First, I’d like to give you some background information and fun facts about the ever growing and progressive GlaxoSmithKline. It is one of the largest research-based pharmaceutical and healthcare company in the world.
There are two major (and endearing) GSK mottos I took away from the New Hire Induction Program:
- Mission: to improve the quality of human life by enabling people to do more, feel better and live longer
- Initiative: Focus on the patient – to remember while we do our assays and tests in lab that it is important to do our best because these products reach people.
How you may of heard of GSK and not realized it is through some of our well known products including Aquafresh and Sensodyne toothpastes, Alli for weight loss, and Nicorette/Niquitin for smoking control.
When you patent let’s say a medical drug you’ve developed, you have 20 years filed that you own that idea before anyone else can use it. Out of 20 years, 14 years are sent trying to develop, file, and launch your product.
So if you research 10,000 compounds for your target disease to treat,
About 100 will go into development and potential production.
From that about 10 products passed will be marketed to the consumers.
And out of that, the company may profit from 3 assets.
According to our R&D speaker, these statistics are very optimistic and even unrealistic in such a competitive market. We played a board game called “Breakthrough” to illustrate that it’s so easy to lose funding money and have products fail, starting where you began over and over again (kind of like Monopoly and just as much fun!)!
History for this company has dated as far back as the early 18th century. However, a few of GSK’s research & development (R&D) milestones & facts that are my favorite are:
- The earliest GSK lab was actually built on a boat, floating on the Nile River in Sudan in 1901.
- Isolated B12 (vitamin) and uncovered the structure of penicillin.
- Nobel Prizes won include: beta-blockers (important for cardiology treatment studies) and progress in drug treatment.
- Their oncology department is a stand alone group from GSK’s R&D, and GSK is a leader in new cancer treatment development.
That being said, I understand how typical science internships work by now. I won’t be saving lives or rescuing the world with a new found cure I conjured (yet anyway :D) during my stay. But I’m confident in saying that the work I do is important in the grand scheme of things. It has to be done, so therefore I was hired. And unlike other coops, I am paid nicely and am exposed to daily life on a corporate level for a great company. I’m not pouring coffee for the higher ups in the business; I’m still in the lab or at the desk doing something productive.
Some more positives of the job thus far are that I’ve come at a very busy time. It’s really exciting to observe all the project troubleshooting and how to professionally compromise with our client. Not to mention the science that goes into making this product and how awesome it is that I am able to be so close to cancer treatment history in the making! And of course, to know that this team I am a part of is working hard to help cancer patients truly puts a smile on my face.
Anyways, I hope to update you guys soon on how my experience unfolds. Hope you enjoyed this mini progress report!