A major sector of the pharmaceutical industry is dedicated to exploring the potentials of biological organisms and substances in the creation of new medications, vaccines, and drug delivery systems. Professionals who hold pharmaceutical biotechnology jobs engage in intensive research and development to uncover new information about genetics and apply cutting-edge techniques in production efforts. There are many different types of pharmaceutical biotechnology jobs, including scientific researchers and engineers, clinical directors and technicians, technical writers, and product sales representatives.
Many pharmaceutical biotechnology jobs are held by highly-trained scientists and research assistants. Professionals read through thousands of pages of scientific journals and attend regular conferences to learn about the latest breakthroughs in genetics and pharmacology. They also come up with new hypotheses and design original studies to see how different types of medications may be effective at combating genetic disorders. A scientist might, for example, hope to create a drug that can correct a very particular type of enzyme deficiency. He or she might try to create a synthetic enzyme or isolate a biological substance that can infiltrate and repair damaged genes.
Research and development engineers and their assistants work alongside scientists to put hypothetical ideas into practical use. They physically create medications and vaccines and rigorously test them under strict laboratory conditions. Engineers record data about their experiments and predict how effective their creations will be on human patients. They try to identify possible side effects and drug interactions and determine the most appropriate dosage amounts.
Once a medication is deemed safe, it can be tested in clinical trials. Directors and technicians in clinical pharmaceutical biotechnology jobs design studies to test drugs on volunteer participants. They carefully select similar subjects and control as many variables as possible. Most trials are performed with experimental groups who receive the new drug and control groups who take placebos to determine if the medication has a measurable effect. Trials may go on for years before a biological drug receives approval for mass manufacture and distribution.
Technical writers and sales personnel also hold important pharmaceutical biotechnology jobs. Writers compose in-depth manuals for physicians to reference as well as patient and consumer guidelines. Sales representatives work with distributors, doctors, and hospital administrators to explain new products and offer samples. They also receive feedback that can be passed on to scientists, engineers, and clinical workers so they will know if doctors and patients have any concerns with their drugs.