Building Life Sciences Success: Business Development through Innovation and Networking

Building a Professional Life Sciences Career

Like many people with a scientific education, Nerissa Samad discovered that her educational background didn’t translate well onto paper. “My resumé was very scientific, very technical and very hard for people to understand,” she remembers. “My sister rewrote my resumé, and I always credit her with helping me land my job,” laughs Samad, recalling her foray into business development four years ago. Now Ms. Samad is a business development professional at Dalton Pharma, a leading pharmaceutical contracting company located in Toronto.

Ms. Samad was brought into Dalton Pharma with assistance from BioTalent Canada’s Career Focus Program, which provided wage subsidies to support the creation of her position. “To be part of my clients’ journey is fascinating, and being a part of their success is a great part of my job.” Career Focus helps life-sciences job seekers find career opportunities by identifying skills that candidates can transfer from other professions, expediting employment and helping talent match their qualifications to the needs of the market.

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In her fourth year of business development at Dalton Pharma, Ms. Samad recalls that her first few years were spent learning the industry, building her professional network and learning how things happen in the industry. Supported by the management team at Dalton, Ms. Samad parlayed her degree in pharmaceutical chemistry and biological science into what she now realizes is her dream job. “I enjoy the creative aspect of my job—very early research, exploring products not currently on the market—as well as the business side where I work with bright people who have a vision.”

Right from the get-go Ms. Samad was eager to make a difference at Dalton. She set a stretch-goal for her first year at Dalton: “I wanted to land a client within my first year without touching any existing accounts. With a lot of support from the team at Dalton and with a lot of work I made that happen, and that was very rewarding,” she says. “Finding a client was a major hurdle and, being completely new to the industry, I relied on my colleagues for support and guidance.” Like many people who start a new career path, Ms. Samad reports that she had to learn a lot in her first year. Networking with people on various social media sites helped her create a professional network that she carefully nurtures to this day.

Networking and Creating Opportunities for Innovation

Her vantage point as a business development professional gives Ms. Samad a unique viewpoint on the biotech field. “I think that research science—and research scientists—will be a growing, and needed, field over the next few years. We need to have more ideas explored and brought forward,” she says. “The future of biotech is growing every year.”

“Helping clients achieve success and bringing their products to life is one reward of my career, as is being a part of their success and the success of Dalton Pharma,” Ms. Samad says. “My advice to anyone entering the field is to network, make connections, and use social media sites to make connections and grow a professional network.” Numerous social media sites cater exclusively to the biotech field, “providing a place for people to make organic connections with people in the same field,” says Samad.

Would she change her career? Ms. Samad quickly replies that, “business development is where I belong because it enables me to use my education and personal skills to be successful. There are moments when I am completely astounded by the work my clients are doing, and that is an attractive aspect to any career.”


Find out if you or your company is eligible for Career Focus wage subsidies.