Careers: Biotechnology & Pharmaceuticals

Biotechnology & Pharmaceuticals

Keecia Scott

In 2004, Keecia Scott’s position as a retention representative with Coca-Cola Enterprises in Atlanta was being relocated to Tampa, Florida. Unwilling to uproot her family, Scott took a public relations assistant position with the company and sought opportunities that fit with her experience. In May 2005, she posted her résumé on Several days later she received a call from UCB Inc., a global biopharmaceutical company that has offices in Smyrna, Georgia.

Scott knew nothing about the company, but she was very familiar with an allergy drug it produced called Atarax. “I grew up on Atarax because I had very bad allergies. The drug allowed me to live a normal life,” Scott says. “I definitely wasn’t looking for a job in biopharmaceuticals, but once I saw that they were the makers of Atarax, I was willing to give it a shot.”

The 39-year-old, who has a strong background in public relations and marketing, accepted an offer from UCB as a marketing assistant. In July 2005, she joined its three-member marketing team in the midst of a product launch for treatment of Crohn’s disease and rheumatoid arthritis. The company, which was formed in the 1920s as an industrial chemical company, was now solely focusing on biopharmaceuticals. Because of this change, UCB’s hiring manager told Scott that in her new position there would be great opportunity for rapid advancement.

But that didn’t happen. Scott thinks her lack of industry experience, particularly in biologics, held her back.

To combat this challenge, Scott took on responsibilities outside her job description, attended training sessions, and networked internally to learn more about the industry. She also networked outside the company, joining Healthcare Businesswomen’s Association in 2007 and becoming a member of its mentoring program in 2009.

Since starting at UCB, she has been promoted twice and is currently sales and marketing services supervisor.

This is one example of the many opportunities across disciplines in the fields of biotechnology and pharmaceuticals. Biotechnology, as defined by the Biotechnology Industry Organization, is the use of cellular and molecular processes to solve problems or make products. Biotechnology has created more than 200 therapies and vaccines to treat cancer, diabetes, HIV/AIDS, and autoimmune diseases. There are more than 400 biotech drug products and vaccines in clinical trials that focus on more than

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