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Fellow Feature

Micah Anthony, PharmD
February 11, 2021

Fellowship Sponsor Company: Rutgers / Bristol-Myers Squibb
Function/Discipline: HEOR
Fellowship Years: 2019—2021
Alma Mater: Xavier University

Have a fellowship question? Click here to ask a current fellow!

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IPhO News

Professional Development Week Registration
February 9, 2021

Prof Dev Image

IPhO is proud to present a regional chapter effort in the promotion of pharmacy, industry, and professionalism.

Details and RSVP links to the FREE SEMINARS, taking place from February 15-19, can be found here.

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Paths to Industry

Ramon Kelly, PharmD, RPh, BCMAS
February 2, 2021

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Ramon Kelly, PharmD, RPh, BCMAS
Pharmacovigilance Analyst
Kowa Pharmaceuticals America, Inc.

Sometimes, taking a longer path better prepares you for the journey ahead.

After graduation, I started to map out my career trajectory. I quickly realized that I wasn't satisfied with my role as a community pharmacist. After revisiting my didactic and rotational experiences, I narrowed down my preferred career path choices and decided to pursue an industry position.

With only limited knowledge of the pharmaceutical industry, I decided to network with my colleagues to better understand how to start. I received great feedback from fellows and other pharmacists who had made this transition. Exploring and reading all the different career possibilities for PharmDs in the pharmaceutical industry was exciting. I gravitated to courses offered by my program such as Pharmacokinetics, Toxicology, and Drugs of Abuse. I learned about many of the significant incidents that prompted the regulations enacted to monitor marketed drug products' benefits and risk profiles. That's how my fascination with Pharmacovigilance began. After learning more about the role, I knew it could help me build a robust therapeutic area foundation while allowing me to sharpen and utilize my clinical skills to help champion patient safety.

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Fellow Feature

Nicolas James, PharmD
January 26, 2021

Nicolas James

Fellowship Sponsor Company: UCB / IPhO

Function/Discipline: Global Regulatory Affairs

Fellowship Years: 2020—2022

Alma Mater: Albany College of Pharmacy and Health Sciences (ACPHS)

Co-Chief, IPhO National Fellows Council

How has IPhO prepared you for a career working within the pharmaceutical industry?
I believe IPhO prepared me in several ways. The most obvious preparation came from increasing my knowledge of the pharmaceutical industry. In pharmacy school, most students simply learn that in order to get a drug approved, you submit an IND and NDA to the FDA and hopefully it gets approved. We learn next-to-nothing about the opportunities for pharmacists post-grad, which have boomed over the last 10 years or so. By attending IPhO meetings, I was able to learn an incredible amount about pharmacists in the industry and the critical roles they play in drug development. Another way IPhO prepared me for this career is by improving my soft skills. I was fortunate enough to lead the ACPHS IPhO chapter for about a year and a half, which gave me an opportunity to work on my leadership, communication and project management skills, all of which are invaluable to a career in regulatory affairs. Ultimately, IPhO gave me a platform to learn about the industry while growing the skills necessary to enter the industry, both of which were critical to landing my position.

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Industry Pharmacist Success Stories

An Interview with Tom Marshall, PharmD
January 25, 2021

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Tom Marshall, PharmD
Director, HEOR – Heme & CART
Bristol Myers Squibb


When did you decide that you wanted to work in industry versus retail/hospital? Was there an experience(s) that inspired that decision?
While I was in pharmacy school, I worked in both the retail and outpatient setting. I liked it because of the clinical aspect of the positions. But I was attracted to the pharmaceutical industry because of the overall ability for growth. Additionally, there was a clear business side within the industry and the prospect of bringing innovative therapies to patients was really exciting. I spoke with a lot of people working within the industry to get a better idea of their experiences to assess if I would be a good fit.

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IPhO News

USC School of Pharmacy Joins IPhO Student Chapter Network!
January 23, 2021

USCPharmacy

We are pleased to announce that University of Southern California (USC) School of Pharmacy has joined our network as the 92nd chapter!

Congratulations to student pharmacists at USC! IPhO now connects them to more than 5,000 student pharmacists with similar interests, as well as a national network of hundreds of industry fellows and thousands of industry pharmacists.

Several more schools are in the late stages of filing their chapter applications and will soon join the growing national network.

To start a chapter at your school, click here.

For the student benefits of joining IPhO, view the National Student Brochure here!

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Industry Pharmacist Success Stories

An Interview with George Okpamen, PharmD
January 20, 2021

George - Official Headshot

George Okpamen, PharmD
Startups Strategy Leader for Diabetes & Biomedicines Business Units
Eli Lilly and Company
Co-founder and Chief Business Officer
Pharmacy Initiative Leaders (PILs)


I recently had the opportunity to speak virtually with Texas Southern University's own, George Okpamen. By day, George works for Eli Lilly and Company as the Startups Strategy Leader in the Diabetes & Biomedicines Business Units. At night, he serves as the Co-founder and Chief Business Officer of Pharmacy Initiative Leaders (PILs), an organization committed to increasing diversity and inclusion, both locally and globally in every stage of healthcare. Throughout his journey, George has lived by the sayings "be intentional" and "one time for the one time." The first phrase is self-explanatory, but the second phrase serves as an important reminder to take advantage of an opportunity of a lifetime in the lifetime of that opportunity. George practices these philosophies in every aspect of his life, and encourages others to weave them into their lives as well. George shared with me a more in-depth look at his career path, and the intentional steps he took to get to where he is today.


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Fellow Feature

Don't Give Up—Si Li's Fellowship Perseverance Story
January 19, 2021

Si Li Professional Picture

Fellowship Sponsor Company: Pfizer

Function/Discipline: Oncology HEOR and Market Access

Fellowship Years: 2020—2022

Alma Mater: MCPHS

The theme of my story is: don't give up!

My fellowship journey started similar to yours. Over a year ago, I applied to different fellowships and had interviews, receptions, on-sites—the works. However, shortly after the ASHP Midyear Clinical Meeting, when candidates were notified of their decisions, I was not on the favorable end. I did not receive an offer at that time. I was extremely happy for those that did receive an offer and congratulated them on their well-deserved accomplishments.

When I did not receive a fellowship offer at that time, I was a bit disappointed because it was not the outcome I had hoped for. However, I did not give up. I was still optimistic that it would all work out in the end. I reached out to all of my networks to see what steps I could take and what opportunities were available. This way, they were aware that I was still seeking industry opportunities and would keep me in mind should they come across any. In the meantime, I also applied to different entry-level industry positions and available fellowships. After some time and several interviews later, I felt like I was the luckiest girl in the world when I found out I was chosen to be the inaugural fellow based out of New York City.

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Industry Pharmacist Success Stories

An Interview with Neveen Abou-Gharbia, PharmD, MBA
January 12, 2021

Neveen Headshot

Neveen Abou-Gharbia, PharmD, MBA
Executive Director, Global Marketing
Otsuka America Pharmaceuticals Inc.


When did you decide that you wanted to work in industry versus retail/hospital?
Going into pharmacy school, I always knew that I wanted to pursue pharmaceutical industry but I didn’t want to pursue the R&D side of the business. So it wasn’t until I completed my first summer internship at DuPont Merck in cardiovascular medical affairs that it became clear to me what I wanted to pursue upon graduation.


Was there an experience that inspired that decision?
Yes, my mother and father went to pharmacy school abroad then came to the States to pursue their PhDs in chemistry. They went on to have long-standing and successful careers at DuPont Chemicals and Wyeth Ayerst respectively. So growing up, I would see how they leveraged their pharmacy and chemistry education to discover new drug entities, patents & technologies in the lab leading to multiple promotions and increasing responsibility along the way. They both have inspired me to pursue pharmaceutical industry to bring new medicines in therapeutic areas of high unmet need.

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Fellow Feature

Yolanda K. Peprah, PharmD
January 11, 2021

Yolanda Headshot

Fellowship Sponsor Company: Bayer Pharmaceuticals

Function/Discipline: Regulatory Affairs

Fellowship Years: 2020—2022

Alma Mater: University of Maryland, Baltimore (UMB) School of Pharmacy

My interest in industry came toward my third year of pharmacy school. A conversation with a UMB alumnus influenced me to start attending IPhO meetings. Our IPhO chapter even had the opportunity to tour AstraZeneca and learn about the drug development process, clinical development roles, and fellowship and rotational opportunities. I enjoyed the exposure I gained from that field trip and started to align my steps toward obtaining a fellowship. Regulatory affairs stood out to me the most because it allows you to utilize your knowledge to strategize with other functional areas to meet the requirements for drug approval. I was also impressed by the opportunities to serve as the liaison between health authorities and the company, as well as the impact regulatory scientists make in drug development.

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Paths to Industry

James Jeng, MEng, PharmD
January 6, 2021

James Jeng

Company: AbbVie Inc.

Current Role: US Regulatory Affairs, Advertising and Promotion Manager

Alma Mater: Purdue University, Class of 2019

A non-fellowship path to industry isn’t necessarily a contingency plan. If you find your passion early on within industry, then it may be worthwhile to consider pursuing permanent roles upon graduation. As a student, I believed fellowship was the safest option into industry, and I never considered manager-level positions for entry because I didn’t think I would qualify. However, I hope my story can demonstrate that it’s not an impossible endeavor. It might take some good fortune, but as Thomas Edison once said, “good fortune is what happens when opportunity meets with planning”.

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IPhO News

Belmont University College of Pharmacy Joins IPhO Student Chapter Network!
January 2, 2021

Belmont

New year, new chapter in the IPhO family! We are kicking off 2021 by welcoming the 91st school in our rapidly growing national network.

Congratulations to student pharmacists at Belmont University College of Pharmacy! IPhO now connects them to more than 5,000 student pharmacists with similar interests, as well as a national network of hundreds of industry fellows and thousands of industry pharmacists.

Several more schools are in the late stages of filing their chapter applications and will soon join the growing national network.

To start a chapter at your school, click here.

For the student benefits of joining IPhO, view the National Student Brochure here!

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Student Leader Spotlight

Student Leader Spotlight: Tychell Branchcomb
December 31, 2020

Name: Tychell Branchcomb
School: University of Florida–Gainesville, Class of 2022
Position: Director, Finances & Fundraising
Hometown: Fredericksburg, VA

Tychell, a University of Florida 2022 graduate, explains how she is being intentional with her time in pharmacy school. She was a contributor on a committee to get her chapter's VIP Case Competition developed into an elective course and approved for credit in the fall. Hear how she's getting involved and optimizing her chances of securing a fellowship upon graduation.

Are you a current pharmacy student interested in sharing a story? Click here to let us know!

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Industry Pharmacist Success Stories

Meet Tiffany Pela, PharmD, MPH
December 28, 2020

TIffany Pela

Tiffany Pela, PharmD, MPH
Company: Sanofi Genzyme
Current Role: Director, Immunology Strategic Team Lead- Payer Scientific Engagement Strategy
Alma Mater: Florida A&M University College of Pharmacy c/o 2006

I grew up in the northern United States, so I knew about the pharmaceutical industry, but I didn’t know it was the path for me until my final year of pharmacy school. I chose to do my elective rotations at Procter & Gamble (P&G) because I wanted to try something outside of “traditional” pharmacy. I worked in their medical affairs department and fell in love with the strategic mindset of the pharmaceutical industry. I was fascinated by preparing for new competitors, diving deeper into the clinical trials, and designing posters for new clinical information! After that experience, I applied for fellowships and was accepted into the program at Rutgers University and Bristol Myers Squibb. I have been working within the industry ever since. Currently I am the Director, Team Lead of Immunology - Payer Scientific Engagement Strategy at Sanofi Genzyme. In my role I help develop the plan for how our medical affairs team will interact with health care decision makers.

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Industry Pharmacist Success Stories

An Interview with Deb Mathews, PharmD
December 17, 2020

Deb Matthews

Deb Mathews, PharmD
Experienced Executive, Medical Affairs
VP, Medical Affairs
CTI BioPharma (start in Jan. 2021)
Consultant, Medical Strategy & Medical Affairs
Vaniam Group


When did you decide that you wanted to work in industry versus retail/hospital? Was there an experience that inspired that decision?

As I entered the workforce post-training, I went directly into Clinical Pharmacy. I was fortunate to receive a role at the University of Miami Sylvester Cancer Center (UMSCCC) in Oncology, without the requirement for a residency or fellowship. During my time at UMSCCC as a clinical research pharmacist, I took advantage of every opportunity to learn, always taking on new projects, and remaining open to any atypical experiences. This opened the door for me to sit on the Institutional Review Board and to lead the P&T Committee, where I gained incredible exposure to a variety of research projects. After a few years, I transitioned into the HIV space, where I managed the pharmacy outpatient service for the largest community hospital in Miami. During my time as the Manager of the outpatient pharmacy service, I did everything from contract negotiations, to writing drug utilization reports, and even conducted a clinical trial measuring cost-effectiveness for pharmacy services. The totality of experiences inspired me to pursue a career within the industry where I felt I could make an impact on patient care on a broader scale. I began my career in the industry as a Medical Science Liaison (MSL) in HIV for approximately four years. As is often typical in this industry, when you are working hard, putting out good work and maintaining solid relationships across the spectrum, opportunities for advancement will often find you. As such, I was offered a management opportunity, becoming Manager and National Director of the HIV MSL team with GSK and Tibotec Therapeutics. My career has continued to grow and advance and I have enjoyed many roles in Executive Leadership, including the US Director of Scientific Training with AstraZeneca, US Medical Lead on Global Scientific Launch Team in Oncology, and ultimately VP, Medical Affairs for small biotech companies focused in Microbiome Research and Malignant Hematology.

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Student Leader Spotlight

Student Leader Spotlight: Leslie Ibenana
December 16, 2020

Name: Leslie Ibenana
School: Texas Southern University, Class of 2022
Position: Director, Professional Programming
Hometown: Baltimore, MD

"I was fortunate to be a part of the HBCU Industry Panel Webinar. That experience was really great in not only giving representation but showing that there is a network of people that look like me who are making an impact in the industry space. Having that image is enough to really ignite a flame in students and help them in pursuing that career and knowing that it is possible."

Are you a current pharmacy student interested in sharing a story? Click here to let us know!

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Student Leader Spotlight

Student Leader Spotlight: Chidinma Onyia
December 1, 2020

Name: Chidinma Onyia
School: University of Colorado, Class of 2022
Position: Director, Social Media & Marketing (Past)
Hometown: Little Rock, Arkansas

At the end of an IPhO meeting, the guest speaker mentioned that his company was hiring interns. Chidinma used it as an opportunity to introduce herself and through this networking experience, she secured an industry internship! In her video, she shares valuable advice for students looking to land a role in industry based on what's working well for her.

Are you a current pharmacy student interested in sharing a story? Click here to let us know!

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Paths to Industry

Nafisa King, PharmD
November 16, 2020

King_Nafisa

Company: PRECISIONscientia

Current Role: Medical Writer, Oncology

Alma Mater: Florida Agricultural and Mechanical University College of Pharmacy

There are usually two trajectories into industry: one more traditional (which I like to call "vertical") and the other one I call "horizontal"—which, if you guessed it, is where I fall. My writing path was from the creative to the scientific prescriptive and is now a comfortable combination of the two.

As an undergraduate, I spent most of my days in class, afternoons in the library, and evenings creating stories in a world of science fiction online. I unlocked a well of creativity and allowed my readers to visualize and internalize some of the abstract notions of modern science. At the start of pharmacy school, I took a hiatus from writing and by my third year, it was a long-forgotten hobby.

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Industry Pharmacist Success Stories

An Interview with Danny Talati, PharmD
November 12, 2020

Danny

Danny Talati, PharmD
Lead, Business Development
ATAI Life Sciences AG


When did you decide that you wanted to work in industry versus retail/hospital?

I went to Northeastern University’s direct pharmacy program. During my 4th year, we would have co-ops where we would take a semester off to work in a real-world setting. I worked at CVS and an independent pharmacy, eventually realizing retail was not for me. I was always interested in business and I minored in business during my undergraduate education. So I wanted to seek an industry opportunity, but my pharmacy school’s co-op department had no connections with biotech companies. I was flipping through an alumni book and learned about an alum who worked at a pharmaceutical company in California. Fortunately, they had an opening and I temporarily moved to San Francisco to work at Alza Pharmaceuticals for 6 months in medical information. During this experience, I had great mentors and learned a lot.

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Fellowship Central

FDA-BeiGene-ACPHS pharmacovigilance fellowship
November 12, 2020

Overview This two-year fellowship in pharmacovigilance and medication safety is a collaboration of BeiGene, the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) Office of Surveillance and Epidemiology (OSE) and Albany College of Pharmacy and Health Sciences (ACPHS). This partnership of a global pharmaceutical company with a regulatory agency and an academic institution will provide a rich and rewarding experience for the fellow. In addition, the three partners want to build on their individual strengths and common objectives to create a compelling project that will span the two years.

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