“14 different roles in life sciences sector give me great perspective”
Industrial Strategy What is it really like to be working at the sharp end of the UK's fast-moving life sciences industry? We talk to Louise Houson, Managing Director of pharmaceutical company MSD, to find out.
"I'm responsible for all commercial aspects of MSD's business."
"It's a sector that supports economic growth, obviously, but it's also a driving force behind innovation."
Life sciences is one of the UK's flagship industries, says Louise Houson. “The Life Sciences Industrial Strategy — which provides recommendations about how the sector can best succeed — was the first Industrial Strategy to be launched in 2017. That's a reflection of just how important life sciences is to this country. It's a sector that supports economic growth, obviously, but it's also a driving force behind innovation, which has the potential to benefit UK patients and healthcare delivery.”
"It's a very exciting time to be in my particular role.”
Houson's post-Brexit vision is for British life sciences to continue to flourish. “The industry's priority is to secure continuity of supply for both UK and EU patients,” she says. “Each month, around 45 million packs of medicines move from the UK to the EU, and 37 million move the other way, so frictionless trade and regulatory alignment are key. Plus, traditionally, there has been strong scientific research collaboration between the UK and the EU. We want to see that continue, and we want to be able to keep employing the best life sciences talent from around the world.”
If anyone knows what works for the industry, it's Houson. She joined the company 21 years ago and, since that time, has worked in 14 different roles. “Those different experiences have given me broad understanding of the sector,” she says. “I'm really grateful for that perspective. Certainly, there's a lot going on at the moment so it's an interesting — and at times challenging — place to be doing business. It's also a very exciting time to be in my particular role.”
Job code: GB-NON-00343
Date of prep: November 2018