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Oct 03
UCB PharmD Fellows Have a Big Impact on Patients

UCB Global Regulatory Affairs Fellows (L to R): Howraa Alasker, PharmD and Tanya Chaudhri, PharmD, RPh

The 2020-2022 UCB Global Regulatory Affairs (GRA) PharmD Fellowship Program, a collaboration with the Industry Pharmacists Organization (IPhO), is a 2-year rotational program located at UCB’s Atlanta campus aimed at growing top regulatory talent for the future. Established in 2017, the Fellowship Program is designed to provide PharmD graduates with the opportunity to learn and experience all aspects of regulatory affairs under the mentorship of experienced preceptors. Applications are being accepted now until November 1, 2019. Learn more about the fellowship from current fellow, Tanya Chaudhri, PharmD, RPh.

‘Since the beginning of pharmacy school, I knew I wanted to work in the industry. The question for me was where in the industry did I think my skill sets would be of most value. After learning more about regulatory affairs and completing an internship at a pharmaceutical company and the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) -- I knew this was a space where I could make a difference in drug development.

Before coming to UCB, I worked on the community patient-facing side of pharmacy for 10 years. As a health care provider, we make decisions that have an important impact on the patients we’re serving and at the end of the day, as a pharmacist, it’s all about how a medication gets to the patient—that is the beginning and end of everything. Being able to affect change on a one-on-one basis behind the pharmacy counter is amazing. But being able to influence how hundreds of thousands of patients are impacted by an innovative therapy because of the dedicated work of a company with a health authority through regulatory affairs means something entirely different to me. To have an impact on such a large scale by having a voice behind the regulatory decisions a company makes is how I wanted to serve patients in my career.

When I researched companies for pursing a fellowship, I learned about UCB’s commitment to being patient-centric, but more importantly – what UCB was doing to put action behind what that means.  Coming for the interview at UCB, I knew I wanted to be a part of the team.  Given my background, I hoped to bring additional scientific insights to my fellowship projects as well as learn from the seasoned regulatory professionals at UCB to have that same impact on patients in my fellowship as I would behind the counter. UCB offered me that opportunity. 

The program itself is rotational – so right now I am in my ‘Labeling, Advertising, and Promotion’ rotation of the program. During the first part of the program I worked on a submission for a new product indication and on drug registry projects for the immunology group within GRA. Now that the indication is approved, I am getting to see the translation from what I was working on pre-approval to now, post-approval, what that means for UCB, the market, and for patients. This opportunity allowed me to gain invaluable skills in cross-functional collaboration by working with all the different players involved–medical affairs, government affairs, commercial, to clinical development. What’s cool about the UCB fellowship is each fellow can cater their experience to their own interests and to what’s going on at UCB at that time. Most of my time has been in immunology working on more late-stage products, but our other fellow is working in neurology on early-stage products.

I believe this fellowship program is unique because it offers a great balance among three success factors for developing as a strong regulatory professional. The first is the opportunity to learn the technical and logistical pieces of regulatory affairs – with the bonus of having mostly hands-on learning. The second is learning and executing strategic thinking and planning and project and product management, from a 3,000-foot level, all the way to an in the weeds, 100-foot level. I have learned regulatory strategy is something that takes a long time and tons of experience to understand.  The experiences that I’ve had in this fellowship have been designed to allow me to develop these skills at an expedited rate. The third is the opportunity to learn and be challenged by incredible mentors and leaders who are dedicated to my learning and career development. It’s those ingredients in one program that makes it unique – I can’t say I would have had these experiences from the other programs that I was researching.

The UCB Global Regulatory Affairs PharmD Fellowship Program has provided me the experiences and support to realize I have potential in areas that I didn’t know existed before. There are so many opportunities to learn if you’re open minded, patient, and tap into the mentorship provided through this program. I would encourage anyone who has the desire to work at a biopharmaceutical company with a focus on patient value, innovation and agility, and commitment to development to apply.’

The application deadline is November 1, 2019. More information about the Fellowship, how to apply, and application process can be found on this program guide. For questions regarding the Fellowship program, contact Iram Hasan at iram.hasan@ucb.com.

About the Author
Tanya Chaudhri, PharmD, RPh is a second-year fellow in the UCB Global Regulatory Affairs PharmD Program. A graduate from the University of Chicago College of Pharmacy, she previously worked for Walgreens for 10 years and interned at Takeda Pharmaceuticals and the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) before joining UCB as a fellow primarily focused on supporting the company’s immunology portfolio. 

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