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Career Opportunities in Biotechnology and Drug Development 1st Edition

44 customer reviews
ISBN-13: 978-0879697259
ISBN-10: 0879697253
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Editorial Reviews


"In the preface to [this book], author Toby Freedman states that her intention is to assist talented people in their search for satisfying employment in the life sciences industry and suggests that the book is designed to serve as a resource for the transition from academics into industry. She is president of Synapsis Search in Portola Valley, Calif., and an executive search recruiter. Without question, the newly published career guidebook accomplishes this goal. However, to dismiss the book as a resource specifically for so limited a target audience would be a disservice not only to novice professionals already at work within the biopharmaceutical industry but also to established professionals in the field. Even curious individuals not contemplating a career transition will find Freedman s text an interesting exploration of the biopharmaceutical industry and will, in fact, come away with a surprisingly rich understanding of where drugs come from. From page one, it is clear that Freedman understands how little time most readers can afford to dedicate to even well-constructed books of this type. The book is consistently and meticulously organized in such a way as to facilitate the maximum transfer of key information. Each section and subsection is bullet-point driven, yet Freedman s just the facts approach is sincere and engaging.
--Chemical & Engineering News

"Since I'm always interested in career development, and biotech is a field I don't know enough about, I thought I'd check [this book] out. I must admit I was highly impressed with the material...The first 6 chapters of this book provide general career advice, giving an overview of what is expected in the biopharma industry, what it takes to succeed, how to write a resume, network, etc. Most of the advice applies to all jobs, but some is specific to science or these industries. The advice is very good, and includes lots of details, examples, and resources for further information. Freedman provides a balanced overview, pointing out both the good and bad points of this industry." --American Chemical Society Careers Blog


Product Details

  • Hardcover: 409 pages
  • Publisher: Cold Spring Harbor Laboratory Press; 1 edition (October 1, 2007)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0879697253
  • ISBN-13: 978-0879697259
  • Product Dimensions: 10.2 x 7.1 x 1 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 2 pounds
  • Average Customer Review: 4.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (44 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,504,002 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

More About the Author

Toby Freedman is an author and Founder/President of Synapsis Search. A scientist by training, she transitioned into business as a recruiter, writer, and entrepreneur. Her book Career Opportunities in Biotechnology and Drug Development was published by Cold Spring Harbor Laboratory Press and provides a comprehensive overview of the many careers in the life sciences industry. Her book covers over 20 vocational areas ranging from venture capital to marketing to discovery research. She founded her own recruiting firm, Synapsis Search, which is focused on executive R&D and business placements in the life sciences industry. She previously worked at BioQuest, an executive search firm, placing VP to CEO-level executives, and as Director of Business Development at SLIL Biomedical, a drug discovery company developing therapeutics for cancer and other diseases. She earned a Ph.D. in molecular biology from UNC Chapel Hill, a B.S. from the University of California, and as an NIH Fellow, conducted postdoctoral research at Harvard University and at the University of Texas-Austin.

Toby is the Program Chair for the BioScience Forum, a non-profit educational forum serving the Bay Area biotechnology community and also teaches classes in career development for the life sciences at UC Berkeley extension.

Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

11 of 11 people found the following review helpful By Paul Martinetti, MD on January 3, 2008
Format: Hardcover
Career Opportunities in Biotechnology and Drug Development by Toby Freedman, Ph.D. ([...]) is an invaluable tool for anyone pursuing a new career or currently working in biopharma.

Applying for a job is a job in itself. When starting this process, it is difficult to remember everything that needs to be researched and considered for this important life decision. Executive support Web sites like offer helpful pieces of information, but in this book Dr. Freedman seems to have included everything the job-seeker needs.

The writing style is direct and personal, allowing for quick and enjoyable reading. By the end of Chapter 3, the reader can have a personalized list of to-do items that will increase confidence, and set a realistic expectation of the job seeking experience. Chapter 5 covers the Informational Interview concept. It is a key step in networking that I first learned after paying a career consultant $3,000 after I left clinical practice. Networking is how many people gain entry into biopharma. Part 1 of this book prepares the reader to start networking effectively.

Part II of the book is chaptered by career area over the life cycle of the biopharma product. The reader will gain a clear understanding of each step and how they depend on each other. Chapters are full of definitions and detailed explanations of each role, as well as educational and experience requirements for candidates. Each chapter creates a day-in-the-life-of-this-job picture with pros and cons of the job. Section titles such as "Are You a Good Candidate for Regulatory Affairs?" help readers match position requirements with their personal traits. There is even a list of personal characteristics in each chapter to help rule out a position.
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7 of 7 people found the following review helpful By Audrey Erbes on April 19, 2008
Format: Hardcover
Having worked in biopharma marketing and business development management for over 30 years, I am often asked by young professionals working in biotech R&D what positions they might pursue successfully on the business and marketing side of the business. I feel comfortable sharing what the roles, rewards and expectations are for business and marketing functions but don't have the background of actually moving from R&D myself to understand their current positions and the questions they should be asking. In the future, I will now recommend Toby Freedman's book to help them find the position that best fits their background, skills and temperment. I was especially impressed with the extremely valuable information about career ladders inside functions in all divisions as well as great insights where those with "Research bench" experience can move successfully. This book is not just for newly graduated life scientists but for those desiring a transition after years in a function. I was amazed with the breadth and depth of the myriad career paths covered and quality and accuracy of those positions I hadn't expected the author would have understood as well as research.
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful By Phillip Calvin on March 10, 2010
Format: Hardcover
This book is so multifaceted. It describes very clearly how the various divisions and departments of biopharma fit together. You learn the requirements for each career. You learn about suggested personal traits, comparative salaries, job security, do's and don'ts, pros and cons of each type of position, and how to switch careers within biopharma. You read lists of personal attributes which would contraindicate a particular career choice. You read about a typical day-in-the-life of various positions....

I've read or perused six Biopharma career books, and this is the best one I've found by far! I can't imagine how it could be any more comprehensive, helpful, and easy-to-read!
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By Nancy Gadol on January 13, 2009
Format: Hardcover
Toby Freedman has written one of the most thorough, well thought out, and helpful guides to obtaining careers in the biotechnology and pharmaceutical industries (biopharma). The book begins with an excellent overview of the industry, tips on how to break in, a list of the skills needed to succeed in industry, and tips on writing a resume. Nineteen careers are then discussed; the job descriptions and the personality traits and skills needed to be successful in each position are based on interviews with over two hundred professionals in the business.

Chapters include a description of different tracks within each occupation, roles and responsibilities, a typical day, salary and compensation, pros and cons of the job, traits shared by successful people in the field, career potential, experience and education needed, and paths to enter each career. The steps in product development managed under each position are illustrated in diagrams and common career paths leading to each position and subsequent positions to which one can advance are shown in flow charts. One of the best surprises was the pithy statements derived from the interviews and highlighted in boxes next to the text, eg, "It's far better to join a mediocre company with a great boss than a great company with a crappy boss," placed next to a paragraph with the heading: Choose your mentor, not the company.

Last, but not least, every chapter ends with a terrific list of recommended training, professional societies, and resources. This is an essential career guide not only for those wanting to break into biopharma, but also for those in the industry wanting to move up or make a change.

Nancy Gadol, PhD
Veteran Biopharma Scientist and Writer
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