Strategic consulting within drug discovery and development is an exciting career choice for many. Unlike a biotechnology or pharmaceutical enterprise, where the assets one typically works on are within that ecosystem, consulting offers the possibility of working on many different innovation pipelines. At any given time, you might be working on solving a problem for a small molecule in rare disease, a gene editing therapy in oncology, a locally acting drug for pain, a fusion protein for an inflammation target, and any number of internal and external scientific initiatives. Each day is different. No two projects are the same, just as no two clients are the same. Considerable scientific intrigue and fascinating science are around each corner, and each day is worth looking forward to.
Here, I’ll share my typical day as a Certara clinical pharmacology consultant.
Prepare for the day ahead by a good morning hike, followed by playing tennis at the community courts.
Step into the home office and check the emails that have come in since the previous evening. As we are a global organization, we serve many global clients. I take stock of my calendar and plan my day. I start to read the highly energetic internal Yammer group for any discussions that may be happening while sipping a hot cup of coffee.
I get on the first call with a client’s project team. We are discussing designing a study for their new biologic asset for a variety of tumor type indications. The merits of using simple first-in-human designs versus more probabilistic study designs are debated. We discuss the pros and cons for each study design, in terms of providing options for the best possible design that maximizes information, speed, and decision leading to the selection of the recommended phase 2 dose.
I plan for selecting a few areas to plunge into within a practice area that I am leading. Looking at the pharmaceutical market as well as competitors and peers active in the area help me to design client-based solutions. This project will require making connections internally as well as externally. I start to design a narrative around this offering. Maybe our evidence, value, and access group should be involved. I schedule a call with a colleague in that division to pressure test some of my assumptions regarding payer behavior.
I step out for lunch with a former colleague. This is a getting to know moment and building a network over a Mediterranean veggie sandwich at a local Panera outlet. The person I meet with is a business leader at a local area biotechnology company. Besides catching up, we discuss how the current innovation system has evolved with more precision medicine approaches. We debate writing a blog together.
I arrange an internal call to strategize presenting data outputs for a quantitative systems pharmacology model for a client. As the math is quite complex, we wanted to be sure we test the assumptions that went into the model and to present a unified view when we meet with the client. The issues are critical for the client as they deal with multiple other peer assets and want to ensure their asset is differentiated from these others. Considerable diligence follows the data output presentation. At the end of the discussion, we are confident that the model reasonably predicts the data and can be used for trial simulations.
Our team joins the client call. We provide an update on our latest findings to the client, and we highlight some points of contention, where the model does not fit the biology well. The client’s biology experts debate the issues at their end and acknowledge data gaps that could have explained the model better. The client acknowledges our efforts, and we agree on the project’s next steps with a clear timeline.
I join a presentation by a candidate who is interviewing for a clinical pharmacologist role in our department. Hiring the best talent is a priority, and this task is not trivial. So, I give the candidate my undivided attention. After the call, I share my thoughts on the candidate with the hiring manager.
I start to plan out my topic for the company blog, which provides vignettes on how to approach new drug development for various disease areas. Before writing these blogs, I do a lot of literature searches. I continue my research and analysis with a view to develop a new hypothesis. This builds up my thought leadership as well as studying a new area or skill.
I wrap up for the day and head out of my home office. It’s been a productive day at work! Before catching up dinner with family, I head out on my bike for a spin around the community. This lets me get some fresh air while catching up with my neighbors. I’m glad to be part of Team Certara. If you want to find the opportunity that is right for you, please visit our Career page.