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BS level associate looking to transition out of the bench

PostPosted: Mon Apr 17, 2017 11:33 pm
by F.Z.
Hello Science Careers Forum,

I am an experienced (~8 years) BS level research associate in preclinical development for mid size biotech and ready to explore new opportunities. I wish I knew exactly what I am searching for but mainly that I want to do something different and out of the lab.

No real desire to return for a MS, PhD or MD although a MBA is tempting if I could get into a top tier school but also not entirely sure on that route.

I am interested in exploring either the clinical side of things such as a study monitor or something with clinical database (but not necessarily a desire to get too technical and go into bioinformatics per se) or even sales however the typical requirement of X amount of years preferred is seen in most postings that I've come across. Any ideas on how to make that pivot?

I am interested in making lateral moves within my company, including in areas mentioned above but haven't seen too much in terms of opportunities and thus am not too hopeful if that situation although I am open to it.

Re: BS level associate looking to transition out of the bench

PostPosted: Wed Apr 19, 2017 4:58 am
by D.X.
Hi FZ,

A key Action on yourside is to Network internally. You may not see opportunities on the Intranet but doesn't mean someone doesn't have an opportunity.

You can look at CRA positions if you want to get more clinical as a start Point, advancement for may be in Clinical Trial Operations contrast Clinical Development where the latter may want an PhD and/or MD/PharmD for advancement.

Have you considered Project Management as an Option? This can be low hanging fruit for you, many on the pre-clinical side Transition out of the lab to his role. Usually in mid-sized to large companies there is a Global Program Management or Global Project Management function, where the FTEs are deployed to serve various other Teams in the organizations, i.e. Drug Supply, or Technical Operations or a Commercial Brand Team, they are reposible for tracking and ensureing deliverables are on time, with appropriate resource allocation. Whereas they are not responsible for the tactcis they are responsible to ensure risks are identified and managed. Its a nice way to learn alot while not being fullying accountable for items deliverd but you're sharing in a team-based effort. See if you find something there and Project Management is always portable if you grow there even out of the industry.



Re: BS level associate looking to transition out of the bench

PostPosted: Mon May 08, 2017 10:18 pm
by F.Z.

Thanks for the reply! I have thought about PM/Operations roles however they are few and far between at my company despite it being a mid size biotech that has grown fairly well during my tenure. When these positions do open up they are extremely competitive given every RA that is interested in leaving the bench is applying for these.

Do you know of any other recommendations?

Re: BS level associate looking to transition out of the bench

PostPosted: Tue May 09, 2017 1:22 pm
by Ralf K.
Hi there,

Maybe once I can help others.
I was about 4 years ago in your shoes and what helped was that I first started in a entry level Project Management position in a CRO outside of the fancy big pharma. This at least gave me the possibility to get some experience and to put it on my CV. However with CRO it is always tricky, don't expect too many benefits and salary is often not that great. But if there is no other it might be a door-opener to leave the bench.
After 2 years I could find a job back in the "big" companies...

I hope this helps.


Re: BS level associate looking to transition out of the bench

PostPosted: Fri May 12, 2017 3:54 am
by D.X.
Good advise given by Ralf K.

Since you asked for another recommendation in consideration of your desire to get some clinical experience and work with data-bases, try looking in your Drug Safety department for associate/specialist roles.

A key responsibility will be to support reporting (pharmcovigilence) of safety data using a data base. That includes be inputing data into the data-bases as well once a Event, either from a spontaenous Report, or Trial or scientific publication is captured, followed up and adjudicated. You may be part of tracking process (Project managment) for those incoming reports. Other roles will be to Support QA/QC with compliance and auditing. So alot of operational/grunt work but may give you some of that clinical exposure you're looking for.

To note here again, advancement is limited as higher roles are in the realm of higher degree holders to include physicians.