By: Krista Henry (she/her)

The company hires multiple students to work on ground-breaking pharmaceuticals.

Ripple Therapeutics has its sights set on co-op talent from Waterloo. The growing company incorporates students’ expertise into their unique Epidel™ technology.

The company aims to improve the treatment of diseases or conditions of the eye through ophthalmic therapeutics. Using controllable, sustained drug delivery for treatment, Ripple Therapeutics products help to provide better outcomes for patients. In its clinical stage of development, the company currently hires up to five co-op students each term to support its small team of 25 people.

Greg Whitton headshot

Greg Whitton, PhD (he/him), senior manager of chemistry and analytical at Ripple Therapeutics

We’ve been building over the last three years in our co-op hiring, adding students to different teams in our company. We’ve found having students to be a great and rewarding experience. 

Greg Whitton

The company hires Waterloo students from Medicinal Chemistry, Biochemistry, Chemistry, Nanotechnology Engineering and Life Physics programs. Students mainly work in research and development scientist roles in areas such as synthetic and analytical chemistry, materials science and manufacturing, drug product development and preclinical studies.

At Ripple Therapeutics, students have made meaningful contributions such as synthesizing novel drug conjugates and designing experiments to optimize in vitro drug release or other testing processes. They also work on optimizing the manufacturing process and contribute to preparing and testing drug implants.

“It’s not a straightforward task preparing small ocular implant samples. The process involves an extrusion of the drug material, followed by cutting implants to the desired size, loading them into needles and sterilization,” says Whitton.

"Each drug material behaves differently through each stage and the sample preparation, characterization and testing of these implants requires attention to detail, good documentation and organizational skills.

We have been very pleased with students’ abilities to successfully carry out these types of tasks.”

Group of four Waterloo co-op students during their work term at Ripple Therapeutics

The ripple effect of hiring co-op students

Whitton (BSc ’06, PhD ’13) is a former Waterloo co-op student who has experienced first-hand the benefits students can bring to an organization. These include:


Bringing energy and enthusiasm

“Students bring that youth and excitement of a technology they have not seen before. Sometimes we take for granted how unique our technology can be and students come in and see the opportunities. They make those contributions to the team and it gets everyone excited.”

Light bulb with a cloud, pencil and gear around it

Providing fresh perspectives from their co-op experience

“We often work with intermediate or senior students. They bring ideas from their previous work terms into Ripple that we apply to our technology and development process. Sometimes that comes from a simple experiment or idea to help us improve a process.” 

A clock displaying 3:00 with a money sign infront of it

Impacting company productivity

“There is a training phase involved with students that I think some companies shy away from. But an experienced co-op student can learn and adapt to new roles quickly. This allows them to make a net positive contribution over their work term.”

Whitton describes Ripple Therapeutics as a fast-paced and collaborative small company driven by the responsibility to develop new technologies to improve the lives of patients. The company allows co-op students to participate as full members of the team and strives to integrate them into the company culture.

The company provides students with an informative onboarding process so they can perform to the best of their ability. They also ensure each student feels psychologically safe while at work and are focused on their well-being.

Looking for the right talent

Waterloo co-op student looking into a microscope

When hiring co-op students, the company relies on Waterloo’s rank/match process to help narrow down its top selections. The team looks at not only a student’s experience but also considers a student’s enthusiasm and passion.

“In most cases, you can train a student on the technical side of what you do. What we look for is self-motivation. A student that will reach out and let their supervisor know when they have time to help in other areas beyond their core responsibilities,” says Whitton.

In the future, Whitton believes the industry needs to find more people who are creative and thrive at problem solving. As technology evolves, the company looks for analytical and driven students with an eye for detail.

The company has had success with hiring co-op students and plans to continue recruiting from Waterloo for years to come.