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A Global Perspective on the Pharmaceutical Industry

An instructor’s broad perspective on the pharmaceutical industry and sophisticated understanding of ethics inform her course on clinical monitoring.

Written by Philip Baker
people in lab coats

“I've come to see how, in certain ways, ethics is the meeting point of science and philosophy,” Kathryn King says.

King, a pharmaceutical industry executive, clinical development leader, and instructor in the Clinical Trials Management and Regulatory Compliance certificate program at the University of Chicago, has training in both disciplines. She obtained undergraduate degrees in both biochemistry and philosophy, beginning her professional life as an entry-level data manager at Abbott. While employed there, she pursued a PhD in philosophy from Loyola University, where she focused on ethics. While she initially saw her postgraduate philosophy studies as a recreational pursuit, she discovered that the field of ethics was strongly relevant to her vocation. 

“In a field like clinical development, there are frequent situations where difficult ethical considerations and decisions have to be made,” King explains. “My academic work in philosophy continues to be useful in my professional life.”

A Full Spectrum of Perspectives

That professional life spans roughly two decades and has included a global leadership role at Takeda and, at Veeva, an executive position in strategy and thought-leadership. Recently, King has found herself drawn to smaller operations that enable her to take a hands-on role in drug development and focus on efficiency, technology, and bringing medicines to patients who need them.

“I’ve worked in protocol development across multiple levels, both in the United States and globally, and it’s an important and illuminating area for understanding the entire scope of clinical research,” she says. “Whether it’s taking the patient’s perspective into account or an issue surrounding regulatory compliance, knowing how everything relates is critical to developing successful protocols.”

Training the Next Generation 

The course King teaches for the Clinical Trials Management and Regulatory Compliance certificate draws on her global view and the knowledge she's gained at every step of the clinical trials process. In "Fundamentals of Clinical Monitoring," she introduces her students to the processes and procedures of monitoring a clinical trial as a clinical research associate working for a pharmaceutical or device manufacturer. 

“I’ve had a wonderful career in clinical development and I’m really motivated to share what I’ve learned and train the next generation to love the field as much as I have,” she says. “Taking a class in the Clinical Trials certificate is a great way for someone to learn how the field fits with their skills and experience while also getting a sense for how it can make for an exciting career.”


Woman scientist working in a lab.

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