The Medicinal Chemistry Puzzle: Lessons Learned with James Hitchin
From big pharma, to cancer research, to joining a fast-growing CRO, James Hitchin has gained multiple perspectives on a subject that has become his passion – medicinal chemistry. Here, he reflects on the changing landscape within the UK, its impact on his career path, and the pitfalls and perks of the field.
James Hitchin |
Always try to gain exposure to talent…
After completing a PhD in synthetic chemistry at the University of Liverpool in the UK, the first industry position I had was with Pfizer. I was promoted after a few months to lead six people in the synthetic services team, as well as running some synthesis myself. This position exposed me to a wide range of chemistries, different therapeutic areas, and a lot of talented people. After that, I experienced different roles and working practices in several companies. I initially moved up to Scotland to work for a Finnish company called Kemira Kemfine, where I was employed as team leader, running GMP manufacturing processes for a range of big pharmaceutical partners. I subsequently headed south to Dorset, where I worked as a chemistry leader for SAFC Pharma for three years, again working on the development and implementation of GMP manufacturing processes of APIs. It was a fascinating role because I was involved in everything from really small-scale medicinal chemistry work, all the way up to large-scale manufacturing processes that were conducted in their pilot plant facility. Some of these materials were also taken into human clinical trials at various stages. However, SAFC began consolidating their interests in the UK in 2009, which prompted me to move into a different kind of role – a senior scientist with Cancer Research UK (CRUK).
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