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The most in-demand biopharma skills

Marcin Buczakowski our consultant managing the role
Published on 26 July 2021

The factors driving the global biopharmaceutical market are varied. They include an increasingly ageing population, a surge in chronic diseases such as diabetes and cancer, and a global increase in the use of biopharmaceuticals.

The pandemic has not only affected businesses worldwide, but it has also has shone a bright spotlight on this market. Forced to be more innovative, pharmaceutical companies find themselves reviewing the future and its place within industries.

Before we get into the most in-demand biopharma skills, here is an overview of the biopharma market.

Industry breakthroughs

Recent biopharma breakthroughs are enhanced by access to unprecedented data and technological advances in analysing this data.

Here are some trends emerging in the next year that will affect our understanding of medicine and healthcare:

Vaccine development

The arrival of COVID-19 has spurred the biopharma community into action and pressure to develop and mass-produce the vaccination is immense. As nations went into lockdown, businesses ceased trading, and income was lost.

The urgency for normality to be restored forced governments to recognise the part they needed to play by partnering with biopharmaceutical companies to fund research and combine resources.

There is a call for new vaccine technology in light of the current pandemic. Vaccines using mRNA from the coronavirus have proved effective and quick to produce to such an extent that discovering innovative vaccine technology paves the way for future vaccines.

Monoclonal antibodies and biosimilars

Monoclonal antibodies, grown in a laboratory, are designed to replicate, enhance or restore an immune system. Antibodies are constantly modified. They are used for ADCs (antibody-drug conjugates) to kill infected or diseased cells. The focus is specifically on cancer cells.

Biosimilars, one of the bases of biotechnology, are being modified to meet changing medical needs. These are drugs using different ingredients to biological drugs but deliver the same effects. The development of biosimilars makes immunotherapy and targeted drugs more accessible.

Repurposing and approving biosimilar drugs has recently treated acute respiratory distress, a symptom of COVID-19.

Cell and gene therapies

Cell and gene therapy, which refers to manipulating human cells and genomes to customise drugs, is a thriving area of biotechnology. In 2017, a drug called Kymriah became the first FDA-approved gene therapy, whereas a patient’s white blood cells are used to treat lymphatic leukaemia.

Cell and gene technology is snowballing as the urgency for cures for cancer and other rare diseases heightens. Between ten and twenty gene therapies are being approved annually by the FDA as new biotech projects are fast-tracked.

These emerging trends are a strong signal that the biopharma job market is expanding and many biopharma companies that were not household names before the pandemic are expanding their teams.

The biopharma job market

A revolution has taken place in job markets industry-wide following the COVID-19 pandemic.

Remote work opportunities have increased in the biopharma market as the industry rapidly expands to keep up with the demands.

Telemedicine has received widespread acceptance for the safety of patients and healthcare providers. As a result, virtual consultations are now preferred over in-person meetings.

To accommodate all of these changes, pharmaceutical companies, partnering with governments, have funding and are expanding their research and development facilities to fight against the multiplying variants of COVID-19.

Not only are remote job opportunities increasing, but so too are remote interviews. These are taking place via online meeting applications such as Zoom, Teams and Google Meet.

The thinking behind these changes is that even when the pandemic is over, and restrictions are lifted, the biopharmaceutical job market will adopt this methodology permanently.

In-demand biopharma skills

Strategic thinking and creative problem solving

The biopharma industry is undergoing a massive transformation, requiring innovative minds and forward-thinking candidates to work on complex projects. Identifying, prioritising and solving problems is a crucial skill required in this industry.

Conflict resolution and teamwork

The ability to work effectively in a team requires good interpersonal skills. Whenever a group of people is needed to work together there will be differing opinions, possibly leading to conflict. A valuable recruit will be able to anticipate or resolve a dispute.

Teams may be large and involve many departments. A skilled candidate will merge teams, breaking down departmental silos and creating a unified team for successful results.

Awareness of industry trends and business skills

This rapidly evolving industry requires quick thinking and innovative people. They can keep abreast with all changes within the industry: business, regulatory and financial and understand their influences.

Understanding of regulations and laws of the industry

There is a raft of regulations and laws that dominate all practices related to biopharma industries. A well-qualified candidate will successfully navigate a team through these.

Communication and relationship-building skills

Career progress is guaranteed for the candidate whose personality traits are a good fit and who can work in a team to manage complex projects. Communication between team members and external parties is required, often in the form of project management.

Why use Quanta to find your next biopharma position?

Vaccines and other medical innovations are booming. As a result, the biopharma industry is increasing its recruitment of candidates, especially those looking to change careers and break into the industry.

At Quanta, we work with biopharma professionals around the world and we are committed to finding the right fit for candidates. Browse our current jobs in life sciences and our pharmaceutical vacancies, or register your details to create job alerts and hear about the latest job opportunities.