last year Vector Laboratories experienced the most significant changes ever in its 45-year history. When the year first began, our organization was rallying as a newly public company under Maravai LifeSciences. Having gone public only eight weeks prior, we were working to refine our strategic direction and focus on accelerating growth. Our new leadership team, while high performing, was still adjusting and evolving, and as the new Chief Operating Officer I felt honored to be at the helm of this amazing legacy called Vector Laboratories.

Heading into mid-year a remarkable opportunity arose, and I was invited to work on the eventual carve-out of Vector Laboratories from Maravai LifeSciences. Through deep diligence we gained insight into the incredible value this offered our organization and the potential we had to impact our customers. By fall we announced the pending sale, closed the transaction, and embarked on the process of transitioning Vector Laboratories back to a standalone company. The capital support of our new investors, Thompson Street Capital Partners, was pivotal in this opportunity. Throughout all the change we not only had to set the strategic vision for our new independent company, but also maintain the systems and processes necessary to keep us operating.

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These systems have been critical to the business in helping us run efficiently and effectively – they include industry standard tools such as Office 365, our customer relationship management software, and the financial system we use to operate the company.

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Another beacon of light this past year was our unwavering support for one another. As in any normal year we enjoyed the highs and employee celebrations with food trucks, outdoor BBQs and our usual donuts, bagels, and birthday treats. While we still implemented the necessary socially distant adjustments, we didn’t let that stop us from having fun. Yet we also continued to need each other because of the growing impact of COVID in our communities and on our families and friends. We supported each other emotionally as in some cases COVID took the lives of loved ones and created the kind of hardships many of us had never before experienced.

As we head into 2022 I’m committed to incorporating the lessons we learned about employee support as we shape our company’s mission and values.

In title, 2021 was a year of change for me personally. I started in January as Chief Operating Officer of Vector Laboratories, and I am ending the year as the Chief Executive Officer. I continue to learn every day in my new role and am excited to apply my knowledge as we move forward together. Yet, so much about our company has remained the same: our customers, our commitment to delivering quality products backed by personal care, and our drive to help partners bring their products to market through our expertise in bioconjugation, formulation and tissue analysis. We remain the same trusted company in ensuring that our partners’ tools are used to enhance scientific discovery and to ultimately improve human health.

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I hope that like me, you’re feeling enthusiastic to tackle 2022. Our leadership is excited to move forward faster than we ever have in realizing our strategic direction and accelerating our growth. I know I speak on behalf of all of us that we’re eager to move into our new headquarters next year. There’s something magical about moving into a fresh, new space and the way it can energize a team. Starting together in our own new headquarters makes us appreciate even more where we have been and where we are going. As we look to the year ahead we’re counting on calmer waters, a sense of rejuvenation, and ongoing recognition of the true north that helped Vector Laboratories thrive, despite the challenges of 2021.

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Lisa V. Sellers, PhD