I thought it would be useful, before starting my dreaded pre-registration year, to obtain a further insight into the pharmaceutical industry. Luckily, I managed to find the perfect solution whilst discussing industry with some peers. ‘Industrial Insights 2012’ was held on the 12-13th April and gave, as it says on the tin, an insight into industrial pharmacy.
The conference itself was held at GlaxoSmithKline in Stevenage and was organised by The Academy of Pharmaceutical Sciences of Great Britain (www.apsgb.org
). I would encourage any student who is even slightly interested in the pharmaceutical industry to get involved with this organisation because I learnt a massive amount, met some new friends and had a good time!
Throughout the two days at the event, many topics were discussed. One the first day, how drug targets are chosen, biopharm technology and the pharmaceutical industry were some of the topics discussed. I was especially interested in drug targets because current research into individualised medicine leads me to believe that the industry is running out of them. It is understandable that the future of the industry is leaning towards biologics.
On the second day the speakers discussed how molecules get to market, the idea behind innovations and collaborations, the role of the MHRA in the industry, counterfeiting (the powerpoint slides contained some shocking pictures; health and safety would have a field day) and finally a debate. The debate was interesting and was based on whether students are prepared for careers in industry. It was slightly humorous with one of the comments suggesting that students are pretty much puddings in the labs. However, I think we managed to prove our worth in the end.
Another interesting point taken from the conference was this idea of collaboration and innovation. Collaboration basically means working with different organisations for the benefit of specific research. Innovation is basically the movement of ideas into reality. I still find the concepts sort of bizarre and can’t really get my head around it. An example of this ‘innovation’ in industry is the Stevenage Bioscience Catalysts site is one of the UKs first open innovation biomedical science centres that provide facilities for small biotech companies (http://www.stevenagecatalyst.com/
). All the delegates got to look around one of the buildings on site and it was amazing!
Finally, the conclusion I got from the two days was that there are still opportunities for students, but you must be motivated to find them and make them happen. So, my advice is no matter what you’re interested in, find out more and make some friends/contacts. I wonder if that’s innovation… Ha.