Hottest Biotech Careers — Page 2 of 2



Because of their innate potential for misuse and widely-varying effect on users, the marketing of drugs is an information-intensive process. The explosion of increasingly esoteric new drugs is expanding the demand for employees who combine a marketer’s knack for pushing a product with a clear grasp of its medical and biochemical properties. Biotech firms are seeking out large numers of product managers and program managers to take their products’ message to the media, hospitals, health-care professionals and directly to relevant patient groups.

At the product manager level (the brigadier generals of the biotech marketing force), marketers are typically expected to have a BS or MS — preferably in a field related to medicine/biochemistry — combined with strong verbal and presentation skills. They conceive and plan marketing programs, and produce educational materials about the product. They are also often charged with the nuts-and-bolts work of recruiting and training program managers and budgeting and tracking spending.


Before a new medicine can be mass-produced, processes must be developed for economically producing large quantities of key compounds. That’s where process development scientists and engineers come in. In the course of developing standard operating procedures for manufacturing facilities, process scientists and engineers conduct experiments to test purity at various stages of the scaling-up process, develop characterization assays for purefied samples and solve the technical problems of creating large-scale production techniques.

Process development scientists are expected to have an MS or PhD in biochemistry or a related field, as well as relevant lab experience. Process development engineers typically have a bioscience degree with experience in biochemical, chemical or industrial engineering. Those with only a BS must have 7-8 years of experience while a PhD may get hired with little or no experience.


The manufacture of high value-added pharmaceutical products can’t be sent offshore. As new medicines are approved for production, production/manufacturing facilities and procedures must be designed, implemented and managed within the U.S. This requires the efforts of production managers, manufacturing supervisors and manufacturing associates.

Production managers are expected to have a MS or PhD in biology, biochemistry or related areas, plus 4-6 years of production experience and 3-4 years of managerial experience. Manufacturing supervisors are expected to have a BS and 2-3 years of production and/or laboratory experience. Manufacturing associates, who operate and monitor equipment, are expected to have specific technical and mechanical skills and experience but are not required to have a degree.


For biotech companies quality control is mission one because even small variations in purity or potency can lead to adverse action by the FDA, loss of reputation in the marketplace and catastrophic damage suits. Technically trained, highly competent and reliable individuals are hired for positions like Manager of QC Biochemistry, QA Manager Validation Administration and QA Validation Scientist.

Educational requirements range from a BS in a scientific or engineering discipline to an MS or even a PhD, depending on the level within the QA hierarchy. QA positions also require varying levels of experience with manufacturing operations, regulatory and GMP guidelines and internal QA policies. Strong written and oral verbal skills are also important as there is a great deal of interpretation and reporting of data and interaction with various types of internal staff.


The computer-powered genetics revolution is triggering a race among biotech firms to stake out territories in promising areas like the use of antisense technology (using mRNA to block the production of proteins essential to replication of diseased cells) to treat diseases like cancer and AIDS. This has increased the demand for research scientists with experience in the latest molecular biology techniques.

Typical qualifications for a senior research scientist in this area may include a PhD in molecular biology, genetics, biochemistryor microbiology, 6-12 years of experience, an understanding of mammalian gene expression biology and RT-PCR and microarray-based analysis techniques and several years of managerial experience in the pharmaceutical or disgnostics industry.

A senior associate scientist is expected to have a BS with 6 years of relevant experience, an MS with 4 years or a PhD with 2 years. Prev

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