What do you do at Roche?
My role at Roche is Associate Director within Safety Science (Oncology). In Safety Science, we are responsible for monitoring and recording the safety profile of new medicines which Roche are developing. We are an important part of the global teams across different functions that develop medicines for the future. We ensure that the safety of patients is taken into consideration constantly and in every aspect, from the first time the medicine is trialled in humans in the clinical development stage, to the time the medicine has a marketing authorisation (meaning it can be prescribed by a healthcare professional to patients who could benefit).
How did you get to where you are currently?
I trained as a Pharmacist and initially worked in retail pharmacy. My career in the pharmaceutical industry and Safety started with adverse event case processing and regulatory submissions in a role at another pharmaceutical company within one of their locally based campuses. From there I moved to Roche, where the small safety group in the UK was developing from performing medical evaluation of adverse event cases to being responsible for all the safety aspects of the medicinal products within the group. With time, more functions got involved with supporting safety tasks, such as medical writers for periodic reports and the role within safety science was expanded even further with the extensive EU guidance and legislation for pharmacovigilance. I stayed in this role as it evolved because I really enjoyed being able to be responsible in this key area and appreciated feeling that I was able to contribute to helping keep patients safe.
What does a typical day look like for you?
Working on a medicine that is being tested in new disease areas involves a lot of activities, mostly extracting safety data from many sources, such as clinical study reports or the safety database, to use in response to questions from either regulatory authorities or from internal functions. We also use safety data to evaluate adverse events and the causal association with the medicine on an ongoing basis to ensure the safety information is always up to date. Meetings and scientific discussions are also a big part of the role and most days will involve cross-functional team meetings or other functional meetings to share knowledge and best practices. We work closely together on project activities with teams from across the globe – Switzerland, China, Japan, India and the USA.
How could you see your career developing in the future?
With even more medicines coming through from clinical trials and becoming available to patients, I feel the contribution within Safety Science is very important for patients. With more personalised medicines, this is also an opportunity to provide even more strategic input for safety to minimise risks to patients even further. I am currently part of the global development team program which gives me experience and insight into the operations of a large team and also provides a bigger perspective on the development activities of a medicinal project overall. As time goes on I suspect there will be further opportunities that will allow me to get more involved in the strategic aspects and providing safety input at a more strategic cross-functional and global level.
Why are you proud to work at Roche?
The people I work with are an intelligent and engaged group, always learning. The passion for patient safety comes from the top management in our group through to every level which enables me to know I can make a difference for a wider purpose: patient well-being with access to needed medicines with a good benefit-risk balance. Knowing that patients are put first makes me feel proud to work at Roche.
What three words would you use to describe Roche?
There are many words that come to mind however, I would use innovative, honest, inspirational. The Roche aim is summed up perfectly in doing now what patients need next, and for me patient safety is one of the key aspects for what patients need now and in the future.