Developing Digital Services Within Pharma and Medical Device Firms
Liam Rogers must like a challenge. As Senior Global Manager, IT Strategy & Planning, Health Sciences, for NSF, he leads a team responsible for ensuring that the organization’s IT networks in his division are running efficiently and securely. The work is complex, demanding and nonstop. Now factor in that he does this to support health sciences teams operating around the world, and that he does it all from his base of operations in the United Kingdom. A big challenge? You bet.
NSF’s Health Sciences division offers auditing and certification services to pharmaceutical, medical device and in vitro diagnostic companies in the United States and abroad. Staff provides customized, end-to-end services throughout product life cycles. The goal is to ensure that companies achieve regulatory compliance, implement effective quality management systems, and attain optimum product quality and safety.
Not surprisingly, the Health Sciences staff includes former U.S. FDA and EU regulators and a slew of industry experts. They combine global regulatory knowledge with industry best practices to provide clients with customized quality control, compliance and regulatory services. And they offer professional advice on the design, qualification and validation of new facilities, equipment, and computerized systems and process.
Note the “computerized systems and processes” — this is where Rogers and his team shine. Because if his colleagues are advising, say, Pfizer or Roche on an updated pharmaceutical process, then all the underlying data systems that the process models run on have to be not only efficient but totally secure. The intellectual property for just one successful new drug is likely worth millions and so is a very tempting target for cybercriminals.
“My job is to look for IT growth opportunities and develop digital services that combine the best of NSF resources internally with our external partners,” Rogers says. “Health Sciences includes five groups. They are Medical Devices, Training, Pharmaceutical Consulting, Health Science Certification and Clinical Research. This means that my daily tasks can vary depending on the specific opportunity at hand.
“I support our leaders and David Lonza, VP of Health Sciences, in mapping process improvements, automation and new commercial innovations, which can be combined with internal use,” he adds. “Also, I act as a final point of escalation for all IT-related queries within our group.” In other words, Rogers is saying that “the IT buck stops here with me when it lands on my desk,” regardless of which far-flung corner of the world it may have originated from.
Asked how his previous experiences have prepared him for the challenging job he does now with NSF, Rogers points to his extensive IT and security work with a midsize contract research organization (CRO) and with the entrepreneurial venture AgosIT. The tech startup entered the market offering a full array of IT and life science services to pharmaceutical, biotechnology and medical device companies.
“The importance of this background was my promise to take my IT skills within the life sciences industry to my next position, and to utilize the commercial success and business skills I had acquired to benefit my next role,” Rogers adds. “When the opportunity arose at NSF, I felt I could make a real difference and implement commercially driven IT innovations and market skills to help drive strategy, innovation, automation and regulatory response.”
Most people in a large global organization might have two or three words in their job title to describe the range of their responsibilities. Consider Liam Rogers’ title: Senior Global Manager, IT Strategy & Planning, Health Sciences. Eight words long. This means that not only is he covering a lot of territory for NSF in terms of countries and continents, but he is also ensuring that the organization stays at the forefront of IT trends. Yes, he is a man who enjoys a challenge.