In conversation with Dr. Priyanka Kumari and Tejas Thomas
We caught up with Dr. Priyanka Kumari, Lead – Regulatory Division, and Tejas Thomas, Scientific Writer at Indegene, who have recently published their poster with Boehringer Ingelheim on publication analysis. Our Talent Branding Lead, Anjali Lal spoke to them as they shared their experiences
Anjali: Hi Priyanka and Tejas! How are you doing? Why don't we start with getting to know a little bit about you two?
Priyanka: Hey Anjali! I am doing very well. Thanks for asking. Well, about me, I am a dental graduate and gold medalist from Patna Medical College & Hospital (Government College). Subsequently, I completed my post-graduation diploma in clinical research from Jaipur University.
Born and brought up in Jharkhand, I moved to Bangalore in 2005 after getting married to my husband who was working here. After completing my graduation internship, I started managing my own dental clinic. I was blessed with a baby boy in 2009, who is studying in Std 6 in Delhi Public School. Apart from juggling with office and household work, I enjoy painting, gardening, and cooking scrumptious dishes!
Tejas: Hi Anjali! I am doing good too. I will start from the moment when I did my Masters in Microbiology after which I completed a PG Diploma in Clinical Research and started my career as a Research Associate, where I was monitoring clinical trials at the site level for about 3 years. During that period, I discovered my passion for writing and was lucky enough to get the right opportunities at the right time. It has been more than 7 glorious years of writing different kinds of regulatory and scientific documents. Just as much as I love exploring new writing activities, I also enjoy gardening and baking for my children. Having said that, I am a mother of two adorable little girls, juggling with work and a family calendar!
Anjali: That is very interesting. And how has your professional journey been to date?
Priyanka: After completing my BDS degree, I started clinical practice for the first 7 years of my career. I wanted to explore more about the healthcare and pharma industry, which motivated me to pursue post-graduation in clinical research. This opened the doors for me to the corporate healthcare industry and I joined Indegene in 2011 as a Clinical Trial Analyst. My medical domain knowledge and zeal to always learn more helped me grow very rapidly at Indegene, and currently, I am proudly leading the Regulatory division at Indegene. The 10 years between Clinical Trial Analyst to Manager – Regulatory Affairs have been very exciting and full of challenges and learnings. At each step, Indegene provided me with a lot of opportunities, and colleagues around me were always a source of guidance and support. Doing my part of hard work, passion, and dedication helped me grab all the opportunities that came my way, and that's how I have reached where I am today.
Tejas: I started my career as a Research Associate where I was also involved in helping sites develop certain submission documents. That's when I realized, I enjoy writing more than monitoring people and the trial, and I transitioned to being a Medical Writer. Ever since, I have enjoyed every piece of my writing activity.
Anjali (Asking Priyanka): You made a big shift when you came to Indegene. You went from dental practice to managing Regulatory Affairs. How did that happen? Why did you make that transition?
Priyanka: It was a conscious decision to move from dental practice to the healthcare industry. There are many reasons for this. The first was the challenge of not conversing fluently in the local language while attending to patients. Another strong reason for this transition was my interest and passion for medical writing. I always felt that I could live my passion if I join the healthcare industry. The third important reason was the perks associated with a corporate job compared to private clinical practice, like having the weekends off, the opportunity to interact with stakeholders across the globe, and the opportunity to travel.
Anjali: So, what exactly do you do at Indegene and more importantly what do you enjoy about it?
Priyanka: I lead the Regulatory division at Indegene and manage a team of 16 members, all of whom are dedicated to supporting global clients on various regulatory affairs activities, right from regulatory strategy and regulatory writing to regulatory submission and regulatory compliance for product life-cycle management. For any pharma or medical device companies, it is of utmost importance to comply with all global and regional regulations, which impacts the product's entry into the market. Our team supports them in both global and local markets, which helps them bring these products to the market as early as possible, ultimately helping patients get early access to life-saving drugs.
Tejas: I joined Indegene as a Senior Scientific Writer and have thoroughly enjoyed exploring a wide variety of opportunities offered to me, from writing regulatory submission documents, points of view, literature review summaries, and newsletters to preparing submission documents, posting on trial registries, and creating scientific posters. It is a pleasure to work in such a dynamic team with constant motivation from my manager and a supportive team!
Anjali: Speaking of enjoying work and accomplishments – you both recently presented a poster. Would like to hear about that!
Priyanka: Oh yeah sure! So, in November 2019, Boehringer Ingelheim approached Indegene for a small piece of work related to publication analysis. They wanted a faster turnaround considering the budget closure for that year. My team took up that challenge and processed it in 2 weeks while maintaining the quality, which delighted the customer and created an impact. The deliverable was very well received by the customer's senior management and they decided to present this publication analysis at the European conference, ISMPP EU Meet 2021.
Again, in September 2020, our clients approached us and discussed their idea of submitting an abstract on the 2019 publication analysis. They offered the authorship to Indegene colleagues, considering the amazing work we did on publication analysis. Thus, we partnered with them on abstract writing, and once the abstract got accepted, we developed the poster that was presented on January 26, 2021, in the ISMPP EU Meet. It was a fulfilling experience to work with our client on this project.
Anjali: What connects us is Indegene. I have joined about 3 months back, so I am still experiencing new things every day; but how has it been for you over the years?
Priyanka: For me, Indegene has been a really amazing place to work. The approachable environment also allows for feedback. I learnt a lot from all the colleagues I worked with in the last decade. They were all unique, which helped me learn different skills and set high standards for my performance. I truly admire all my managers because each one has contributed to something unique in me.
Tejas: Indegene is indeed a great place to work! And I miss the pre-COVID days of going to office and catching up with people in the corridors and the cafeteria, apart from just the meeting rooms and workspace.
Anjali: Indegene is one of the few companies with a 45% women employee percentage. But in general women don't enter science related workspaces as much. Would you have any advice for those who are looking to enter the field or are looking to transition to a managerial role like you?
Priyanka: In the 21st century, there is no work that men can do and women cannot.
At least, at Indegene, I have never experienced any gender-related issues in these 10 years of working.
Tejas: To all those women out there, who are dreaming of being an ardent successful professional – Go out and explore, take the stage, and live your dreams!