Otsuka People Talk
Clinical Trial Lead, Department of Clinical Management
No matter what you do, it’s important to know the reason you’re doing it. On Otsuka’s recruitment page, you’ll see the word “Why?”, and I think it’s really important to think about why you want to join Otsuka, and why you might want to work in clinical development.
A young employee who has a clear goal of wanting to be an expert of clinical development, talks about his aim of becoming a global clinical trials leader
Why did you join Otsuka Pharmaceutical?
I've always been interested in medical care, and since it was clear to me that it was drugs that save patients' lives, I decided to study pharmacy. During my studies at university, I learned about the opportunities within clinical development which represents the final stage of drug approval; this really appealed to me as I felt that it would allow me to be closer to patients as I developed new drugs.
Otsuka's corporate philosophy includes the phrase "Big Venture," and the company will often choose to take the more difficult path. It was this that really appealed to me, in addition to the fact that the company has many drugs with action mechanisms that you won't find elsewhere.
The appeal of working in development
The most rewarding aspect of working in the final stages of clinical development is being able to be closer to patients.
After joining the company, I was given the role of monitor in charge of testing in the field of diseases of the central nervous system. A monitor's job is to visit the medical institution where the clinical trial is being conducted to confirm that it is being carried out properly, and to ensure the quality of the data and the safety of the participants.
My current role is that of Clinical Trial Leader (CTL). The role of a CTL is to manage and lead the progress of trials overall, and I work in collaboration with people from various companies who commission our clinical trial services. As a monitor, I needed to be aware of how things were progressing at the specific facility that I was in charge of, but as soon as I became a CTL, I was responsible for multiple facilities; it was quite a challenge to track the progress of them all.
Generally, the probability that a drug for which clinical trials have started will be approved by the government and put on sale is said to be about 20%, so it's not a job where success comes easily. I'm working with a team to get approval for a single drug -- when that drug is approved, I'm sure we'll feel a great sense of accomplishment.
What are you currently working on?
At the moment, I'm in charge of testing in a field of medical care where there are no approved drugs. This is a new area for me so there are many things that I don't know, but thanks to Otsuka's many specialists with specific focuses who support me through regular discussions, I'm able to do a good job. The culture at Otsuka is one that allows young employees to be entrusted with important work, so in spite of my youth I have had the opportunity to be involved in a very wide range of duties.
In recent years, it's become common for drugs to be developed simultaneously in multiple locations worldwide, so we now often work in collaboration with overseas personnel.
Started studying English while a student
When it comes to areas that I want to improve in, of course it's important to further my knowledge of Japanese clinical trial methodology, therapeutic areas, and drugs. At the same time, I think it's important that I improve my English language ability.
I learned through my job search that English is an important requirement for working in clinical development, so this became the trigger for me to start studying
While I was a student, I spent about a month studying in the Philippines. It was quite tough at first, and I had a hard time actually saying anything in English, but after a month my ears became attuned to it, and I was able to talk about various things with the local people.
Although my time there was quite short, I learned the importance of speaking, so in meetings now I try to speak up without fear of failure. My goal is to work with people from many backgrounds, and to enjoy the cultural differences that they bring. In the long term, my goal is to bring together clinical trials as a leader in global development, enabling me to help even more patients on a global scale.