Utilising Project Management Skills for Drug Discovery

Published: 24 January 2023

At BioAscent, we work with customers to deliver complex projects to accomplish their drug discovery goals. Projects are overseen by a dedicated project manager, and the project goals achieved not just through our extensive scientific and technical expertise, but also via careful planning and application of key project management processes.

In this blog, Dr Brian McFerran, Associate Director Biosciences and an experienced project manager, explains why project management is important, what makes a good project manager, and how project management is at the core of delivering customer projects at BioAscent.

Why is project management important?

Projects bring about change and with that uncertainty. This is particularly the case in the field of drug discovery, where projects are routinely focused on the delivery of unique drug candidates and the implementation of novel technologies. It’s therefore essential that a highly confident and capable project manager takes the lead and steers the project forward.

In simple terms, the project manager will aim to manage that uncertainty to the extent possible and ensure that a project is delivered within the agreed timelines, within budget and that deliverables are in line with the agreed acceptance criteria. To do so the project manager will rely on a range of processes, including:

What makes a good project manager?

A project manager will be exposed to all aspects of a business and as such require a wide range of skills including a knowledge of the PM processes outlined above, good business awareness and a high degree of technical understanding. But what sets a good project manager apart from an excellent project manager is their soft skills. These typically include:

At BioAscent our project managers have many years of experience in a relevant scientific background. As such they are able to oversee all aspects of a project from initial scoping discussions to technical execution to the final deliverables. They also work with the extended BioAscent team and any external partners, pulling together the required expertise from chemistry, biosciences, compound management, DMPK and other disciplines as required, and act as the on-site advocate for our customers. 

The best projects are those that are truly collaborative, and we consider ourselves as an extension of our customer, adopting a “one team” approach. Open and honest communication is key to everything we do and at BioAscent we focus on building relationships with clients that last many years, with the project manager as a constant and at the heart of that relationship.

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