Management/Drug Discovery

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Management/Drug Discovery

Postby Stuart » Fri Nov 05, 2004 4:20 pm

I am seeking some guidance from someone about how to get from here to there in terms of my career.

I have a PhD and four years post-doc eperience. My PHD involved testing of anti-infective agents in in vitro and in vivo models, whilst my postdocs have involved using microarray based approaches to identify mechanisms of toxicity, followed by basic drug discovery to identify new molecules. My post-doc has been in a quasi-industry setting where I have been given much more independence as a postdoc than usual, and I have developed leadership skills through participation in volunteer organizations. I have several publications in OK journals.

Where I want to be in the future is to head up a non-GLP drug discovery effort in an industry setting. The subject area is less important to me than the process itself. What I don't know how to do is get there, and I feel my career is at a decision point. So I have some questions.

1. Industry does not seem foccussed on anti-infectives other than HIV drugs. Should I do another post doc in another field, so that I can move across horizontally into another discipline?

2. Should I do an MBA, to obtain a technical management qualification, since I do not necessarily bring specific scientific skills to the table?

3. Should I go and work at the FDA to get some regulatory experience before going into industry?

4. Am I qualified enough to be seeking a Senior Scientist position in industry, in a field outside of my formal training?

Any thoughts?

Management/Drug Discovery

Postby Andrew » Fri Nov 05, 2004 10:54 pm

Lots of different questions.

1. I'm in a somewhat different field, but don't your high-throughput screening techniques make you useful in a more general Discovery lab? I'm not sure enough about your field, but I'd generally not recommend taking a postdoc just to change fields to make yourself more marketable. You're probably marketable enough now.

2. Unless you bring specific useful technical skills, you will not be hired. An MBA won't help and might actually hurt at this stage of your career. There are lots of R&D types who wouldn't touch you after one. An MBA is useful after you already have a position and know something about the company and what it does. Then the MBA will allow you to broaden your knowledge base. I'd give it at least 3 years.

4. Possibly, depending on how applicable your techniques are. Your best path is to get a Senior Sci position and try to move into management from there. You won't need an MBA for a long time.

3. Why? Do you want to work in Regulatory Affairs? If you want that kind of job, sure. They are well paying jobs and you probably just have to endure a few years of government service to get one. And this one I can't answer for you, but do you want a job where you will sit at a desk preparing and going through stacks of NDAs and INDs all day long? I am oversimplifying, of course, but they are heavily documentation oriented jobs. A stint as an FDA auditor will not make you any more attractive for a non-GLP discovery position, but it may make you more attractive for reg. affairs or Quality Management positions in GLP/GMP companies.
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