Please introduce yourself and what you do
Hello, my name is Anu and I work as a Junior Medical Scientist for a Clinical Research Organisation, with the focus on clinical trials. I have worked and supported on a few trials including early phase and late phase oncology and in Non-Small Cell Lung Cancer and Breast Cancer. I have worked for clients as a member of the medical team to support the global study team in the smooth running of the trial. I am involved in medical writing e.g writing of safety narratives for patients and I am also currently involved in writing scientific blogs on various topics, including Adverse Drug Reactions and their classifications. I have spent the past year learning extensively about the patient journey from neoadjuvant to surgery to adjuvant and in advanced settings, learning and understanding the use of targeted products and immunotherapies in specific tumor types, received training in numerous areas of clinical development, RECIST, GCP and patient safety. I analyse patient data, identify inconsistencies and discrepancies, ensuring accurate data is captured as this makes a difference to the data outputs. .
What do you enjoy most about your role?
I enjoy that every day is something different, a different meeting or a different task. I particularly enjoy that I am constantly learning, being introduced to new ideas, concepts, systems, medical terms, or conditions. That was the main goal for me with a career;I wanted something that would enable me gain a variety of skills as well as engage and challenge me. I enjoy that I am contributing long term to therapy that would be a huge benefit to others. I also particularly enjoy that there is variety in my work.
What was your route into industry from education?
I graduated with an honours bachelor’s degree in Biomedical Science from Bangor University. After graduation, I applied to jobs in the life science industry; trainee biomedical science roles, laboratory-based roles etc. However, I knew that I did not particularly want to work in a laboratory. My degree was laboratory focused, we had several laboratory modules which were quite enjoyable; however, I did not think this was the route for me in the long run.
Did you always aspire to work in pharma?
No, I did not always aspire to work in Pharma actually. Working in this role exposed me to an area of pharma that I did not know much about and I am glad for it.
Has your experience in pharma been what you expected or has it been different?
It has been very different from what I expected. The field is very vast and there are various roles that an individual can take on or work in. It is a very large industry and there is much to do. Overall, it has been a very positive and enlightening experience and the work has been very enjoyable. I have had the chance to work on some exciting projects and for some amazing companies during my short time in Pharma so far and I hope to continue enjoying the experience.
What are your future aspirations with your career in pharma?
I aspire to work in various therapy areas including in Vaccine and Immune therapies and other Oncology studies. I hope to help various trials meet clinical milestones and be a part of therapies that bring relief to people. I hope to progress in the Pharma industry and gain as much knowledge and experience as I can while doing that. I’m sure I’ll add to that list as time goes on.
What tips would you give a new starter interested in getting into pharma
Tips I would give a new starter getting into pharma are:
Always ask questions. You can never ask too many questions. What I often do sometimes is if I have a question, I'll read up around the concept and investigate what the possible answers might be, then I ask my question and suggest what I think the answer to the question is and a discussion can be had regarding the topic.
No task is ever too 'basic' for you to do. You can learn so much from doing what one might consider ‘basic’. No skill is ever wasted. It’ll become an asset to you in the long run and can be what makes you stand out.
Learn from everyone and everything around you, from your colleagues & from your boss. Be a sponge, absorb everything and then go away and reflect on what you’ve learnt.
Volunteer to carry out tasks – even if it is something you haven’t done before. This will be a new experience and open the door to learning something new.
Read around your field. Subscribe to pharma newsletters i.e Biopharma Dive etc, watch out for new developments in the pharmaceutical industry so when conversations come up in this area you are well informed. Another useful tip is to follow pharmaceutical companies on LinkedIn or social media pages – information on latest developments within the company tend to be posted on there frequently.
Keep a notebook or a skills tracker of some sort, note down what you have done for the day, new skills you have learnt, new concepts you have been introduced to, what you have achieved for the day.