Monitoring clinical trials

TRANSMED Interview: Joni Degerman, QuintilesIMS

TRANSMED alumnus Joni Degerman finished his CRA graduate trainee program at IQVIA (previously known as QuintilesIMS) in October 2016. He has since been working as an independent Clinical Research Associate monitoring mainly phase II and III clinical trials in UK.

Joni Degerman has a B.Sc. from the University of Helsinki’s Faculty of Pharmacy. For an MSc, he chose to study in the TRANSMED programme and completed his Master’s thesis in professor Kari Alitalo’s Translational Cancer Biology Research group.

He graduated in autumn 2015 and started job hunting in clinical research field.

“First, I planned to stay in professor Alitalo’s research group and continue as a PhD student, but clinical research felt more appealing to me at the time, and still does” Degerman says.

At the time, pharmaceutical companies and clinical research organizations in Finland had very few trainee and junior roles open, so Degerman started to apply for jobs abroad as well.

In April 2016, he was invited for an assessment day at IQVIA’s graduate trainee programme in Reading, UK.

“Luckily, I was one of the 6 people to be selected in the UK cohort of the programme,” Degerman says. ‘I had to buy my own flights and book the accommodation but looking back it was worth every penny’.

IQVIA formed from the merge of an American CRO company Quintiles, which provided biopharmaceutical development and commercial outsourcing services and another American healthcare information service provider; IMS Health. Degerman finished his 26-week CRA graduate trainee program at IQVIA in October 2016. He has since been working as an independent Clinical Research Associate monitoring phase II and III clinical trials in UK.

Degerman says his day-to-day work routine currently consists of visits to the clinics, where he meets with the site staff to discuss about the on-going studies and reporting them.  

“The most rewarding thing about my work is constantly learning new, meeting new people and working in a global company,” he says.

Degerman plans on staying with the company at least for a few years and possibly even longer, gaining experience and then possibly moving back to Finland to seek for a job with a more executive role in clinical research.

Degerman also has a piece of advice for the current and prospective TRANSMED students: “Be pro-active and interested and remember that without experience no one will contact you and give you the job without you taking the initiation.”