Tuesday, June 5, 2012

Exploring the “Dark Side”

Posted by Tony Lin at Tuesday, June 05, 2012

Everybody likes to think they are playing for the “right team.” The truth is, for some
people, the pharmaceutical industry may be the “right team.”

Rotation #1 and I was already off to a lucky start – I was assigned to Aastrom, a local biotech company here in Ann Arbor. This was the one rotation that I looked most forward to. I have always been a huge fan of the non-traditional pharmacy practices. Having interned at Blue Cross Blue Shield of MI last summer, this rotation plays an important role for piecing together the puzzles for my future plans post graduation.

Some of you might wonder what could a PharmD do in the pharmaceutical industry? Well, lots. Nowadays it takes an average of 10+ years and $1 billion for a pharmaceutical product to get on the shelf. There will always be lots of things for pharmacists to do and contribute. If you like clinical, business, marketing, research, regulations or other fields of pharmacy, you just might find your niche in the pharmaceutical industry world.

The reason I ranked Aastrom high up on my rotation list was simple: it is a small local company that’s making an exciting product. The scale of the company attracted me because I am interested in seeing a variety of roles within a pharmaceutical/biotech company. Plus, the product that is being developed here is fascinating. Ixmyelocel-T, a cell therapy indicated for Dilated Cardiomyopathy (DCM) and Critical Limb Ischemia (CLI; the worst type of peripheral artery disease), has just begun its Phase 3 trial recently. The therapy involves extracting a small amount of patients’ bone marrow.  The aspirate is shipped to Aastrom’s laboratory for expansion of specific cell populations and then is shipped back to the physician.  The product then gets administered back to the patient. The whole process takes 2-3 weeks and ixmyelocel‑T has shown promising results in studies thus far.

One of the great things about working in industry is that the company generally takes a good care of its employees. I still remember on the first day I was introduced to 8 different flavors of Keurig beverage, hot tea, a fridge full of pop, and the weekly Lunch & Learn session – all free of charge. To me, this is smart. I mean, happy employees = better work results, right?

No comments: