There are two things that all 4 members of Teva api’s scientific support team have in common. One is that they are all chemists with strong backgrounds in R&D (we’re talking 60+ years combined!). And two, they all use their broad experiences and varied skillsets to support customers in the most holistic and well-rounded way possible.
Meet Revital, who leads the technical and scientific services for the Asia-Pacific region. Revital has been at Teva api for 23 years, first in R&D and for the last 10 years in her current role. She describes the scientific support expert as the link between the customer and R&D, who supports on all technical matters throughout the whole API journey.
The scientific support expert represents the customer inside the Teva api organization, explaining customer requirements and challenges to the various global units including R&D, Regulatory Affairs, production sites, solid-state experts and site Quality Assurance. They help to align on the necessary chemical and physical quality specifications, and are deeply involved during formulation development.
Revital explains that the main goal of the scientific support team is to enhance customer satisfaction.
“Due to the complex nature of our industry, anomalies will occasionally occur. When it happens, we are there to support and identify the root cause and accelerate the solutions. Together with the customer, we review the issues in details and suggest solutions, such as method harmonization, setting different impurity limits or many other solutions.”
She also puts focus on the ‘speed’ of her team’s help, adding that “we are here to support our customers in an expedited way to assure an optimized experience working with us”. In Japan, which is the main country in her region, this needs to be done “while paying special attention to the Japanese regulatory standards”.
Meet Joanna. Joanna is based in the New Jersey office and manages scientific support queries for customers in North America and India. She’s been in this position for 4 years now, following a broad scientific career.
She holds a PhD degree in organic synthesis and her first job was as a lab chemist in a branded company developing processes to make new APIs for new drug candidates. She also worked as an engineer on a GMP pilot plant floor and learned about manufacturing processes and GMP compliance.
Later in her career, she worked as a project manager managing all aspects of the API drug development process, which included finding the best synthetic route, managing timelines, and selecting the form of the API with the best physical properties. This comprised of characteristics such as hygroscopicity, chemical stability, storage conditions and crystal forms. “The molecule needs to be stable and developable. Every aspect is being considered here.”
When Joanna joined Teva, she took the position of project manager for generic drug development for both oral solids as well injectable finished product dosage forms. This experience gave her a good understanding of what customers are doing, and of the challenges of developing new generic drugs.
“It gave me broad knowledge in regulatory and quality aspects, development timelines, physical properties of material, stability, shelf life, relevance of particle size and testing methodologies. All this allows me to understand customer needs and why they ask the questions they do.”
Joanna explains how this broad experience has contributed significantly to the role she’s in now. “I quickly realized my breadth of experience was extremely valuable. I could touch on every single problem and know the approach to solve it. The role of scientific support is to facilitate resolutions to problems by applying scientific skills, a breadth of knowledge, and by asking the right questions. By working with the customer and the manufacturing site we can listen to one another and find acceptable solutions. It’s a rewarding job.”
Meet Maico, scientific support expert for Latin America. Based in Brazil, Maico has always focused on APIs. He started his career in API research, in preformulation studies, which included drug-excipient compatibility studies, PSD and polymorphism. When he moved to Teva api, he decided he wanted to use his knowledge but be customer-facing.
“Helping the customers is what motivates me. I recently had a case where a customer in Argentina needed help with a compatibility study. Their formulation wasn’t stable. For a full month, I showed them how to perform the experiment — to predict potential interactions between the API and the excipients. And we did it in the end!”
For Maico, the ‘people side’ of the job is key. He enjoys being the ‘middle man’, navigating between R&D and commercial. As he says, “it’s the great strength of our area. We have the power in our hands to show the customer Teva api’s capabilities.”
Maico explains how, in Latin America, specifically Brazil, API regulations are extremely specific. So dealing with the scientific support queries that come in can also be very different to other markets.
Meet Nurit. Nurit deals with scientific support questions coming from Europe, from local to multinational companies.
With a PhD in organic chemistry and an MBA to her name, Nurit spent 12 years in Teva api’s R&D department, and 3 years in the procurement team responsible for scientific and development topics, before moving to Scientific Support.
“I thought it would be interesting to see the business world and get an insight into the customer perspective. I’m still having a scientific discussion but it’s from a different angle.”
What Nurit finds most interesting about her role in scientific support is dealing with the challenges and finding ‘out-of-the-box’ solutions.
“Now, instead of dealing with materials and powders in the lab, I’m dealing with people. Together with the professional teams we have on the production sites, I’m finding the solutions that best support our customers’ needs and expectations.”
If you want to learn more about how the scientific support team, or any of our other departments, can help you and your company throughout your API journey, please feel free to reach out to us today!