Many trainees are interested in the biotechnology and pharmaceutical industry because it allows them to utilize their research training to help develop drugs, devices and biologics that benefit society. This field has grown rapidly and presents a variety of career opportunities for PhDs. Furthermore, Orange County is home to numerous medical device companies and is in close proximity to two of the largest biotech hubs in California.
With many options available, selecting job titles and companies can be overwhelming. Below we share some resources to help trainees learn about drug & product development, skills employers seek and ways to help fill skill gaps.
Keys skills to succeed in this field:
- Ability to work on a team
- Genuine interpersonal communication skills
- Proven ability to meet deadlines
- Project management
- Business acumen & knowledge of drug/product development
Drug and Product Development: It’s a lot more than R&D!
- A Career in Science: Maintaining Focus & Adapting to Change. TEDx talk by Jay Srirangam, Ph.D., Technical Development Team Leader at Genetech
- Careers in Biotech & An Overview of Product Development. Presentation for UCI GPS-BIOMED by Jon Miyake, Ph.D., Sr. Technical Support Manager at Illumina
- The Drug Development Process. Comprehensive overview of preclinical & clinical research as well as FDA review and post-market safety monitoring.
Merging myIDP career options & the drug development process:
UCI resources that provide training, address skill gaps & build networks:
- UCI Division of Continuing Education offers a variety of courses and certificates within clinical research management, regulatory affairs, medical product development and project management (to name a few). Many of these courses can be taken online or in the evening.
- Visit the GPS-BIOMED experience page to learn about internships and postdoctoral fellowships within industry. These opportunities (although competitive) can jumpstart your career transition.
Additional resources to address skill gaps & build networks:
- American Association of Pharmaceutical Scientists. Provides journals, workshops, events, career development. Members get extra benefits.
- Medical Science Liaison (MSL) Society. Provides resources for those interested in the MSL career, connect members to the global MSL community, host events, and promote networking.
- Association of Clinical Research Professionals, provides membership, training, and certificate programs necessary for clinical trial and quality and efficiency improvements.
- Biotech Connection Los Angeles (BCLA) is an organization run by academics and biotech professionals all over Los Angeles. See website for upcoming events.
- American Medical Writers Association. Resources for medical communicators including job postings, blogs and opportunities to interact with medical professionals. Some events are free and a student membership rate is offered.
- Managing Science in the Biotech Industry: An Intensive Course for Students and Postdocs. MBA-style case-based teaching offered annually by the American Society for Cell Biology. Attendees learn how science is commercialized and how to leverage PhD skills within industry.
- Device Alliance. One-stop-shop at the center of Orange County’s medical device ecosystem helping drive collaboration, innovation and career development for all device professionals in Southern California. Many events are open to nonmembers and present valuable networking opportunities.
- Orange County Regulatory Affairs (OCRA). A non-profit volunteer organization composed of Regulatory Affairs professionals, OCRA has hundreds of members representing over 250 medical device, pharmaceutical, biologic, and dietary supplement companies in Orange County and surrounding areas. They provide a variety of events and networking opportunities.
- Career Opportunities in Biotechnology and Drug Development by Toby Freedman
- The Changing Landscape of Pharma: A New Route for PhDs Nature Jobs blog post by Martijn Bijker, Ph.D., Founder of Science to Pharma