Data Sciences are a critical part of drug development. During clinical research studies, a significant amount of data is generated, which needs to be carefully processed, analyzed, interpreted, and reported. In order to make crucial decisions during a clinical study, high-quality data is needed quickly. This is where Quotient Sciences’ integrated, in-house Data Sciences team comes in.
In this article, Dennis Henderson, Director of Statistics, gives an insight into what it’s like to be a Data Scientist at Quotient Sciences, the important role that Data Sciences play in clinical development, and what it takes to develop a successful career in this field.
What is your background and your current role at Quotient Sciences?
I joined Quotient Sciences 10 years ago as a Junior Statistician after completing an MSc in Mathematical Biology and Ecology. I’ve since progressed in my career within the company and now head up the Statistics function within the Data Sciences team. This group compromises Statisticians who are responsible for providing input into clinical study design and analysis methods, generating study randomization schemes, and carrying out formal analysis and interpretation of clinical data by employing statistical methods.
What initially interested you about a role in Data Sciences?
Applying mathematical and statistical skills to a meaningful role where you could directly see the benefit your work was providing was important to me. In addition, working for a contract research organization (CRO) has a great deal of variety and learning potential. You are constantly being exposed to a wide array of clinical study designs and endpoints, as well as clients from both large pharmaceutical companies and small biotechs, each with their own different requirements and demands. It’s a fast-paced environment, with many different activities ongoing at the same time, which means the job is never dull and you never stop learning.
How does Data Sciences support early clinical development?
Data Sciences support clinical studies through the entire lifecycle of the program at both of Quotient Sciences’ clinical sites in Nottingham, UK, and Miami, USA. Our colleagues play an influential role right from the start of a program, getting involved in the initial study scoping and design. Throughout the trial conduct, the Data Sciences team can support crucial in-study decisions and ad-hoc analysis requests with the provision of high-quality and timely deliverables. Our reporting teams then work together following completion of trial conduct to bring the key message out of the data to support the sponsor with further clinical development, all while delivering industry-standard tables, figures, and listings (TFLs), Clinical Data Interchange Standards Consortium (CDISC) datasets, and International Council for Harmonisation of Technical Requirements for Pharmaceuticals for Human Use (ICH)-compliant reports.
What different roles are there within the Data Sciences team at Quotient Sciences?
Data Sciences at Quotient Sciences is comprised of six distinct functions (Database Programming, Data Management, Statical Programming, Statistics, Pharmacokinetics (PK), and Medical Writing), each with their own unique roles and responsibilities. While Database Programming and Data Management focus on the collection and quality of the data at our clinical sites, the Statistics, Statistical Programming, and PK functions are primarily responsible for the reporting, analysis, and interpretation of this study data. Our Medical Writing team then focus on bringing the study narrative and data together by authoring high-quality and industry-compliant clinical study reports.
How do the different functions within Data Sciences work together?
There is a great deal of collaboration between each department as the clinical study data flows through each of the distinct functions during the lifetime of the clinical study, from collection to reporting. The collaboration isn’t just limited to Data Sciences, as we often work closely with Clinicians, Pharmacologists, Bioanalysts, and Project Managers who also play a very important role in designing, delivery, and reporting a clinical study.
What would your advice be to a graduate looking to start their career in Data Sciences?
All roles across Data Sciences benefit someone who has great problem-solving skills, a keen eye for detail, and an inquisitive nature. To progress your career, it’s essential to be able to provide evidence of these skills and to always be prepared for unexpected or unplanned scenarios.
If you are interested in learning more about open positions in our Data Sciences department, please visit: Quotient Sciences' Careers