Industry Fellowships Launch Careers for New Graduates

Exuberant graduates who are all heading off to fellowship programs in July include: (back row) Tony Luu, Jessie Ho, Eddie Brauer, Derek Kuwahara, Jeff Penzner and Aidan Metzinger; (front row) Katherine Tran, Stephanie Yu, Anna Cheng, Lucie Vu, Cassie Ding and Shannon Dervin
Exuberant 2015 graduates currently pursuing fellowships include: (back row) Tony Luu, Jessie Ho, Eddie Brauer, Derek Kuwahara, Jeff Penzner and Aidan Metzinger; (front row) Katherine Tran, Stephanie Yu, Anna Cheng, Lucie Vu, Cassie Ding and Shannon Dervin

Fellowships provide postdoctoral scholars with an opportunity to hone skills required for a range of industry careers. The USC School of Pharmacy offers several fellowship programs which attract future scientists and professionals from across the nation.  As in years past, numerous members of the School’s Class of 2015 are currently in industry fellowship programs at corporations including Allergan, Bayer HealthCare, Bristol-Myers Squibb, Genentech, Genzyme, and Eli Lilly and Company. The two-year fellowships are enabling them to gain hands-on experience in such vital areas as research and development, new product planning, managed care, medical communications, regulatory review and market access strategies.

Among the university-industry partnerships behind these fellowships, the longstanding collaboration of USC and Allergan stands out as a model of career preparation. In addition to opportunities across the full range of specialties, the USC-Allergan Pharmaceutical Industry Fellowship Program features access to the School’s Regulatory Science Program, professional leadership workshops and financial support to attend conferences.

“Allergan and USC work as close partners in making our fellowships the best opportunities for tomorrow’s great minds in our industry,” says Gavin S. Herbert, the company’s chairman emeritus. “We believe in the fellowship experience and support our fellows wholeheartedly.”

The 2015-2016 USC Allergan fellows are Wayne Chen, Jesse Ho, Nicole Naccara, Jeffrey Penzner, Kevin Pham, Sarwang Shah, Himanshu Sharma, Roger Shih, Joshua Wang and Ryan Werner.

The USC Leonard D. Schaeffer Center for Health Policy & Economics, in which the School of Pharmacy is a partner with the Price School of Public Policy, also offers fellowship opportunities. The Schaeffer fellowships provide an opportunity for scholars to sharpen their analytical skills and advance their research in health policy and health economics.

Graduates from the USC Class of 2015 pursuing fellowships at other industry leaders include Edward Brauer,  Anna Cheng, Shannon Dervin, Siwen (Cassie) Ding, Derek Kuwahara, Tony Luu, Aidan Metzinger, Katherine Tran and Lucie Vu. Partnering university pharmacy programs in addition to the USC School of Pharmacy are the Ernest Mario School of Pharmacy at Rutgers University and Massachusetts College of Pharmacy and Health Science (MCPHS) University in Boston.

Jesse Ho, who plans to pursue a career in regulatory affairs, says the Allergan-USC fellowship is helping him “learn the most accurate and up-to-date regulatory perspective on medications and biologics, thereby advancing my scientific training and analysis skills pertaining to the safety and regulatory decisions unique to global pharmaceutical sciences.”

Eli Lilly visiting scientist fellow Aidan Metzinger aims “to work in a capacity that bridges clinical science with innovative business to enhance patient access to important medications while serving the needs of other key stakeholders.”

Derek Kuwahara finds his fellowship at Bristol-Myers Squibb fulfilling because it “pursues the principles of business and strategy and applies them toward the ultimate practices of healthcare and pharmacy.” He adds that he is “dedicated to finding groundbreaking new ways of combining pharmacy and business toward directing the future of pharmaceutical innovation.”

Also at Bristol-Myers Squibb, Cassie Ding plans to leverage her fellowship into a career as a medical science liaison, collaborating with pharmacy leaders to improve medication therapies. “Throughout the two years, I hope to become an effective part of the medical affairs team and aid in the development of strategic planning based on unmet medical needs,” she says.

Bayer HealthCare fellow Tony Luu, whose fellowship is in medical communications, describes his job as “telling people what the science tells me.” He finds the fellowship beneficial in expanding his range of experience because “the clinical hospital setting and the corporate industry environment are two opposite extremes within the pharmacy spectrum.”

Jeff Penzner’s Allergan-USC fellowship explores retinal therapeutics. He plans “to become intimately involved in designing early-stage clinical trials. I am very interested in novel mechanisms of action and plan to pursue a clinical scientist role, eventually working with new classes of pharmaceuticals as they make their way from the bench to the bedside.”

Upon completing their programs, the fellows will be prepared to meet whatever challenges the industry throws at them as they carve out new pathways in the profession that ultimately will improve patients’ lives.

As Anna Cheng, a fellow at Genentech, says: “My goal is to create a lasting impact by contributing to the process of drug development and commercialization. I look forward to the opportunity to collectively create positive change with other passionate people in the industry.”