An Overview of Research & Development Jobs

The pharmaceutical / biopharmaceutical research and development process is a comprehensive process that starts with basic research to generate potential target areas of disease to pursue, followed by drug discovery to identify potential molecules that can be developed, followed by preclinical studies to determine how the molecule behaves in non-human models, followed by clinical trials in humans (Phases I-III), followed by FDA Review of a New Drug Application (NDA or BLA – Biologics License Application), followed by post-approval research & monitoring (Phase IV).

We know that was a lot of information at one time, so let’s take a simpler look at popular research and development jobs, as well as clinical research jobs.

research-development-jobsDrug Development – Drug development is the process of bringing a new pharmaceutical drug to the market once a lead compound has been identified through the process of drug discovery. It includes pre-clinical research on microorganisms and animals, filing for regulatory status, such as via the United States Food and Drug Administration for an investigational new drug to initiate clinical trials on humans, and may include the step of obtaining regulatory approval with a new drug application to market the drug. Source via Wikipedia

Basic Facts on Research & Development Jobs:

  • Areas of focus – Basic research, drug discovery, preclinical
  • Entry level positions – R&D Technician is the most typical entry level position for pharmaceutical companies. BS or MS in scientific discipline is required
  • Entry level position example – Lab Technician R & D
  • Entry level salary range* (Glassdoor) – R&D Technician $32,000 – $61,000 (average $40,640)
  • Career path – R&D Technician, Research Associate, Research Scientist, Senior Scientist, Director, Vice President

research-developmentClinical Research – Clinical research is a branch of healthcare science that determines the safety and effectiveness (efficacy) of medications, devices, diagnostic products and treatment regimens intended for human use. These may be used for prevention, treatment, diagnosis or for relieving symptoms of a disease. There are four phases of clinical research that serve a specific purpose in the development of drugs. Phase I tests drugs on healthy volunteers to determine dose ranging effects of the drug. Phase II tests drugs on patients with condition to assess preliminary safety and efficacy. Phase III tests drugs on larger scale with patients to assess efficacy and safety. Phase IV involves post-marketing surveillance of the drug’s use in public to determine long-term effects. Source via Wikipedia

Basic Facts on Clinical Research Jobs:

  • Areas of focus – Clinical research in humans Phases I-IV
  • Entry level positions – Clinical Research Associate – BS in Nursing or Pharmacy, or other relevant science degree
  • Entry level position example – Research Associate
  • Entry level salary range* (Glassdoor) – Clinical Research Associate $55,000 – $98,000 (average $75,331)
  • Career path – CRA, Senior CRA, Manager, Director