Hi. My name is Darren and I'm an Analytical Scientist in the Extractables and Leachables Group at Teva's Waterford site.
As a student, chemistry was always a passion of mine... Ever since I started studying science at secondary school, I knew it was the career for me. I studied analytical chemistry at The Technological University of the Shannon and specialised in chemical instrumentation. A lot of the instrumentation I work with now was the primary focus of my degree.
My team plays a crucial role in the development of new medicines... I work in the Extractables and Leachables team in Waterford. We carry out testing on the container closure systems that our drug products are stored in. Things like inhalers, syringes or glass vials and rubber stoppers. It’s our job to determine that the materials used to make each of these components are safe and that no harmful compounds will come out of these materials during storage that could cause an adverse reaction to the patients who use our drug products.
We get to use a lot of cool equipment during testing... A lot of the stuff we’re using right now is equipment I haven't worked on before, that a lot of other labs don’t really have here in Ireland and I would have only covered in college. It’s really exciting because there’s lots of new things to learn.
We have a freedom to challenge and explore... We have guidelines on what we’re setting out to achieve during experiments, but how to get there is maybe not as clearly defined as some other areas of the pharma industry. We have a level of freedom and creative thinking in how you can reach those targets.
You never know how you're going to be spending your day... If I’m working on a validation and everything is ready to go then I could be spending most of my time in lab, prepping samples and getting stuff ready to run on the instruments. However, if you’re in the early stages of development you could be spending all your time at your desk, coming up with ideas for experiments or analysing data. It's always chopping and changing, depending on what stage of the project you’re working on.
My role at Teva offered me the chance to learn new skills... In my last position I felt I had progressed as far as I could, but Teva gave me the opportunity to do a different kind of testing with equipment I hadn’t used before. It was a great opportunity to learn new skills and develop my career.
My biggest achievement since joining Teva two years ago is... Even though we’re a relatively new group, we’ve managed to finish two projects as well as setting up a lot of new equipment. When something is being set up it can feel like the end point is quite far away as it’s quite a long process. So, it was great to get to the end of those projects and see that everything we put in place allowed us to finish successfully.
There’s something for everybody at Waterford... There are so many different areas and departments you can go into and lots of opportunities to move around the company, regardless of your specialism. There always seems to be internal job advertising so people do have the opportunity to switch between departments and try something new. Even then, if you’re happy in the position you’re in, there’s always opportunities for more training and the chance to progress and develop your skills in that area.
My advice to a university student wanting to get into this field would be… Not to worry. Coming from university, there's a lot of things they might not have covered about working in a lab, such as the systems and software that you’ll be using. Whatever position you go into in the lab, there’s always on-the-job training and opportunities to help you learn and develop your interests.
Drive your career forward with Teva
Our business is powered by amazing people with high levels of technical capability within the respiratory sector. Hear first-hand from our employees about what it’s like to work for Teva, their career journeys so far, and their tips and advice for driving forward a great career at Teva.