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Top 10 Life Science Job Trends in 2017



6/1/2017 11:56:16 AM

Top 10 Life Science job Trends in 2017 June 8, 2017
By Mark Terry, BioSpace.com Breaking News Staff

Life science companies worldwide adjust and evolve to market and technological changes. The market changes because of an aging population and its specific diseases become more common—Alzheimer’s, arthritis, cancer, cardiovascular disease, for example.
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The market also evolves with technological changes—increased computing power and big data have led to a need for data scientists; medical device applications have created a need for more medical technology and/or biomedical engineering jobs; and new understanding of genomics has led to more jobs for people specializing in genomics and genetics.

Here’s a look at the top 10 trends life science job seekers should keep an eye out for.

1. Medical Technology.

This refers not to medical technologists who work in clinical diagnostic laboratories—which continues to be an area of high demand—but to individuals involved in developing medical devices and the manufacturing end of biopharma. Paul Strouts, global managing director of recruiting firm Hayes Life Sciences, wrote, “Last year saw exciting innovations in medical technology, such as bioelectronics (implantatable ‘electroceuticals’), artificial intelligence and medical 3D printing.” He sees 2017 as the year the theory produces practical applications.

An example of a job in this area is Test Engineer for BioInspire Technologies in Palo Alto, Calif. This position will test for “products, components and prototypes to support product development.”

2. Data Scientists.

Data science is everywhere in biopharma now, ranging through genomics, the human microbiome, aggregating and analyzing clinical data and other diverse data. Data scientists typically have a degree in mathematics, statistics, epidemiology, or computers, with often additional training—sometimes higher degrees or “boot camps”—in data science.

An example is Clinical Data Manager for Miltenyi Biotec in Cambridge, Mass. This position provides clinical data management support to the Clinical Operations team and Biostatistics team through all four phases of clinical trials.

3. Genomics.

Each human genome is made up of three billion base pairs, which are organized into 20,000 to 25,000 genes. And they are not single entities—they interact with each other and the environment, and can be switched on and off through specific changes in the environment or in some cases, by whether they are passed down by the mother or the father. Recent studies have found that genes can be affected by personal experiences and trauma, which can then be inherited. Genomics is one of the fruits of the Human Genome Project, and continues to affect and revolutionize the life science industry.

An example is Research Associate/Senior Research Associate, Genomics for Calico Labs in South San Francisco, Calif. This position calls for preparing DNA and RNA sequencing libraries for Illumina (ILMN) platforms, operating lab robots, and various nucleic acid sample quantitation and analysis methods.

4. Cyber Security.

Strouts writes, “An increasing number of healthcare companies are connecting their devices and mobile apps to the cloud, which is fueling debate about personal privacy and cyber security. As we move into 2017, this trend will give rise to more employment opportunities in the cyber security space.”

An example is Associate Information Security – Data Analytics for Amgen (AMGN) in Tampa, Florida. This position reports to the Senior Manager Information Systems and focuses on security data analytics and visualization. It is part of Amgen’s Information Security team.

5. Sales.

Sales is a position in biopharma and medical device companies that never really loses its importance. In recent years, there’s been more of a consultative approach, with sales staff chosen for not only ability interact with customers, but also for their technical backgrounds. BioSpace currently has at least 258 jobs with “sales” in the title.

An example is Pharmaceutical Sales Specialist – Respiratory for AstraZeneca (AZN) in Atlanta, Georgia. The job description says, “You will develop superior product and disease state knowledge and effectively educate and engage healthcare professionals in dialogue about clinical evidence, approved indications, and product efficacy/safety profile to support on-label prescribing for appropriate patients.”

6. Regulatory.

Regulatory compliance is another area that never really wanes, simply because global regulations change, and because of their importance. As the latest U.S. presidential election demonstrated, drug pricing remains a hot topic.

An example is Quality/Regulatory Specialist for Altor BioScience in Miramar, Florida. This position calls for the development, implementation and maintenance of controlled documentation and documentation processes.

7. R&D for Generics.

Generic drugs as well as what are now known as “biosimilars,” which are essentially generic or copycat versions of biologics medications, are a big and growing business. There has been significant shifts and consolidation in the industry, such as Dublin-based Allergan (AGN) selling off most of its generics business to Israel-based Teva Pharmaceutical Industries (TEVA). Much of the generics trends are related to the number of patents expiring between now and 2020, which has stimulated generics manufacturing.

An example is Global Safety Medical Director for Amgen in Thousand Oaks, Calif. The position notes that, “Quality biosimilar development requires a new paradigm, integrating all the science and experience at Amgen developing biologics as well as our quality manufacturing while creatively and rapidly executing a streamlined and efficient data generation program to demonstrate similarity to the originator product.”

8. Contract Manufacturing.

Although some observers believe that contract manufacturing organizations are slowing down in growth, there is other evidence suggesting that these companies that handle much of the clinical trial drug manufacturing and trials for pharmaceutical companies, are only growing. BioSpace currently has 139 jobs that respond to “CRO.”

An example is Clinical Trial Manager for Dermira (DERM) in Menlo Park, Calif. This position is responsible for the day-to-day operational aspects of the company’s clinical trials in compliance with the applicable GCP/ICH guidelines.

9. United Kingdom Jobs.

Many biopharma and life science companies are international in nature, operating R&D, manufacturing and sales functions worldwide. Two of the big regions include the UK and China (see #10). And you’d better believe that as the UK leaves the European Union—and London was the headquarters for the EU’s European Medicines Agency—that there’s going to be an increase in people in the regulatory end of things working to develop new guidelines and negotiate contracts with various stakeholders worldwide.

A position in the UK is Patient Safety Solution Delivery for AstraZeneca in Cambridge, England, and other locations (including Gaithersburg, Mary., US., and Gothenburg, Fastra Gotaland, Sweden). The purpose of this position is to partner with three R&D science units and provide support in delivering the drug development pipeline.

10. China Jobs.

IBISWorld published a recent "Global Biotechnology Market Research Report" and found that many biopharmaceutical organizations are restructuring to take advantage of emerging markets, such as China and India. Another market report, "Top Pharmaceutical Markets 2016: China," published by Pharmafile, noted that, “China is the second largest pharmaceutical market in the world, forecasted to grow from $108 billion in 2015 to $167 billion by 2020, representing an annual growth rate of 9.1 percent.”

And you can believe that global pharmaceutical companies are anxious to access a piece of that market, with sales, manufacturing and R&D operations in the country.

ProClinical, located in Shanghai, is looking for an Executive Search Associate/Partner to build and develop biopharma executive teams in China.

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