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Launch pad for a scientific career in the pharmaceutical industry

Working in research and development as an intern has given me a rare glimpse into the world of drug development, and convinced me that this is where I belong.

Hi, my name is Malte Bøgh Senniksen. Currently, I am studying for my master’s degree in pharmaceutical sciences at the University of Copenhagen, Denmark. I got my first insights into the world of pharmaceutical research when I spent a year as an undergraduate research assistant at the university, and half a year as a student researcher at Monash University in Melbourne, Australia. However, I felt like I needed the industry perspective to really understand what it takes to bring a drug to market, which is what led me to Roche. Right now, I am working as an intern in formulation research and development in Basel. All the work I have done, and all the data I have produced at Roche, will make the basis of my master's thesis and will provide valuable input for future formulation development.

Compared to my experience at university, science at Roche is…

All about teamwork. It has been very uplifting to experience the team spirit at Roche, where it is very apparent that we all work towards a common goal: to produce pharmaceutical innovations with the potential to change the lives of patients around the world. All contributions are noticed, and even as an intern, you get a chance to help mold the future of pharmaceutics.

The RiSM (Roche Internship in Synthetic Molecules) Programme helps me to develop because…

I have been faced with many challenging tasks and a lot of responsibility, which has helped me to grow and expand my knowledge on formulation R&D. Working with a diverse team of scientists with different backgrounds and experience has taught me a lot, and has helped me adapt to new ways of working. At Roche, I have developed my skill set further than what has been possible at university, and finally put theory into practice. It has helped to shape me as a person, provided me with a strong network, and given me the tools necessary to pursue a scientific career in the pharmaceutical industry.

To people who are interested in the RiSM programme I would recommend to…

Jump into it and apply! It might seem a bit daunting to work in an unfamiliar environment with many highly competent colleagues, but don’t worry, the atmosphere is very welcoming at Roche, and you will be part of the team in no time. The RiSM programme offers an outstanding opportunity to get experience in the industry, and can be one step of many towards a scientific career in R&D.

Working as an intern at Roche has helped me develop, and provided me with the tools necessary to pursue a scientific career in R&D.

Our impact

My work helps Roche think outside the box. In order to produce efficient and safe drug products, it is often necessary to employ formulation strategies to ensure that the drug reaches its intended target. By screening the efficacy of a broader range of excipients for established granulation techniques in a small-scale setup, I helped Roche open doors for formulation approaches and manufacturing principles that might benefit the next generation of drug products.

The place to work

From my first day of work at Roche, I have felt the support of my colleagues, where no issue has been too big or small to talk about. Although I come from Denmark, and have a limited German language proficiency, communication has never been a problem. The new ways of communicating and planning during COVID-19 allowed me to be flexible, and turned out to be more of an opportunity than a hurdle. There is a clear feeling of mutual respect in the teams, and as an intern you always feel included!

During my internship, it has been a continuous source of inspiration for me to see how heavily invested in R&D Roche is, and how large collaborations can take place across departments. Curiosity is always appreciated and no stone is left unturned.

Our culture

Working in R&D at Roche is a great experience, as you can feel that the culture revolves around innovation and knowledge sharing. As an intern, I have gained an insight into subjects that I have not been in contact with before such as in silico models, continuous manufacturing of synthetic compounds, the application of robotics, and much more by attending presentations by teams from around the globe. This has widened my horizon, and allowed me to better understand all of the moving parts of R&D.

Our workplace

With the situation here regarding working from home because of COVID-19, some days the commute to work can be as short as the walk to the living room table at home, which definitely makes me miss the mountain view from the office in Basel and seeing my colleagues. However, when I am in the lab I always appreciate my surroundings. At Roche, many of the laboratories are designed with specific processes in mind, and everything you need is within arm’s reach, to allow for efficient ways of working. 

Interested in the Roche Internship in Synthetic Molecules (RiSM) Programme? Click here for more information.

Curious to learn more about our programmes at Roche? Click here.
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Tags: Career Blog, Europe, Switzerland