Clinical research and diagnostic career opportunities abound in NC :: WRAL.com

Clinical research and diagnostic career opportunities abound in NC :: WRAL.com


This article was written for our sponsor, NCBiotech.

It’s no secret that life sciences is one of the fastest-growing industries not only in North Carolina, but across the world.

Clinical research organizations, or CROs, support the drug development work that life sciences companies do, helping to move therapies from idea to market. Plenty of careers covering a wide range of responsibilities and skill sets are available in the sector, particularly in the clinical research and diagnostic fields.

These jobs are not just plentiful, but they have a major impact on health and quality of life around the globe.

“CROs go beyond just drug development — they come in all sizes and do everything from A to Z. That includes laboratory scientists, statisticians, quality assurance professionals, project managers, and not to mention a full range of careers in supporting functions like human resources, finance, sales and marketing,” said Mark Bethers, head of human resources, facilities and post-merger integration at BioAgilytix, a Durham-based bioanalytical lab specializing in large molecule bioanalysis. “There’s a much bigger proportion of companies that are niche CROs. They’re smaller and they focus on just one or two or three aspects of the process.”

At BioAgilytix, for example, the company’s labs deal in assays, which are tests used to measure the impact of a substance on a patient. If someone were to take ibuprofen, an assay could be developed to test how many milligrams are still in the user’s bloodstream anywhere from one hour after taking the pill to twelve hours after taking the pill.

That’s a simple example to explain the work that BioAgilytix does. However, the company’s assays are typically on more complex molecules, and the results are reported to pharmaceutical companies developing treatments. The information provided to pharma companies then helps guide regulatory approval related to dosing and applications.

These tests are available to provide both medical professionals and individuals with more information on the efficacy and dosage of the drug.

At Syneos Health, a Morrisville-based CRO, combines clinical and commercial expertise under one roof.

“We’ve got the ability to share knowledge and the insights back and forth between our clinical minds and commercial minds, and it makes us move quicker and more nimbly. We’re very fluid and able to plug and play and get all those minds working together in a fast-paced way,” said Christy Macias, senior director of North American talent acquisition at Syneos Health. “We’ve done work on COVID, we have groups that are dedicated to oncology — it all makes a huge impact statewide, nationwide and worldwide. Even if you’re not in one of the clinical roles, you still feel like you’re part of this huge machine that’s working in tandem to get trials executed as quickly as possible.”

In covering such a wide variety of needs, Syneos has a similarly wide range of careers — as does BioAgilytix. While scientific degrees are ideal for many of the more lab-based roles, there are also positions in information technology, computer science, human resources and finance.

While education certainly plays into a career in the clinical research field, according to Bethers, on-the-job experience can be just as helpful.

“It happens on occasion where somebody will come in with just an associate’s degree, but has two or three years of experience doing what we do,” said Bethers. “That experience is invaluable to us.”

For those looking to get their foot in the door, there are plenty of locally based training opportunities and internships that can help. Syneos Health, for example, has a summer intern program

For Macias, there’s ample opportunity at Syneos for a variety of degrees — and soft skills are almost equally important in earning a position.

“I would have a hard time thinking of any degree that wouldn’t potentially be a good fit. We really try to hone in on what skills people are bringing in, and a lot of times you can get a lot of the same kinds of skills — like problem solving, teamwork, collaboration — from pretty much any degree,” said Macias. “We’re looking for those soft skills in addition to the power skills. Then when teams work together, we’re able to have that diversity of thought to work as a sufficient team and bring solutions quicker.”

“To that point, the collaboration is amazing,” said Macias. “On paper, you look at the number and we seem like a big company, but you still feel connected to people and invested in the work we’re doing.”

This article was written for our sponsor, NCBiotech.



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Kassie Hoffman
Kassie pens down all the news from the world of politics on ANH.