Spirit Live

A pyramid in Rome

One of the things I like the most about my job in medical communications is the variety of countries I get to visit.  It’s always great to visit a new city and experience the local culture.  My last trip was to Rome, so I thought that I would share my experiences of the Eternal City….Read more »

One of the things I like the most about my job in medical communications is the variety of countries I get to visit.  It’s always great to visit a new city and experience the local culture.  My last trip was to Rome, so I thought that I would share my experiences of the Eternal City.

The great thing about Rome, apart from the stunning historical buildings and ancient architecture is of course the food!  After all the hard work delivering a very successful scientific meeting at the NH Giustuiniano, we took a scenic transfer to have dinner at La Fata Ignorante, a traditional Roman restaurant.  Our three course meal was utterly delicious (Cheese flan, steak and a chocolate mousse, accompanied by rioja of course!).   The restaurant owner, Gianluca and his team took great care of our group.  If you fancy experiencing it for yourself here is the link: http://www.lafataignorante.it/

Just a short walk from the restaurant is the Pyramid of Cestius.  I was quite surprised to see a Pyramid in Rome, it is one of the oldest and most well preserved ancient buildings in the city and definitely well worth a visit.

The scientific meeting which we arranged took place in the NH Giustiniano, a lovely 4 star hotel which is really well situated in the centre of Rome, close to The Vatican.  This is a great hotel for business meetings.  The meeting spaces are light and well air-conditioned (which we were very grateful for given the high temperature in the city during July!) and have all of the necessary equipment provided.  The guest bedroom I stayed in was very modern and had a balcony with a great view over part of the city.  I would really recommend this hotel, so check out the link http://www.nh-collection.com/it/hotel/nh-collection-roma-giustiniano

After a successful and enjoyable time in Rome, I’m definitely looking forward to my next trip abroad and continuing my adventures in med comms!

By Louise Banks: Account Manager

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8th Annual European CME Forum

With an ever increasing need for high quality independent medical education, interest within our client teams regarding the optimal approach to supporting CME-accredited initiatives continues to grow. As a key part of our business, the Spirit team keep up to date with developments in accredited medical education, so we are really looking forward to the…Read more »

With an ever increasing need for high quality independent medical education, interest within our client teams regarding the optimal approach to supporting CME-accredited initiatives continues to grow. As a key part of our business, the Spirit team keep up to date with developments in accredited medical education, so we are really looking forward to the forthcoming 8th Annual European CME Forum, to be held in Manchester, UK, later this year.

The interactive programme is designed to give delegates the opportunity to participate in key discussions with leading experts regarding hot topics in CME, as well as pick up practical tips on when and how to consider a CME accredited activity. More information can be found here: http://europeancmeforum.eu/the-eighth-annual-european-cme-forum/

Within the Spirit team we have extensive experience of delivering CME accredited programmes including live meetings, online training and educational programmes. Please do not hesitate to contact Dawn or Richard if you would like to discuss how the Spirit team can support you or your colleagues with CME accredited activities.

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NHS drugs to be marked with price

In a bid to encourage patient adherence to drug regimens, the NHS plans to publish the price of medicines costing more than £20 on packs, which will also be marked ‘funded by the UK taxpayer’. The plan was unveiled by health secretary Jeremy Hunt during the Local Government Association’s annual conference in Harrogate on Wednesday….Read more »

In a bid to encourage patient adherence to drug regimens, the NHS plans to publish the price of medicines costing more than £20 on packs, which will also be marked ‘funded by the UK taxpayer’. The plan was unveiled by health secretary Jeremy Hunt during the Local Government Association’s annual conference in Harrogate on Wednesday. Read the full story here.

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How to break into medical writing

For many graduates who enjoy science and love writing, medical writing sounds like the ideal career. However, without agency experience it can be difficult to get a foot in the door. Here, Team Spirit share some hints and tips on how to break into medical communications or MedComms… A successful medical writer needs energy, enthusiasm…Read more »

For many graduates who enjoy science and love writing, medical writing sounds like the ideal career. However, without agency experience it can be difficult to get a foot in the door. Here, Team Spirit share some hints and tips on how to break into medical communications or MedComms…

A successful medical writer needs energy, enthusiasm and excellent attention to detail. They should be proactive, innovative and deadline focused. A clear understanding of medical concepts is vital. While a PhD isn’t essential to become a medical writer, it will give you a leg up – the transferrable skills gained during a research degree can be invaluable when applying for a MedComms role. Desktop research is a huge part of medical writing – you’ll encounter a wide range of therapeutic areas, some of which you will have no prior knowledge in. Being able to use your research skills to become an expert quickly is a great strength. A good medical writer should take feedback well, have excellent organisation skills, be solution focused, a good listener, and have a good sense of humour!

If you’re interested in a future career in medical writing it’s a great idea to gain as much writing experience as possible. Spirit’s associate medical writer Holly Kramer took advantage of writing opportunities during her PhD studies, which gave her an advantage when applying for MedComms roles. She entered poster and science writing competitions, as well as attending workshops and masterclasses. Such science writing competitions include Access to Understanding and the Biochemical Society Science Communication Competition. Not only will these competitions boost you CV, but you could also be in with a chance of winning a prize!

One of Spirit’s new recruits, principal medical writer Caroline McGown, explains that when she was applying for medical writing jobs she was frustrated by the requirement for 2–3 years’ experience, but eventually she found a company advertising a job for which no previous experience was necessary. Caroline says that experience gained publishing review articles during her PhD, as well as her editorial experience at the British Journal of Anaesthesia, helped her secure her first medical writing role. Caroline worked at MedComms agencies in Madrid and Milan before joining Spirit in March.

A great CV is essential for getting noticed by a MedComms agency. Remember, your CV will be scrutinised by possibly a whole editorial department! Perfect spelling and grammar are essential. Spirit’s Director of Medical Strategy, Dawn Lobban, has seen her fair share of poor CVs. “I am constantly amazed at the number of applications we receive that contain spelling mistakes!” she says. “Remember you aren’t the best person to check your work – get someone else to read it”.

Most MedComms agencies expect applicants to complete a writing test as part of the interview process. Agencies will be checking your use of English, attention to detail and writing style, as well as your ability to complete the test within a reasonable timeframe. If you’re new to medical writing don’t panic – agencies will not expect you to be perfect straight away.  The writing test allows them to measure your current level and future potential.

If medical writing sounds like the career for you, and if you’re a proactive, ambitious individual with a commitment to ‘going beyond’ expectations, Spirit would encourage you to get in touch!

Useful links

MedComms Networking has an excellent free careers guide available here: http://www.medcommsnetworking.co.uk/careersguide.pdf

Next MedComms Job has extensive MedComms job listings, and the ability to filter by level of experience.

The European Medical Writers Association have a great advice sheet for medical writers available here: http://www.emwa.org/documents/about_us/Career.pdf

PhD to a career in medical communications: making the move from academia to MedComms

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Pharmaceutical companies called on to solve antibiotic crisis

A UK government-appointed review team, led by the economist Jim O’Neill, has called on the global pharmaceutical industry to pay for a $2bn (£1.3bn) innovation fund in order to revitalise research into antibiotics. The emergence of microbes that are resistant to current antibiotics present a significant threat to global health. In order to incentivise drug…Read more »

A UK government-appointed review team, led by the economist Jim O’Neill, has called on the global pharmaceutical industry to pay for a $2bn (£1.3bn) innovation fund in order to revitalise research into antibiotics. The emergence of microbes that are resistant to current antibiotics present a significant threat to global health. In order to incentivise drug development, the review team recommends that lump-sum payments should be made to pharmaceutical companies that create proven new antibiotics. Read more here.

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Apple® ResearchKit™, a game changer for medical research?

On March 9, 2015, Apple® announced ResearchKit™, an open source software framework designed for medical and health research, helping doctors and scientists gather data more frequently and more accurately from participants using iPhone® apps. This new technology aims to revolutionise the process of collecting patient data by empowering people to participate in and contribute to medical research.  The…Read more »

On March 9, 2015, Apple® announced ResearchKit™, an open source software framework designed for medical and health research, helping doctors and scientists gather data more frequently and more accurately from participants using iPhone® apps.

This new technology aims to revolutionise the process of collecting patient data by empowering people to participate in and contribute to medical research.  The potential benefit is clear to see; improved access to large-scale patient data, mitigating the patient recruitment issues which afflict many clinical trials.  However, the confidentiality of data storage remains a concern (remember the recent iCloud photo security issues?) and although ResearchKit™ does provide an informed consent process concerns have also been raised about how robust a ‘self-certification’ process actually is?  So, does ResearchKit™ present a ‘game-changing’ development in medical research or do the risks outweigh the benefits?

Read the Apple® press release here.

To learn more about Spirit Medical Communication’s digital solutions, contact Richard by following the link here.

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EMA invites comments on draft good practice guides

The European Medicines Agency (EMA), on behalf of the European Union (EU) Regulatory Network, has released two draft good practice guides that aim to improve the reporting, evaluation and prevention of medication errors by regulatory authorities and pharmaceutical industry throughout the EU. The deadline for stakeholders to send their comments to EMA is 14 June 2015. Link to…Read more »

The European Medicines Agency (EMA), on behalf of the European Union (EU) Regulatory Network, has released two draft good practice guides that aim to improve the reporting, evaluation and prevention of medication errors by regulatory authorities and pharmaceutical industry throughout the EU. The deadline for stakeholders to send their comments to EMA is 14 June 2015. Link to full EMA article here.

Spirit provides expert clinical/regulatory medical writing support click here to find out more

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ABPI release agenda for change following UK General Election

Following the Conservative Party’s surprising success in the 2015 UK General Election, the Association of the British Pharmaceutical Industry (ABPI) have released a manifesto outlining the key measures the UK pharmaceutical industry would like to see from the new government. Due to long product cycles and lengthy investment, which are inherent in the pharmaceutical industry,…Read more »

Following the Conservative Party’s surprising success in the 2015 UK General Election, the Association of the British Pharmaceutical Industry (ABPI) have released a manifesto outlining the key measures the UK pharmaceutical industry would like to see from the new government.

Due to long product cycles and lengthy investment, which are inherent in the pharmaceutical industry, the ABPI welcomes continuity between governments and cross-party consensus regarding the biopharmaceutical industry.

The ABPI call for greater patient access to innovative medicines, currently a major challenge for the National Health Service (NHS). This, they believe, will not only transform the health of millions of patients, but help to unlock the value of the life sciences sector in the UK by driving growth and building on the industry’s investment and manufacturing track record. Read more here.

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An interview with our founder: Asif Zaman

Spirit’s founder and Managing Director discusses his vision and passion for a new kind of medical communications agency. Q: Hi Asif, could you tell us a little about your background prior to founding Spirit Medical Communications in 2006? A: After qualifying as a Biochemist in the early 90s, I was quickly drawn to customer facing…Read more »

Spirit’s founder and Managing Director discusses his vision and passion for a new kind of medical communications agency.

Q: Hi Asif, could you tell us a little about your background prior to founding Spirit Medical Communications in 2006?

A: After qualifying as a Biochemist in the early 90s, I was quickly drawn to customer facing roles where I could talk through issues with clients and help provide tailored solutions. This is what gave me “the buzz”. I initially worked in advertising at an agency supporting ethical and OTC brand campaigns. I then became increasingly curious about who developed the global strategies and communication platforms to support successful worldwide launches, and it was at this point I entered the medical education industry. This is where I have spent most of my career helping clients meet their objectives through all stages of the product lifecycle. I have worked in some of the largest agency groups and complemented this experience working in small agencies and helping them grow globally. I utilised the positive learnings from previous agencies to form the blueprint of Spirit.

 

Q: Why did you decide to establish your own medical communications agency?

A: I wanted to work in an agency that truly placed clients’ needs first, delivering consistently high levels of service regardless of account size or the account team. I aspired to create an agency with world class client facing teams, and where all staff could share in the rewards of successful growth, an agency with true ‘Spirit’.

 

Q: What were the driving principles for Spirit?  What sets Spirit apart from other medical communications agencies?

A: The principles set at launch in 2006 are the same as those that we value today. We strive to ‘go beyond’ for all clients, adding value through mutually beneficial partnerships to achieve successful outcomes. All our senior staff engage clients on a day-to-day basis to guarantee clients direct access to high levels of experience and expertise.

 

Q: What types of client do you work with and what has been the key to maintaining such successful client relationships?

A: We work with a range of clients from large multinational companies through to start-up biotechs, developing a mix of global and regional programmes (including for both developed and emerging markets). Our clients span various functions including Medical Affairs, Scientific Communications, Publication Departments, Clinical Development, Marketing and Regulatory Affairs.

The hallmarks of these successful partnerships are high levels of trust and transparency; consistent delivery of great quality work; excellent communication and teamwork; a culture of continuous improvement and delivering value to clients.

 

Q: You are obviously passionate about people; building the right team and supporting client needs.  Who is your role model, and why?

A: There are many people that have inspired me, and continue to do so to this day. Many past and current colleagues who have imparted nuggets of advice during my career. Famous names that have inspired me include: Steve Jobs, for his imagination and relentless entrepreneurial spirit; Richard Branson, for ignoring those naysayers who said the market was too crowded, his go-getting attitude and passion for working with great staff; Carolyn McCall, CEO of EasyJet for putting customer service at the core of a successful business strategy that transformed company performance and customer experience in recent years. There are many more…..

 

Q: Outside of the business environment, what are your hobbies and what do you like to do at the weekend?

A: I like to relax in many different ways….. fell walking in the Lake District, theatre, the odd gig here and there, going to Anfield when I can, extreme thrill rides, via ferrata (a new interest), skiing and reading Scandinavian crime fiction. Juggling all of the above with the hobbies of my kids!

 

Q: Spirit has delivered a wide range of successful projects and initiatives since its inception, working with many different clients.  Of all Spirit’s achievements, which have been the most satisfying?

A: There are many, but top of mind there are two: being awarded a coveted place on a top five pharma company preferred vendor list following a rigorous selection process and against very stiff competition (I’m extremely proud of the team who got us there), and the development and implementation of a publication plan spanning a five year period, which has been instrumental in supporting the recent FDA approval of a pioneering product in oncology.

 

Q: What are the typical characteristics of team members within Spirit?

A: Every member of our team, as well as being experienced and skilled, has the ‘go beyond’ spirit.  Quality and results focused. Proactivity and enthusiasm. Tenacity. Desire to exceed expectations. Open and vocal. Personable and flexible.

 

Q: What does the future hold for Spirit?

A: The future is looking extremely bright. We’re forecasting further expansion and sustainable growth driven by our great team of talented communication professionals, strengthening our reputation as a global leader in medical communications. Continuing to invest to advance our team’s development and performance, nurturing our culture of innovation to build a competitive edge, and following our core ethos to ‘go beyond’ will ensure we keep exceeding our clients’ expectations, and achieve our growth objectives.

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Welcome to ‘Spirit Live’

Welcome to the Spirit Medical Communications website and also to our new ‘Spirit Live’ blog.   Spirit have been providing high quality medical communications support to our global healthcare client base for nearly 10 years!  Our website provides a platform for clients and potential employees to better understand our services and our personality, as well a…Read more »

Welcome to the Spirit Medical Communications website and also to our new ‘Spirit Live’ blog.   Spirit have been providing high quality medical communications support to our global healthcare client base for nearly 10 years!  Our website provides a platform for clients and potential employees to better understand our services and our personality, as well a place to contact us to learn more and begin a productive relationship.

Check in to the ‘Spirit Live’ blog regularly to find all the latest news from Spirit, as well as commentary on current issues within the healthcare and medical communication industries.

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