In Recruitment Articles

In August this year, David Childs celebrated his first year as Head of Manufacturing and CMC at Newcastle based pharmaceuticals business, Shield Therapeutics. A chemistry graduate from Newcastle University, David finally returned to the region after almost 20 years, having spent his entire career working in the south of England. We recently caught up with him to find out how he was finding his role at Shield and also to discuss his views on the North East pharmaceuticals sector.

During his 15 years with GSK in the south of England, David led teams of scientists involved in the development of synthetic processes and analytical methodologies, and prepared materials for clinical trials and commercial launch. As such, he worked with several outsourcing partners across GSK’s international network of manufacturing. “I was, therefore, aware of the industry in the North East and some of the big companies based here, as well as a few of the start-ups. However, when I finally moved here I was shocked at how many companies are actually involved in manufacturing, as well as the skills, knowledge and experience the region has to offer. The North East has a very understated pharmaceuticals industry.”

Those that work in the industry are well known for their loyalty to employers, and generally there is a lack of movement within the sector. David admits that to a certain extent it was his affinity with the north (originally from Yorkshire) that made his decision to move here easier. His peers in the south, with no prior connection to the North East, he noted, “are sceptical about what the region has to offer.” This believes David, is partly due to “a lack of publicity and awareness of what the North East can and is doing in the world of pharmaceuticals.”

As Head of Manufacturing & CMC at Shields Therapeutics, he is currently involved in areas of procurement, development manufacturing and distribution, whereas at GSK he would only have a minor role in API manufacturing. “The role has been a big learning experience, but going into it I was confident of my abilities.”

Candidates like David are still fairly rare in the region, and Shield is aware that it has to be innovative in the ways in which it can attract and retain top talent. As David explained, the business is “committed to working alongside recruitment partners who we can rely on to provide us with the specific skills we need.” It has also adopted initiatives such as ‘home working’ and ‘employee shares’ schemes, as well as regularly networking and ‘linking in’ with ex-employees for referrals to find the right people. Promoting the region’s pharma sector as well as its success stories such as Shield Therapeutics will also be a major factor that will influence those from outside of the North East to consider the potential career opportunities that exist here.

David Childs has a Bachelor of Science in Chemistry from the University of Newcastle upon Tyne along with 18 years’ experience of Chemical and Pharmaceutical Development whilst working at GlaxoSmithKline R&D at several sites within the South East of the UK.

Lesley Nixon
Senior Consultant Scientific
Nige Wright Recruitment

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