Continuing our effort to put faces to the names of some of the scientists you interact with at SEKISUI XenoTech, we interviewed one of our study directors, Mark Horrigan. Mark joined the company in 2005 as a Senior Mass Spectrometry Specialist and Qualitative Analysis group leader. Since then he has served as a Principal Scientist in the Drug Metabolism and Program Oversight Departments.
What responsibilities do you have as a Principal Scientist in Program Oversight?
As a Principal Scientist in the PO department I serve as a study director for metabolite characterization, reaction phenotyping and metabolic stability studies. My role is to ensure that the study is carried out according to the design specified in the protocol and to serve as the main point of communication with the sponsor.
What do you like about being a study director?
I enjoy being able to help our clients learn more about their drug candidates and solve problems with them. It is especially gratifying to work with repeat clients over the years, sometimes on the same drug candidate that has progressed to a different stage and we are helping them gain new insight that may help advance their drug candidate towards agency approval.
Do you have a “specialty” study or area that you have a lot of experience with? How has your experience has helped you become an expert?
My ‘specialty area’ is metabolite characterization. It makes up a large portion of my professional experience. Over my career I’ve worked on hundreds of studies with various small molecule test articles. Many of those studies presented some type of challenge or new aspect that helped to build my knowledge and expertise. I’m grateful to have had several very qualified and knowledgeable mentors that helped give me a good foundation and to work with a great team at SEKISUI XenoTech.
Why did you want to work for SEKISUI XenoTech (SXT) and what keeps you coming back to work?
I knew of SEKISUI XenoTech’s reputation as a leader in the drug metabolism field from my work at a previous CRO. I was very excited to have the opportunity to join SXT (XenoTech then) in 2005 to begin the metabolite characterization service. It has been a blessing to work here and I am grateful for the opportunity to play a role in continuing our reputation as a well-respected CRO. There is usually something new and challenging to learn as we help our clients develop new and/or more effective medicines.
Because the failure rate in the drug development industry is high, many of the test articles we work with are unlikely to progress to later stages. It has been meaningful to work with repeat customers that started out with early in vitro studies and later returned for assistance in preclinical or clinical stages. It is especially interesting to see how (or if) the in vitro and in vivo metabolite characterization data compare.
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