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The Biotech Boom Good for Career Business

Researcher working in a lab

By any measure, the biotech boom is driving growth in the pharmaceutical and life sciences industries. For many ambitious young people, this translates into a range of rewarding career opportunities. We spoke with one of our star contractors and two Aerotek industry specialists to get their takes.

Business is good

Brandon Jones and Brandon Brock share at least two things: a first name and a passion for putting people to work in life sciences. Brandon Jones is an Aerotek account manager and Brandon Brock a senior account recruiting manager, both based in Raleigh, NC. We asked them for their take on the biotech boom and its role in fueling business growth in the life sciences and pharmaceutical industries.

Our conversation started with us observing that the stock market remains bullish on category growth. “Yes, business is good and growing for our clients. We work with some of the most prestigious academic health centers and the largest clinical research organization (CROs) in the US,” said Brandon Jones. Growing business means greater opportunity for employees interested in life sciences careers.

Clinical research professionals wanted, bigtime

“In the world of clinical research trials, there are two essential roles: the clinical research associates (CRAs) who monitor and provide oversight to a clinical drug study and the clinical research coordinators (CRCs) who recruit patients and coordinate activities on-site at the hospital hosting the study,” explains Brandon Brock.

“A few years ago, we saw a trend towards companies developing CRAs internally, in many cases bringing up CRCs and cultivating them to become seasoned CRAs. The net-net of that trend is we now face a crucial shortage of CRCs in the industry.”

Biologics, proteins and Indiana Jones

Feeding the pharma biotech boom with qualified scientists is another challenge we face as the category continues to expand. One talented Aerotek contractor scientist is Gamya Suryapalli, who also works in the Research Triangle around Raleigh-Durham, NC. Despite being just a couple of years from her master’s degree in pharmacology, Gamya is as insightful about the industry as she is enthusiastic about the role she hopes to play.

“When I was a young girl growing up in India, I wanted to be Indiana Jones. By the time I got to grad school here in the States, I guess I’d tempered my heroic ambitions a bit – I wanted to work in biologics research,” she told us with a smile that you could hear over the phone. “I realized that, in all the fields of applied medicine, the research going on around large molecules, proteins, had the most promise for impacting people’s lives. That’s what motivates me – better outcomes in patients’ lives from the work we’re doing in the lab, today.”

With her obvious love for the work, we asked Gamya to talk about her typical day.

“Well, the first thing I do each morning is plan my experiments for the day. This often means preparing my biologic samples. Right now, I’m not designing the experiments, I’m just performing them. I absolutely love it. When I’m immersed in my experiment in the lab, I am in the zone.”

Credentials in biotech

We asked Brandon Brock about the educational credentials and background required to excel in the life science industry.

“Well for CRCs, clinical research coordinators, we usually present candidates with almost any undergrad degree who also have an interest in, if not a passion, for the life sciences. For CRAs, clinical research associates, the most highly sought candidates have their RN degree, since they’re already familiar working with patient health records and clinical data.”

With expected gusto, Gamya shared her long-term career and education plans, including some advice for aspiring scientists: “Well, my goal is to become a lead or principal scientist, where I can design experiments, and so I’m planning on pursuing my Ph.D. in the not-too-distant future. My next step is likely a second master’s in biostatistics. But I would recommend to anyone considering a career in the research lab — get your Ph.D. as early as possible. It just gets a little harder each year out of school to make the time and the investment to go back.”

If you’re considering a career, or your next move, in the booming biotech or life sciences, we’d love to work with you too. Take a look at out our open positions for clinical research associates and coordinators and create your free Aerotek career account today.