Yang Zhang - New Jersey, United States & Shanghai, China

New Jersey, United States & Shanghai, China

Hangzhou, China. Attending an entrepreneur competition in Hangzhou, China. Start-ups are booming in China, especially in the technology, media and telecommunications industry where various projects seek to utilize China’s huge user base.

Career goal: Become a professional in biotech or pharma industry with a global perspective.

Internship outline: I interned at Bayer Healthcare Pharmaceuticals at its North America headquarters in New Jersey. This global regulatory affairs internship provided industry experience in new drug development, particularly the internal cooperation between different departments such as clinical development, strategic marketing, market access and regulatory affairs, as well as external cooperation with health authorities such as the FDA to push new drugs on the market. 

Value of experience: This internship was composed of three aspects, 1) an industry research project relevant to current challenges and opportunities in regulatory affairs on a global scale, 2) daily duties in a therapeutic unit team, and 3) information sessions from cross-functional leaders within the company. 

I conducted an industry research project entitled “accelerated development pathways from a global perspective.” I investigated the shifting landscape of accelerated development from health authorities’ perspective and compared three regions US, EU, and Japan to show growing opportunities for drug development and how pharmaceutical companies could utilize these options. 2) I was assigned to the Hematology team within Bayer Pharmaceuticals’ Specialty Medicine. It’s really exciting to work with true professionals to learn about the role of regulatory affairs in drug development and about the strategy to acquire marketing authorization for new drugs. 3) A cohort of six interns, we attended about thirty information sessions with leaders in cross-functional roles. It’s a great opportunity to gain insider view on different linkages for the same goal. Every part is connected from drug discovery to market strategy and post-market surveillance. 

Best moment/experience: The most valuable experience I learnt is that pharmaceutical companies are not only thinking about profit, but also thinking about public health significance when investigating a drug. The dynamic landscape between pharmaceutical industry, health authority, and patient groups is really interesting. There are two dimensions that pharma companies, health authorities, and patients concern the most, efficacy and safety. What is not intuitive is that often times it is patient advocacy group pushing industry and health authorities to develop and approve new drugs faster. During this internship, I learned the importance of science and technology toward public health advancement and how pharmaceutical companies as a carrier to achieve this goal. This valuable experience leads me to think about different facets to make a wider public health impact.