Faculty of Biological Sciences

Beth Peacock, MSc Biopharmaceutical Development

 Why did you choose to study Biopharmaceutical Development?

I graduated from the University of Leeds in 2016 and decided to apply for laboratory-based jobs with companies such as Covance. It became clear quite quickly that although I had achieved a 1st in my degree, my industry experience was lacking.

I found out about the MSc Biopharmaceutical Development course in July 2016 and I applied straight away and started in September 2016. This Masters offers what is essentially training for industry which is what I needed to gain. Therefore, I chose to study on this course because it was offering me invaluable industry experience and teaching me, in detail, about every aspect of biopharmaceutical development from drug discovery through to commercialisation. Not only will I have gained industry experience (coincidently at Covance), but I will have gained knowledge way beyond my current understanding of the biopharmaceutical industry.

What do you enjoy about the course?

With this being the first year of this Masters course, I wasn’t sure how it would be taught and organised. I’ve been pleasantly surprised to find each module equally engaging and well-taught. Assignments seem daunting at first but the teaching style brings everything together, allowing you to see your own progress in understanding concepts and tackling problems. The teaching is very different to my undergraduate degree as there is a lot of self-teaching and research that you have to do independently. I particularly like this as it gives flexibility to assignments and gives you a chance to expand your knowledge in areas that you are particularly interested in.

What have been the highlights of the course so far?

A lot of the assignments revolve around team work and I have found this quite rewarding. A semester-long project was completed on developing a bio-better drug for Herceptin, which was challenging at times. A 45 minute presentation was given to members of biopharmaceutical companies in which we “pitched” our bio-better drug. This was an unusual assignment as I’d never done anything like it before, however my team worked really well together and we actually ended up with a pretty good bio-better idea.

Tell us about your experience working with Covance on your placement.

Covance is a very professional company with strong inter-company relationships. Working with such a respected company is a great feeling as you know that the work you do will benefit many others. They have been professional with my training and the people here are always willing to help if you are unsure with something. It has allowed me to develop my communication, organisational and technical skills and I have gained so much confidence working in a lab, that I am  trusted to work without supervision which I feel is a big achievement.

How do you think your 12-month industry  placement has benefited/will benefit your future?

I think that I have gained invaluable experience that has given me knowledge that I wouldn’t other-wise have gained. I have been trained in so many things from raw data recording to virus production techniques and so I will be able to apply this training during my career. I am extremely interested in gene therapy and knowing what I know now and working with gene therapy products, I feel that I will be able to offer my skills in future jobs and have the experience to confidently work within the gene therapy sector.

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