CAR-T reengineering brings jobs. Highly skilled ISFs will be needed

Pharmaceutical, the reengineering of CAR-T brings jobs

Corriere della Sera Blog – by Sabrina Spina – 16 December 2019 

CAR-T are the high point ever reached by pharmaceutical science, perhaps this is also why it is talked about a lot. To explain it seems almost science fiction. It is a reengineering process: the antibodies are taken from the patient's blood, they are "reprogrammed" to act as "killers" of the diseased cells, the "snipers" are re-injected into the patient and we wait for them to do the their job. The results in terms of efficacy in treating serious oncological diseases, in patients who can face the procedure, are unprecedented and point to a new frontier in medicine. And if we are entering a new era of science, what are the opportunities for the health professions, both in the public and private sectors?

Pharmaceutical companies in Italy are starting to look for specific roles for the management of the CAR T process and professional courses are being created for the development of skills.

"When there is an innovation, new job opportunities are created for people, companies and consultancy firms operating in the sector" he explains to us Laura Cavalieri, Partner of Pharmapoint, a company that has been involved in research and selection for the pharmaceutical sector for over 30 years "A new therapeutic paradigm such as CAR T, given the new complexity to be faced, generates the need for new skills that must be implemented. We saw it about 10 years ago with rare diseases, now we're seeing it, at a much faster rate, for CAR T and gene therapies. This revolution will therefore be the occasion to create highly qualified scientific, technical and managerial jobs”.

The training offer is also seeing the birth of the first cases "We realized that the CAR Ts are exploding and, therefore, of the need to train the necessary figures, able to manage the process both from a clinical and organizational point of view, with the involvement of different and dislocated structures. The pharmaceutical companies themselves, which are developing these therapies, need to identify references in the organization” he tells us Vincenzo Iaconianni, Director of the ICMED specialized training company “So the idea of training CAR T specialists was born, both for the hospital and for the company. Not only a strictly clinical figure but also with organizational technical skills, able to manage everything from cell collection to infusion. Up to now we have activated 3 courses for about 20 people, from all over the world, and the requests are increasing. These are doctors, biologists, data managers and pharmacists”

“For pharmaceutical companies, the model that best responds to this revolution is lean, with high skills for the medical area and with a pioneering marketing that can understand the complexity in order to manage it with an innovative and multidisciplinary approach. Same thing for the functions dealing with access,scientific informationroles will be increasingly managerial and soft skills central (learn agility, cross functional collaboration, co-creation of account solutions and synergies, flexibility and lateral thinking). At the same time, the hospital itself will also select figures able to stand by the patients who will face these therapies” he continues Laura Cavalieri “This innovation has the spotlight, acquiring skills as soon as possible means investing in one's professional future and, for consultancy, becoming a partner capable of understanding and supporting change. We are seeing that more and more often the word CAR-T is included in the same job title precisely to underline the importance of this new model of personalized medicine.”

Vincenzo Palermo is a pharmaceutical manager and followed the launch of one of the two CAR Ts today approved in Italy. “The last 5 years have witnessed a growing investment in gene therapy research, which has resulted in billionaire acquisitions of almost unknown start-ups, allowing Big Pharma to enter this market as a protagonist. There are more than 100 biotech companies involved in this area and almost all the pharmaceutical companies of global importance are developing research programs internally or collaborating with dynamic companies that are in the clinical stages of development. For the future of work in this sector, this implies not only the search for new skills but also actual dedicated functions. Proximity to the patient is essential and new figures such as the "case managers", who follow the blood's journey step by step throughout the process, become key to building a positive patient experience. Gaining experience in this world means demonstrating vision for the new future that is being designed”

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Fedaiisf Federazione delle Associazioni Italiane degli Informatori Scientifici del Farmaco e del Parafarmaco