Medical Science Liaison: Perfect Job for the Outgoing Scientist Peter Chen PhD Assistant Medical Director GE Healthcare, Medical Diagnostics [email protected] My Path • Aug 2003 – Aug 2009: IDP Student- Physiology and Pharmacology, Chris Baylis • Sept 2009 – Oct 2011: Post doc at University of Illinois at Chicago, Pharmacology • Oct 2011 – Aug 2012: MSL Contracted by inVentiv Therapeutics • Aug 2012 – Present: Assistant Medical Director for GE Healthcare Medical Diagnostics Leaving Academia Industry Academia Money Family Passion and Drive Independence Career Progression Job Security Human Interaction Respect What is a MSL? What is a Medical Science Liaison? “…specific role within the pharmaceutical, biotechnology, medical device, CRO and other health-care industries. MSLs have advanced scientific training and academic credentials generally consisting of a doctorate degree (Ph.D., PharmD., M.D.) in the life sciences.” http://themsls.org/what-is-an-msl MSL History • Medical Science Liaisons (MSLs) were first established by Upjohn Pharmaceuticals in 1967 • Need for scientifically trained field staff that would be able to build rapport with Key Opinion Leaders (KOLs) in various therapeutic areas of research • Originally, the first MSLs were selected from experienced sales representatives that had strong scientific backgrounds to bring a higher degree of clinical and educational expertise to the medical professionals they were working with • Over the years, MSL teams have been made up of individuals with various scientific backgrounds including: sales reps, those with nursing backgrounds, those with various doctoral degrees or other clinical backgrounds. http://themsls.org/what-is-an-msl Am I A Salesperson? Versus Sales “Medical science liaisons (MSLs), who are considered medical rather than sales staff, have greater freedom than salespeople as they visit doctors offices to discuss the science behind a medicine, including unapproved uses. The FDA permits drug companies to respond to unsolicited requests for information from doctors, including off-label data, if they provide truthful, nonpromotional material, says Rita Chappelle, an agency spokeswoman. And while the FDA requires traditional sales reps to refer information requests to their employers' medical or scientific staff, MSLs are usually on those staffs.” "I see them as primarily being in a position to give us information and educational support," says Robert Sundel, a physician at Children's Hospital Boston and an associate professor at Harvard Medical School. "While they're generally objective, as with everyone, I try to keep track of the ways in which their own interests might affect the information they provide." Wang, Wallstreet Journal 2009 Drug Firms' Medical Staffs Say What Salespeople Can't “At the same time, drug makers have been cutting their conventional sales forces. By the end of 2008, the number of U.S. sales reps had dropped to 90,000 from a peak of about 106,000 in 2006, according to ZS Associates, a consulting firm. Last month Amylin Pharmaceuticals Inc. said it plans to cut 35% of its sales force, or 200 sales reps, but none of its MSLs.” Wang, Wallstreet Journal 2009 But… Salaries and Industry Growth Industry Growth Top 10 pharmaceutical manufacturers increased their MSL teams from an average 107 FTEs in 2005 to 163 FTEs by 2009, a 52% increase. Top 25 companies grew from 51 FTEs in 2005 to 119 FTEs, a 133% increase. But much of the growth in Top 25 companies’ MSL team size occurred between 2005 and 2007. Since 2007 average MSL team sizes among Top 25 Companies rose by only 4 FTEs. Can I Be A MSL? Necessary Skills • Strong scientific and pharmaceutical knowledge and experience • Strong team, leadership, planning and written/verbal communication skills • Strong presentation and teaching skills • Ability to learn and effectively convey clinical and non-clinical technical information • Strong interpersonal skills – It’s not enough to think that you are outgoing or a “people-person”. Building and maintaining relationships is a lot of work. • Strong organizational skills Necessary Skills • Ability to work independently – MUST be self-motivated with the ability to work independently. These positions are field based (out of a home office environment) • Ability to lead and influence key decision makers • Ability to develop and maintain strong relationships • Ability to travel between 25-75% (depending on territory) – MSLs frequently spend 70% of their time traveling, and it isn’t something you can take lightly. Travel “We are a face organization…” My 2012 Travel • 235 Face to Face Meetings • 11 Conferences/Dinners • 6 Hospital Presentations • 121 flights • 23 nights in hotels • 50+ car rentals Responsibilities • Develop and maintain professional relationships with key opinion leaders • Present data on client products including unsolicited and off-label requests • Facilitate identification and presentation of research opportunities • Assist in implementation of protocol development and administration for proposals to be supported • Uncover unique opportunities to develop/implement drug utilization and pharmacoeconomic analysis. Provide medical input on product strategy, future indications • Provide information to local experts to assist in keeping their presentations current • Conduct on-going training to field sales personnel and others, edit promotional material • Represent the company at medical meetings Developing KOL Relationships http://www.cuttingedgeinfo.com Sample Meeting My Keys to Success… • • • • • Be yourself and believe what you say Leave your ego at home Be flexible Be perceptive and keep on your toes It’s not personal Results • • • • • • Clinical Research Publications Speaker Bureau Advisor Educational Programs Advocate and Outspoken Supporter Friends Finding a MSL Job Finding a MSL Job • Start educating yourself on the MSL role by reading articles on the role, interview techniques, what to expect on the job etc. MSLWorld.com • Who do you know? • Recruiters- Recruiters are an invaluable resource to learn about and to help you possibly transition into the role. Begin to reach out to them directly. • Contacting Medical Directors • Talk to sales representatives • Apply online- focus on roles that are within your Therapeutic Area or Disease specialty ONLY! • Get a sales job? • Contract jobs Finding a MSL Job • Continue to contribute to LinkedIn discussions on groups. This will help with networking. • Review multiple job descriptions to familiarize yourself. Use this same verbiage on your CV/Cover letter and LinkedIn profile. • Join MSL Societies Sample Job Posting Medical Science Liaison, Oncology (Central) *St. Louis or Chicago* • Develop and track thought leader (TL) engagement plans – identify, develop, and maintain long-term collaborative relationship with TLs within assigned territory. Participate in medical & scientific exchanges with the medical/scientific community. • Respond to and document unsolicited requests for information on company products and pipeline. Provide clinical/scientific information, as requested, to local payers and formulary decision makers to ensure patient access and support reimbursement. • Support advisory board meetings and investigator meetings. Provide support for content development and delivering clinical presentations. • Represent the company at medical meetings through Medical Affairs’ Scientific Booth coverage and other related activities. Provide medical/scientific presentations to internal and external groups. • Provide clinical/scientific input and training to internal functions within regulatory guidelines. • Identify and nominate members of the Promotional Speakers’ Bureau and ensure they are updated on new clinical data and findings Responsibilities • Facilitate company sponsored and investigator sponsored trials (ISTs). Provide frequent updates on investigative site support by updating medical/clinical teams with feedback and insights from interactions and discussions with TLs and investigators. Facilitate investigator interactions with Medical Directors. • Adhere to corporate SOPs and ensure vigilant compliance with relevant legal and regulatory guidelines governing scientific interactions with physicians and healthcare professionals across all activities, including those related to clinical trials, scientific interactions with internal and external groups, and responses to unsolicited requests for medical/scientific information. • Maintain clinical, scientific, and technical expertise in relevant product and disease state areas. • Lead and/or participate on department committees as delegated by Medical Science Liaison leadership. • Mentor fellow MSLs as assigned by Medical Science Liaison leadership. Qualifications • An advanced clinical degree required (e.g. PharmD, PhD, or MD – other doctoral degrees may be considered). • A minimum of 5 years of Clinical/research experience in the area of hematology and/or oncology strongly preferred. • Previous pharmaceutical/MSL experience preferred. • Flexibility, diplomacy, and ability to manage expectations. • Problem solving and entrepreneurial skills. • Ability to travel frequently Final Thoughts… Things to consider… • Stay in your therapeutic field…but be broad • It may take over an year to find a job…1% of new applicants gets hired • Don’t give up…rethink job search strategy • First job may not be your dream job…get your foot in the door • Don’t let a piece of paper do the talking for you In the meantime…Postdoc???? Industry MSL Academia Money Family Passion and Drive Independence Career Progression Job Security Human Interaction Respect References • MSL World • www.mslworld.com • Free career guide articles • LinkedIN • Job search • Network • Medical Science Liaison Society • Dr. Samuel Dyer, Chairman of the Board • www.themsls.org • Networking • Career guidance Thank You!