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 More Than Medicine

The pharma/biomed field provides opportunities to explore more than just meds.
For anyone interested in healthcare, in helping improve the lives of people living with diseases or discovering new medications to cure those diseases - whether it’s in researching, developing or marketing those medications - then you might want to consider a career in pharmaceuticals or biomedicines.
The four professionals profiled here are involved in different aspects of providing healthcare to patients worldwide within the pharmaceutical and biomedical sector. Their breadth of experience ranges from someone who is just beginning her career ascent to several others who have spent many successful years in the field.
Chance Opportunity Leads Livingston to HR Leadership Role at AbbVie
Although she’s had 20-plus years of experience in human resources, including international experience, Rae Livingston, AbbVie’s vice president, business human resources, corporate functions, originally intended to have a career in finance.
However, early in that career, when an opportunity arose for her to participate in a two-year leadership development program in human resources, Livingston says, “I took a risk and I went with it.” She calls that “one of the best decisions I’ve made.”
In addition to her bachelor’s and master’s degrees in business administration, she’s become a certified senior professional in human resources (SPHR). Her career before coming on board at AbbVie includes key business HR and mergers and acquisitions experiences with other large companies.
But it was a medical devices company for which she worked whose business was to restore quality of life to its customers that made her eager to get back to working for a company whose resolve is to impact the lives of patients.
That led her, in 2016, to North Chicago, IL-based AbbVie, a global, research-driven biopharmaceutical company committed to developing innovative advanced therapies for some of the world's most complex and critical medical conditions, and to the position she now holds.
“I was drawn to the company because of its positive impact on patients’ lives, particularly its focus on addressing serious health challenges like cancer and Alzheimer’s disease,” she explains.
In this role, she says, “I lead the corporate business human resources team and partner across the organization to deliver business results by driving the human resources operational and strategic plans for the corporate functions, which include ethics and compliance, external affairs, finance, human resources, information technology, legal and strategy.”
Livingston says her day begins with a phone call even before she gets to the office; it continues with face-to-face meetings with corporate function executives and senior leadership, peers in human resources and people who report directly to her.
She describes her work as “a combination of strategy review, development and execution projects, with an eye toward addressing current business needs, while anticipating the road map and actions needed to realize our future state. My work is often focused on identifying those opportunities to drive enhanced strategy alignment and create breakthrough wins or simple improvements in our effectiveness across the functions.”
For individuals seeking a career at AbbVie, Livingston suggests they have a passion for discovering and addressing many of the world’s most pressing health challenges. AbbVie often has open positions in business and science that, potentially, can lead from entry-level to leadership roles.
For example, in finance, an employee might start as an analyst, move on to senior analyst, then manager, and from there opportunities exist for senior management roles, such as director or vice president.
The executive adds that each career track spells out the experiences needed within the function to help round out the individual; those may include a rotation or international experience, for instance.
“We offer development opportunities that provide you with chances to innovate, collaborate and demonstrate your passion for patients and excellence,” Livingston notes. “We also have [the program] Time to Talk, so employees and managers can discuss performance and career development throughout the year.”
To learn more about career opportunities at AbbVie, go to abbvie.com/careers. Connect on Twitter, Facebook and LinkedIn.
Rx: AbbVie
A global, research-driven biopharmaceutical company in more than 75 countries, AbbVie uses its expertise, dedicated people and unique approach to innovation to markedly improve treatments across four primary therapeutic areas: immunology, oncology, virology and neuroscience.
Jones Moves from Clinical Fellow into Managing Medical Affairs at Dr. Reddy’s
A life-long interest in health science led Shalon Jones to earn a bachelor’s degree in pharmaceutical marketing, a master’s degree in public health and a Pharm.D. (Doctorate of Pharmacy).
Jones has also had a number of pharmaceutical and healthcare internships during her academic career. She points out, “Having the doctorate degree allowed me to gain an advanced clinical skill set to use within the pharmaceutical industry.”
Since June 2016 she’s been a clinical fellow at Dr. Reddy’s Laboratories, a multinational pharmaceutical company that manufactures, markets and distributes more than a hundred therapeutic medications in the U.S., including gastrointestinal, cardiovascular and pain management medications.
The clinical fellow first learned about the company when she attended a national pharmacy conference and spoke with a recruiter for Dr. Reddy’s, which is globally headquartered in India with offices around the world, including Canada, Mexico and Princeton, NJ.
Jones outlines how Dr. Reddy’s fellowship program is a graduate training and management program that provides exposure to a broad spectrum of activities specifically tailored to the interests of each fellow.
She’s done rotations through various departments and functions within the company, which helps further her development. Her current teacher, whom she calls her preceptor, “holds meetings twice a week to make sure I’m meeting goals and expectations, as well as development training for personal and professional growth.”
Once the fellowship is completed, “I can move into a medical affairs management role within Dr. Reddy’s.”
Her official title is Dr. Reddy’s medical affairs/pharmacovigilance pharmacy fellow, and her major responsibilities in this position are to research and analyze scientific information in response to medical inquiries and inquiries about Dr. Reddy’s products, assist in reviewing and submitting scientific manuscripts and abstracts, and with poster presentations at medical conferences, and to assist the drug safety team in monitoring and assessing safety signals for drugs, devices and biosimilars related to the life cycle of the medication.
She was drawn to the company for its diversity, not only in its culture, but also in its diversity of opportunities. “The fellowship program allows me to rotate within various departments in the organization. This helps me to not only understand my role, but also to better understand how departmental roles have an impact throughout the organization. These elective rotations give me the opportunity to see which functions may fit best with my career aspirations.”
The Dr. Reddy’s motto, “Good Health Can’t Wait,” resonates with Jones, as well, because it addresses filling unmet medicine needs for people around the world, which is important to her.
Jones points out she’s been involved with the American Society of Heath Systems Pharmacists since her pharmacy school days, as well as Women of Color in Pharmacy. She adds, “I occasionally attend conference and company meetings as part of my job.”
She suggests pharmacy graduates would do well to seek a fellowship, which she calls “the best way to get real-world, hands-on experience.”
In addition to its fellowships, she says, “Dr. Reddy’s has an excellent, yet highly selective summer internship program. Over the course of three months, students and graduates spend time on projects, learning the business and [receiving] one-on-one training to develop their skill sets.”
More information about Dr. Reddy’s careers is available drreddys.com/india/people/careers.aspx. Connect on Facebook, Twitter, YouTube and LinkedIn.
Rx: Dr. Reddy’s
Dr. Reddy’s Laboratories Ltd. is a global, integrated pharmaceutical company with three primary businesses: pharmaceutical services and active ingredients, global generics and proprietary products. Its major therapeutic areas of focus are gastrointestinal, cardiovascular, diabetology, oncology, pain management and dermatology.
Osinusi Helps Gilead Provide Life-Saving Meds on Global Scale
As an undergraduate in Nigeria, where she earned her medical degree, Anu Osinusi’s first foray into clinical research was helping collect data on the use of magnesium sulfate in pregnant women with preclampsia.
A master’s degree in public health, residency training in internal medicine and a fellowship in infectious diseases from universities in the U.S. followed.
Osinusi is now a director of clinical research in the liver diseases therapeutic area at Gilead Sciences, a global research-based company that discovers and develops innovative medicines for patients with life-threatening diseases
However, her interest in diseases of the liver didn’t begin when she came aboard at Gilead in the summer of 2014. “During the last decade, I’ve worked primarily on trying to understand the clinical and biologic correlates of hepatitis treatment in specific populations such as African Americans and HIV/HCV co-infected individuals,” she shares.
She points out that Gilead is a science-driven and socially responsible company with an impressive track record of success with many medical breakthroughs, including those in HIV and viral hepatitis.
And as a physician and researcher, Osinusi saw in Foster City, CA-based Gilead Sciences an opportunity to continue working in clinical research, helping to develop medicines that focus on unmet medical needs around the world.
“I’d become familiar with the driving principles of the company through my work in clinical research and as a physician focused on HIV and hepatitis C infections,” she details.
Gilead’s and Osinusi’s work dovetailed, and now, she says, “My primary responsibilities are in the clinical phase of drug development for specific liver disease programs from phase one clinical trials through product registrations.”
She also says that she’s always open to learning opportunities and new adventures, and many of both are available across the therapeutic areas and functions at Gilead. Its commitment to the success and growth of its employees is evidenced in the “rich curriculum” of professional courses designed to address key areas of their skill development.
“For example, there have been individuals who have moved from a basic science biology track to clinical operations or project management,” Osinusi reports, adding that, in addition, there are mentoring programs and coaching programs that are individually tailored.
Employee resource groups are also available at Gilead, and Osinusi says she recently joined two: Gilead Leadership Organization of Black Employees (GLOBE) and Women at Gilead.
GLOBE is organized around four pillars: cultural awareness, community outreach and engagement, professional development and strategic partnerships. Women at Gilead’s mission is supporting the company in the recruitment, development, support and retention of women.
Both groups are designed to be effective vehicles for building a culture of inclusion and diversity at Gilead.
She notes that, via these groups, “I’ve been able to meet people with similar interests and share ideas and experiences for both internal and external projects.”
Osinusi further feels that, since the pharmaceutical industry is expanding globally, the delivery of healthcare, driven by innovations in science and technology, is rapidly evolving, and because people will always need pharmaceuticals, a career in the industry will provide myriad possibilities for learning and growth.
“A career at Gilead is one of working to revolutionize healthcare by bringing urgently needed medicines to patients with life-threatening illnesses around the world.”
She offers this advice: “Define what your interests are and pursue them. That will help you find a career that’s rewarding and exciting. A good education opens up doors, but expertise is what propels you forward.”
Further information about Gilead Sciences jobs is available at gilead.avature.net/careers. Connect on LinkedIn, Facebook and Twitter.
Rx: Gilead
Gilead Sciences is a biopharmaceutical company with operations in more than 30 countries worldwide that discovers, develops and commercializes innovative therapeutics in areas of unmet medical need. For nearly 30 years, Gilead has been a leading innovator in the field of HIV, driving advances in treatment, prevention, testing and linkage to care, and cure research.
Strategic Product Management at Sandoz Is Brown’s Responsibility
Teletha Brown is currently associate director in the pipeline and launch management area of Sandoz, a global leader in generic and biosimilar medicines.
In this position, she manages new drugs from the time applications are submitted to when their approvals are accepted by the U.S. FDA and through to the point when the drugs reach the marketplace.
“My major responsibilities include coordination of operational readiness and maximizing the value of new product launches,” Brown explains, adding that cross-functional team management and driving key initiatives that improve the launch processes for those drugs are critical parts of her job.
After earning a bachelor’s degree in biology, a master’s in cellular and developmental biology, and 10 years of work in the pharmaceutical industry in various stages of drug development, she was hired at Sandoz in 2014 as a manager in the new product launch area.
“I was responsible for cross-functional management of the key launches in my area,” she recalls. “I managed risk and leveraged opportunities to maximize launch value. I grew within my role for two years as my breadth of responsibility expanded to focus on process improvements that impacted all of the launches in the team at that time.”
After two years, she was promoted to her current position, associate director.
It was the culture and energy of Sandoz - which is headquartered globally in Germany and headquartered in the U.S. in Princeton, NJ - that first attracted Brown to the company.
“Pharma is a small world,” she underscores, “especially in New Jersey.” She had colleagues who’d worked at Sandoz and, prior to joining, she herself was part of an organization that partnered with the company on some projects.
“Sandoz offers opportunities for training and development or shadowing colleagues to strengthen your own skill set and share your strengths with colleagues,” she notes. The company has also provided her with guidance from several mentors.
“In addition,” Brown recalls, “I participated in an intensive, week-long management training that used 360 input to help you develop your strengths and manage potential derailors. It’s a key development tool in the leadership development progression.”
Brown’s also taken on leadership positions in the Sandoz affinity group that supports growth and development opportunities outside of her current, cross-functional role, which puts her on a management track.
From her current role she knows she can move into “many tangential functions.” She works with commercial and marketing teams, so “I could use my product knowledge and understanding of the commercial landscape to move toward commercial, or even look at brand launch activities available within Sandoz, which would diversify my launch experience.”
Brown has also participated in Sandoz’ women’s affinity group, Women in Leadership (WIL), as a member of its leadership council. She explains, “WIL allows Sandoz to hear from and speak directly to the needs of working women.”
Outside of Sandoz, Brown’s attended and participated in multiple Healthcare Businesswomen’s Association (HBA) events and workshops. “HBA is a great resource for women in pharma.”
Brown says the pharmaceutical industry is a great place for those she calls “thinkers.” Since the landscape of medicine is changing innovative thinking, anyone considering a career in the industry must have a passion for change.
“Use your network to understand the challenges facing pharma and think about how your unique skill fills that gap,” she recommends, adding that, within the industry, the environment at Sandoz is unique. “I’ve never learned as much in a short amount of time. It’s a great opportunity for young, energetic professionals.”
You can find out more about Sandoz’s job opportunities by logging onto sandoz.com/careers. Connect on Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, YouTube and Instagram.
Rx: Sandoz
A division of the Novartis Group, Sandoz is a global provider of generic pharmaceuticals and biosimilars. Its portfolio of approximately 1,000 molecules, covering all major therapeutic areas, accounted for 2016 sales of USD 10.1 billion, notes the company. It adds that in 2016 it products reached more than 500 million patients, with the aspiration of reaching one billion.
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