Professional Development

Paths to Industry
Paths to Industry: Sarica Vieda Klein, PharmD

Sarica KleinSarica Vieda Klein, PharmD

Company and Department: Sanofi Genzyme, Medical Affairs

Current Role: Medical Science Liaison

Alma Mater: University of Southern California, Class of 2006

After earning an undergraduate degree in biology, I started working at Amgen in the preclinical research department. It was there that I discovered my love for working in the pharmaceutical industry. More than anything, I enjoyed being surrounded by innovation and cutting-edge science, where the ultimate goal was simple: to help patients. I was encouraged by a PhD coworker to continue my education and I decided to pursue a doctorate of pharmacy. I was admitted to USC pharmacy school, where I spent every day gaining knowledge and growing more appreciative of my education. With the help of two other classmates, I started the Student Industry Association where pharmacy students could learn about careers in industry.

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Paths to Industry
Paths to Industry: Niren Shah, PharmD, MBA

Niren Shah Head Shot

Niren Shah, PharmD, MBA

Company and Department: PTC Therapeutics, Business Operations

Current Role: Senior Director, Business Development and Strategic Partnerships

Alma Mater: University of Florida, Class of 2010

During my first rotation, I came up with what I thought was a great idea for an article. I spent a number of hours researching the topic and finally mustered up the courage to share the idea with one of my professors, Dr. Epstein. While he appreciated the enthusiasm, he gave me a particularly skeptical look when I told him I would like to publish the paper in The New England Journal of Medicine. We ultimately collaborated on a different project, which became the start of a great relationship that would end in a journey to industry and beyond.

I then decided to pursue a fellowship at the East Coast Institute for Research (ECIR) with Drs. Epstein and Choksi. My two years would be spent teaching, researching (phase 2-4), and publishing manuscripts. ECIR also had a separate arm that consulted for a wide range of pharmaceutical companies like AZ and Novartis. This was where I got my first exposure to industry and I absolutely fell in love.

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Paths to Industry
Paths to Industry: Mudit Verma, PharmD

Mudit Verma Headshot_1Mudit Verma, PharmD

Company and Department: Accelovance, Inc., Medical Writing

Current Role: Medical Writer

Alma Mater: University of Maryland, Class of 2018

Throughout pharmacy school, I sought a non-traditional career path and perceived the pharmaceutical industry to be a world of endless excitement and innovation. The core of my pharmacy training was clinically-focused, so I gained skills that would help me prosper in industry.

I spent most of my extracurricular time engaging in international pharmacy enterprises by traveling to six different countries throughout pharmacy school: Honduras, Argentina, Nicaragua, Jamaica, Singapore, and Australia. My key strategy for retaining the clinical skills I acquired in each location was to thoroughly document my experiences and reflections and share them with my professional network. I sought out opportunities to publish my reflections via a variety of pharmacy platforms and learned very quickly that I enjoyed writing – so much so that I would then pivot into industry by showcasing my communication and articulation skills.

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Paths to Industry
Paths to Industry: Heidi McClelland, PharmD, BCACP

Heidi HeadshotHeidi McClelland, PharmD, BCACP

Company and Department: Pfizer, Medical Affairs

Current Role: Medical Outcomes Specialist

Alma Mater: University of Wisconsin–Madison, Class of 2004

When I entered pharmacy school in 2000, an industry career was not on my radar. I was working as a pharmacy technician at a large retail chain and planned to continue my career there as a pharmacist. During my fourth year of pharmacy school, I was in a 6-week rotation with a pharmacist working in Medical Affairs at Pfizer. This was when I first became fascinated by the idea of an industry career path.

Despite my fascination, I did continue to work as a retail pharmacist after graduation. I worked in various locations and positions, including a staff pharmacist and pharmacy manager. Although I enjoyed working closely and directly with patients, I realized after 7 years that I was ready to make a career change.

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Member's Journey!
Leah Palmer, PharmD: A Member’s Journey

Leah PalmerCompany: Recently Retired Executive Director, Regulatory Promotion and Material Compliance, Amgen
Current Role: Consultant
Alma Mater: Purdue University

As pharmacists, we have skills that qualify us for many different roles – reading the other IPhO member journeys on this website shows the many diverse areas where PharmDs are leading successful careers. You have many options – the key is figuring out what you like to do best. Don’t be afraid to make big changes or sacrifices in the short term to get you where you want to go long term.

In my career journey, I made some big changes to figure out my career options and passion. After working a number of years as a hospital pharmacist gaining clinical experience, I came to a point in my life where I wanted to explore other career options.

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Fellows Feature
IPhO Fellows Feature: Sara Angione, PharmD

Angione Headshot_1

Featured Fellow: Sara Angione, PharmD

Fellowship Sponsor Company: GlaskoSmithKline (GSK) and UNC Eshelman School of Pharmacy (UNC)

Function/Discipline: Global Regulatory Affairs

Fellowship Years: 2017 – 2019

Alma Mater: Fairleigh Dickinson University (FDU), Class of 2017

My strong interest in regulatory affairs originated from my cooperative education placements, and my employment within the Federal Government. I witnessed the dynamics between policy and science and developed an understanding of regulatory affairs and drug development through various employment experiences. My positions within Health Canada, community pharmacies internationally, and industry settings at Novartis and Becton Dickinson helped me become familiar with pre-market regulatory review and post-market surveillance.

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Paths to Industry
Paths to Industry: Diane Ammerman, PharmD

Ammerman Headshot

Diane Ammerman, PharmD

Company and Department: Genentech, Field Medical

Current Role: Senior Medical Science Liaison

Alma Mater: University of Pittsburgh, Class of 1998

I first learned about postions for pharmacists in industry while observing my faculty mentors move into Medical Science Liaison (MSL) roles. They were strong leaders and outstanding clinicians at the University of Pittsburgh, so their transition caught my attention. My residency was clinically-based in ambulatory care and managed care at the University of Maryland. I then moved into a clinical pharmacy position in managed care, where I had significant exposure to and involvement in new drug presentations from MSLs and Industry Account Managers, many of whom were recruiting me to work in the Pharmaceutical Industry. My clinical experience in managing psychiatric patients in insurance initiatives gave me insight that was helpful as I learned about open positions in industry. I decided to make the switch and interview for my first industry MSL position in neuroscience, and I was offered the job.

What's the bottom line?
Your clinical knowledge and experience gained during rotations and/or residency are valuable assets to industry employers. Utilize those skills as you network to help you break into industry in a nontraditional way.

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Paths to Industry
Paths to Industry: Francesca Bastone, PharmD

francesca bastoneFrancesca Bastone, PharmD

Company and Department: Prometic, Field Medical

Current Role: Medical Science Liaison

Alma Mater: Fairleigh Dickinson University, Class of 2017

I have always wanted to impact patient lives and health care on a global scale, and I ultimately discovered that the best way for me to do that was through the pharmaceutical industry, although the road to getting there was not a straightforward one.

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Fellows Feature
IPhO FELLOWS FEATURE: Lanny Nguyen, PharmD

Featured Fellow: Lanny Nguyen, PharmDKristina Vishnevetskaya

Fellowship Sponsor Company: DDB Health (Omnicom Health Group)

Function/Discipline: Pharmaceutical Advertising and Marketing

Fellowship Years: 2017-2019

Alma Mater: Rutgers University, Class of 2017

I never imagined that one day I would use my pharmaceutical background to assist with virtual reality experiences, video shoots, and podcasts. I knew early on in pharmacy school that I was interested in a somewhat non-traditional path. Before applying to pharmacy school, I was only aware of community and hospital pharmacy. After taking a class about the pharmaceutical industry at Rutgers, I learned that pharmacists have the potential to impact patients and healthcare on a national or even global level. I decided to explore that path further and took an Pharmaceutical Advertising and Marketing elective course. I was intrigued by the fact that this career path would allow me to use my scientific knowledge while incorporating creative elements. I was fortunate to intern at two pharmaceutical advertising agencies, RevHealth and Harrison and Star, which solidified my interest in this career path.

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Fellows Feature
IPhO FELLOWS FEATURE: Kristina Vishnevetskaya, PharmD, RPh

Featured Fellow: Kristina Vishnevetskaya, PharmD, RPhKristina Vishnevetskaya

Fellowship Sponsor Company: GlaxoSmithKline (UNC)

Function/Discipline: Global Regulatory Affairs

Fellowship Years: 2017-2019

Alma Mater: Rutgers University, Class of 2017

Industry is full of new and exciting innovations that drew me in from early in my pharmacy school career. I knew from my involvement in the Rutgers student chapter of DIA and my experiences within industry that I wanted to be a part of this dynamic environment and continue to grow as a life-long learner. I have always been passionate about wanting to help patients on a macro scale, and the pharmaceutical industry provides an ideal outlet for these ambitions.

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