Meet Susanne, Group Head in Formulation Research & Development at Roche

Tell us a bit about yourself

My name is Susanne and I am originally from Magdeburg in Germany. I work as a formulation scientist at Roche. I studied pharmacy in Germany but this was not what I thought I would be doing when I was a child. When our teacher asked us in primary school what job we would like to do when we grow up, I answered that I wanted to be a landscape gardener. As the years passed and my interest in mathematics and science grew, I finally decided to study pharmacy, like my mother who works in a pharmacy.

In the last year of my studies the opportunity arose to do some research in a medium-sized pharmaceutical company and this fascinated me. I went on with my studies and finished my PhD thesis in 2002, before joining Roche the same year as a formulation scientist. Since that time, I have worked on a number of new chemical entities with the aim of developing a formulation that helps patients worldwide. In my spare time I like being with my family, hiking, visiting museums and working in the garden. I especially love spending time in the garden as there I can do my own thing and fulfil my dream of being a landscape gardener.

In which Roche location do you currently work and what can you tell us about that location as a work environment?

I currently work in Basel, in a new building that was constructed recently. I love living in Germany, where I originally come from, but at the same time I am happy about the opportunities theDreiländereck - the region where Germany, France and Switzerland meet – has to offer. My kids go to school in Basel, and when I pick them up on Fridays we occasionally stay in Basel for the afternoon. The kids love the zoo and the various parks around the city, and from time to time we visit museums together.

Why did you decide to join Roche and why at this location?

During my studies, I was able to gain an insight into the work of pharmacists in a pharmacy, a hospital dispensary and a pharmaceutical company. Due to my scientific interests, I decided at an early stage that I would like to work in a pharmaceutical company, in particular in one which is focused on innovation. When I saw the job offer from Roche in Basel, I applied for it immediately. It was my interest in science that motivated this decision.

What is your current position at Roche?

I am a Group Head in Formulation Research and Development. In this position, I am responsible for developing clinical and market formulations of new chemical entities. I need a good knowledge of the chemical, physical and mechanical properties of the molecules in order to come up with a viable market formulation. I coordinate activities in the lab, interpret analytical data and assist with the submission of regulatory documents. As a line manager, I also support my team members (three scientists and one lab technician) in their development, for example to help them broaden their skills or become experts in their field.

How would you describe Roche as an employer?

I joined Roche almost 12 years ago. Since I joined, I have always felt that there are good opportunities to further develop my skills and knowledge. Initially, my aim was to gain an insight into the development of small molecules and to be able to deliver formulations which can be used in clinical trials. As my knowledge increased, and due to the challenges I faced on some of the projects, I developed a keen interest in formulations of poorly soluble compounds. Later, I took over responsibility for the formulation research lab and joined a global working group which focused on the assessment of technologies to enhance poor bioavailability.

I am in contact with people from different countries and with different scientific backgrounds almost every day. Talking and exchanging opinions about scientific topics in the open atmosphere that prevails here at work is a refreshing experience which helps to move things forward while at the same time expanding my horizon.

How would you describe the people working here?

Many colleagues I have met over the years have a real passion for what they do. They move things forward and strive to find the best solution. My colleagues are always approachable in the discussions we have and enjoy sharing their ideas.

What can you tell us about the current job openings in your department?

We need people with a passion for science who have a background in chemical or process engineering or pharmaceutical technology.

What would you advise job seekers who want to join us?

  • In order to successfully launch a drug product on the market, you will need to put all your passion, creativity and enthusiasm into its development. At the same time it is a team effort, and therefore requires everyone involved to be open-minded and flexible from the outset. What you have learnt so far is a good basis for your job in the future, but learning never stops. Stay curious.
  • Feel free to check out our careers website, which lists open positions. Job seekers can also find out about open positions on our social media pages such as LinkedInXingFacebook and Twitter.

Tags: Career Blog, Development, Switzerland