Pharmaceutical/Medicinal Chemist

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Pharmaceutical chemists perform chemical research and testing which contributes to the development of medicinal products such as antibiotics and vaccines. They also develop methods and help determine standards for drug testing in humans and animals. This type of work relies heavily on biological knowledge of the human system in areas such as genetics and immunology and utilises highly specialised technical laboratory equipment and sophisticated software.

Advances in this industry are rapid and funding for projects is often generous and extensive, with large pharmaceutical companies competing with each other to make the next innovative product. Chemists who find employment with these companies are often required to co-ordinate clinical trials and submit their products to receive approval by governing and regulatory bodies. In addition, they must consult with manufacturers on the mass-production of the product and be prepared to present their product to a non-scientific audience.

Typically, pharmaceutical/medicinal chemists will find employment in:

  • Private pharmaceutical companies - often in research and development
  • Government agencies - in health, agriculture, food and drug administration
  • Industrial pharmaceutical manufacturing organisations