Biopharmaceutical Development masters student at University of Leeds

Amy Reeves

Why did you choose to study MSc Biopharmaceutical Development?

After graduating from Leeds with a 1st class degree in BSc Medical Sciences, I found it difficult to enter into the pharmaceutical industry without prior work experience. I considered a Masters, but the nearest credible course I could find was at Kings College London.

When I heard about the launch of the MSc in Biopharmaceutical Development at Leeds, it was the perfect opportunity. This course is truly unique, and offers a 1-year paid placement in an industry setting. I believe that after completion of this 18-month long Masters I will have gained an extensive level of knowledge and desirable skills that will be highly attractive to potential future employers within the industry.

What did you enjoy about your course?

The 6-months taught modules at university are extremely well designed to encompass all the stages of drug development from proof of concept through to commercialisation. This gives a complete picture of what it is like to work in industry, and how all departments interrelate.

What have been the highlights of the course so far?

It is a great privilege to be taught by and interact with industry specialists on a day-to-day basis. The interactive nature of the lectures and tutorials encourage discussion which not only broadens your knowledge but develops you as a young professional.

Do you feel that your placement has prepared you for the biopharmaceutical industry?

I have gained experience in method development and method validation across two large business units that biopharma operate within. Having interned for a CRO that provides drug development services to their global clients, I feel I have gained a broad understanding of the various processes and procedures that are necessary for biologic drug development

What projects have you worked on during your placement?

My MSc Research project aims to evaluate the suitability of a small artificial protein made by an external biotechnology company as a critical reagent in some of the routine assays Covance employ to analyse biopharmaceuticals. This project is very exciting and if successful, could become an integral part of Covance’s CMC and bioanalytical services. I have a few more projects lined up until completion of my placement at Covance. These projects will look at improving efficiency and driving down costs associated with the analytical assessments of ‘follow on’ biologic drugs (biosimilars).

What level of support did you receive during your placement?

On commencement of my placement I was assigned a general manager and with whom I meet monthly with to discuss my progress and any issues I may be having. I also have a supervisor who oversees my daily activities, and provides regular guidance. The taught modules have equipped me with a broad and in-depth knowledge of the biologic drug development stages.