The demand for project managers has never been higher and is continuing to grow, according to the "Project Management Job Growth and Talent Gap 2017–2027.
With a 33 per cent increase and nearly 22 million new jobs expected in 10 years, it's a vital job that needs filling with only the most talented individuals.
What is a Pharmaceutical Project Manager?
A pharmaceutical project manager oversees projects relating to a clinical trial's technical and service aspects in a fast-paced, dynamic environment, which includes working with distribution, logistics, and the supply chain. They manage a project from start to finish, assembling teams, assigning tasks and determining target completion dates for the project's different stages.
Typically, pharmaceutical project managers work with biochemical engineers and development scientists within their company to identify the potential of a drug or medication under research. They direct research chemists and technicians to perform testing to ensure that relevant data are consistent and repeatable; they also assign personnel to arrange clinical trials and testing. As data is generated through research testing and clinical trials, the project manager gives teams to interpret and extract valuable information such as potential side effects and beneficial ancillary interactions. The project manager then works with manufacturing, branding and marketing teams to bring the medication to the consumer market, the professional healthcare community or both as applicable.
What does a Pharmaceutical Project Manager do?
Acting as the client's point of contact and project owner, this role entails the management and coordination across all distribution, which will range from the initial discussion with clients, development of the Clinical Trial distribution requirements, documentation aspects of setting up the Clinical Trial and management of all distribution and supply related activities through to study completion.
They help manage and maintain strong customer relationships across multiple client accounts and have direct contact with them to exceed clients' expectations in delivering projects. They also need to understand the regulatory requirements of clinical trials and advise clients on these aspects.
Day to day tasks could include:
- Ensure projects are accurately specified, budgeted, and planned to meet the client's Project Scope objectives.
- Advise, train and support the manufacturing team during and after project implementation
- Drive improved product quality by identifying manufacturing issues, developing cost-effective solutions, and overseeing successful implementation into production.
- Continually review new and existing technical developments to ensure existing plant and equipment /control systems, when required, will be competently managed to deliver the projects on time and as a whole, providing the relevant business benefit is produced.
- Work in a cross-functional team to resolve manufacturing and quality problems related to methods, processes, equipment and product design of the pharma project.
- Monitor and improve productivity while ensuring all customer commitments are met in a timely, quality and cost-effective manner
- Contractor / Supplier activities to be managed in line with site rules and client procedures.
- Ensure Projects meet the client's requirements and regulatory authorities such as the MHRA, FDA, etc., meeting cGMP.
What are the critical skills needed to become a Pharmaceutical Project Manager?
Pharmaceutical project managers should have strong management, leadership, organizational and interpersonal skills and the ability to work in a team setting and on their own with minimal supervision.
The role requires substantial organization and coordination skills to manage the processes between the client, operational departments and third-party service providers. This fast-paced environment also requires excellent client-focused communication skills coupled with the ability to act on initiative and prioritize.
How can you become a Pharmaceutical Project Manager?
Most project managers in pharmaceuticals have a strong background in the scientific and biochemistry aspects of drug development. Many possess postgraduate degrees in a relevant field such as Science, Economics or Business and have a record of academic excellence. Strong knowledge of global pricing & market access, developed via experience in healthcare consulting or within the pharmaceutical industry, is also generally required. Candidates should have a proven ability to manage the range, budget and quality of complex projects. They should also know toxicology and other requirements for seeing a safe drug through development and eventual regulatory approval.
How much does a Pharmaceutical Project Manager earn?
The average pharmaceutical project manager salary in the United Kingdom is £45,000 per year or £23.08 per hour. Entry-level positions start at £39,098 per year, while most experienced workers earn £66,700 per year.
Project management is a discipline that can be applied to all industries, regardless of the product or service they are designed to deliver. Specifically, pharmaceutical project management is a fantastic industry to flourish in, and as you can see, it reaps financial and moral rewards. If you're interested in applying to pharmaceutical project manager roles, then check out our pharma jobs page to apply to our latest jobs on offer!