Gary Collins, MSD
Gary Collins, director of operations for biologics, MSD. Image: Luke Maxwell

How can you make your career matter? Spend it saving lives

30 May 2017

For most people, it’s hard to know how to make a career worthwhile. In biopharma, it’s a little easier: you’re saving lives.

This morning (30 May), pharma giant MSD announced 330 new jobs as part of a €280m investment in Ireland. That investment will see sites in Cork and Carlow expanding production facilities and capacity to meet global demand for medicines and vaccines.

Future Human

Speaking at the announcement, the executive VP of MSD, Sanat Chattopadhyay, said: “The expansion of our presence in Ireland is a testament to the talent of our Irish employees.”

While specific roles were not announced, current openings at the sites include technical, engineering, biochemistry, biology, quality and operations positions.

But why should someone want to pursue one of these roles?

We’ve all been there. After a tough week in work, we ask ourselves: ‘Is it all worth it? Am I making any difference at all?’ For those working in biopharma, that question is a little less nebulous. Every day, they’re helping to save people.

At a National Institute for Bioprocessing Research and Training (NIBRT) event in April of this year, we caught up with Gary Collins, director of operations for biologics at MSD, to talk about what makes biopharma a great sector to work in.

“Personally, I’ve got to work on two life-saving drugs,” said Collins.

Collins spoke about Keytruda, a cancer treatment drug that is manufactured at MSD’s Irish operations. “There was a huge buzz about getting the drug to the patients, supporting the early-access programme, and then seeing it launched … and knowing that what we do helps save people’s lives.”

From another (arguably more cynical) point of view, a career in biopharma can also mean long-term job security and stability, as the sector goes from strength to strength in Ireland.

“In recent years, our Irish businesses have played an increasingly important role in the production of some of MSD’s most important breakthrough medicines for the global market,” Chattopadhyay said of the announcement earlier today.

This central role translates to continued growth in the Irish biopharma market, as hubs in Cork and Galway experience a heavy influx of FDI. This places MSD – and its talent – in great company, and the future is looking good.

Updated, 12.53pm, 30 May 2017: This article was updated following clarification from MSD. 

Kirsty Tobin
By Kirsty Tobin

Kirsty Tobin served as careers editor of Silicon Republic from 2015 up to August 2017. When she was younger, she had a dream where she started and won a fight with a T-Rex, so she’s pretty sure she kicked butt at this, too. Passions include eating all the cake, watching more TV than is healthy and sassy comebacks.

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