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Changing therapeutic areas - how to upskill in 30 days…

​In today’s working environment where agility and adaptability are ‘must-have’ skills companies are promoting and hiring candidates who have both a broad and a deep understanding of multiple therapeutic areas. ​

This is happening across pharmaceuticals, medtech and biotech and in many functions - sales, marketing, clinical research, regulatory, market access, medical affairs and senior leadership. ​

Why is this?…

Because additional knowledge provides the insight to make more informed decisions.

Cross-functional team contributions are more robust because learnings and best practice principles from one area are being transferred to other areas.

And the enhanced knowledge of the different patient journeys and treatment pathways, when there are co-morbidities, results in better outcomes.

In short, experience with multiple therapeutic areas provides the ‘toolkit’ to be more effective when solving problems and identifying opportunities.

“Gaining experience in different therapeutic areas is great for career development”

Given the importance of developing additional therapeutic experience for career advancement many candidates are seeking opportunities (either internally or with other employers) where they can add to their ‘toolkit’ by working in new areas.

The question therefore arises…”When I move to a new therapeutic area how can I quickly upskill?”

Here’s 10 tips…

1. Research:

Start with broad online searches about the therapeutic area on platforms like Wikipedia to build a foundation of knowledge. Augment this with ChatGPT to understand complex concepts. Then go deeper into specific topics and research upcoming trends and innovations. Access clinical trial registries (eg ClinicalTrials.gov) to review the emerging treatments and chosen comparators; and regulatory agencies for recent approvals.

2. Product Knowledge:

Read up on all the major products in your new therapeutic area. Focus on how they work, the results they achieve, and the evidence that supports the results. Know the company’s products and the competitors products; and understand the treatment pathways.

3. Company Websites:

Look at company websites and think broadly to obtain a comprehensive overview of all the treatments available and emerging in the therapeutic area. Look at the sites of pharmaceutical, medical technology and biotechnology companies and research institutes relevant to the field.

4. Network Internally:

Talk with people from other departments - find out about the clinical trials being conducted; the status of regulatory and reimbursement submissions; key marketing messages; insights from the field; and more..

5. Network Externally:

Talk with experts, key opinion leaders and healthcare professionals to understand the clinical experience, the patient journey and the treatment pathways.

6. Publications:

Ask your peers to recommend journals to read. Subscribe and review publications from the previous 12 months to understand recent developments. Sign up to newsletters and alerts to stay up-to-date.

7. Professional Associations:

Identify the relevant professional associations and societies; review their websites; attend webinars and podcasts; access white papers and conference proceedings; sign up for alerts.

8. Patient Associations and Advocacy Groups:

Identify and follow patient groups; review the online resources; read the blogs; understand the perspectives, the needs and the support structure.

9. Engage on LinkedIn:

Use LinkedIn to identify and connect with therapeutic area thought leaders; set up alerts for when they post new material; engage with them and have a conversation.

10. Publish on LinkedIn:

As you research your new therapeutic area, the current and emerging products, the patient journey, the treatment pathways, and the Associations and Advocacy Groups you will be gaining a comprehensive understanding of the area. Summarising this with articles and commentary on LinkedIn will consolidate and accelerate your learning.