Seminar speaker discusses opportunities in drug development

photo of jarvis and colleagues

SPOKANE, Wash. – Scientific Director Michael Jarvis spoke with students in the Washington State University Doctor of Pharmacy program on March 31 as part of the college’s Preparing for Your Career in Pharmacy Seminar Series. He discussed opportunities for pharmacists in the pharmaceutical industry, particularly in drug discovery.

“We have to leverage science and technology to create drugs,” said Jarvis.

Jarvis is currently a senior scientific director with AbbVie Inc., the 2013 Abbott Laboratories spin-off that focuses on biopharmaceuticals and small-molecule drug development. In this position he works in global medical affairs in endocrinology and specialty products. Prior to Jarvis’ work in the field he earned a Ph.D. in behavioral neuroscience from Rutgers University – New Brunswick.

During his presentation, Jarvis explained that pharmacists are already drug experts by training, which makes them a great fit in the pharmaceutical industry in the areas of drug discovery and also ensuring that drugs are safe and can be kept on the market.

“The pharmaceutical industry cannot be successful without harnessing the expertise a Pharm.D. can provide,” said Jarvis.

Expertise of multiple disciplines is needed to develop a drug. “In the industry you work in highly collaborative teams, you are dependent on the expertise of each other,” said Jarvis.

His advice for students interested in pursing a career in the pharmaceutical industry was to network.

“The power of networking cannot be over emphasized,” said Jarvis. He also recommended that students go to national meetings to talk with professionals in the industry.

The purpose of the seminar series is to expose student pharmacists to career opportunities and leaders within those fields.

The WSU pharmacy seminars are funded through the Dean’s Fund for Excellence and the college’s community partner, the Spokane Teachers Credit Union. For information on participating in the career seminar series, or to contribute to the Dean’s Fund for Excellence to help expose WSU student pharmacists to thought-leaders and industry innovators, contact the College of Pharmacy advancement office at or 509-358-7651.