Andrey Afanasyev, Head of the Direction in the Department for Development, Research and Registration of Medicines in the Russian Federation and Abroad, Petrovax, gave lectures for the participants of the Summer School of Molecular and Theoretical Biology held online from July 22 to August 21.
Every year, dozens of Russian and international schoolchildren participate in School of Molecular and Theoretical Biology scientific research and work on real-world problems with Russian and foreign scientists, contributing to science laboratories activities. This year Petrovax sponsored the School.
Andrey Afanasyev talked about career building in the pharmaceutical industry and shared his own experience. He pointed out that there is no straight career path. Ups and downs are natural. There are several options for somebody who wants to start working in the pharmaceutical industry. Those with a great innovative idea should consider setting up a startup. Large pharmaceutical companies are interested in cooperation with small research groups and are ready to invest in their work as this makes the process of scientific development more rapid, more accessible, and more reliable. In addition, companies that see the prospect of scaling up the project often buy startups. Having established themselves in the industry, many researchers join companies first as external consultants and then in full-time positions. For example, Andrey Afanasyev received an offer from Petrovax right after giving a lecture here. To promote your idea to the market, you need to communicate, convince and build long-term relationships with other people, as there are more opportunities in cooperation. During the second lecture, Andrey Afanasyev spoke in more detail about the pharmaceutical companies' R&D activities and advanced areas of development.
Scaling up production remains a complex and unexplored subject since today the amount of materials on this topic is small: few people write how to grow cells in industrial reactors and select the parameters of growth medium correctly. There are no ready-made road maps here. The conclusions about the development prospects are formed based on the results of experiments, not only on theoretical hypotheses. When choosing research methods, do not limit yourself to the capabilities of your own company. It is helpful to understand all the options available since cooperation with external researchers allows you to achieve better results by integrating the experience of different experts.
Among the main areas of Petrovax scientific activity, the speaker noted the study of the immunogenicity of vaccines, the development of recombinant proteins and antigens for vaccines, the chemical synthesis of polymer compounds, and conjugation. Andrey Afanasyev highlighted immunology as a particularly complex but promising area of study today.