January 2003
Justin Beard
Life in the pharmaceutical industry began for me in September 1996 when I joined the CDM team at Amgen on a 12-month contract as a 'Clinical Forms Associate'. This was my first job since graduating from the University of Nottingham with a degree in Animal Science where I specialised in physiology and biochemistry. My role at Amgen was varied, involving everything from data entry, CRF design and data cleaning, to negotiating with CRF printers and seeing to shipping of CRFs to investigator sites.
In October 1997 I joined GlaxoWellcome, as a CRF designer. Initially, my main responsibility was the development of all phase II-IV paper CRF's in the neurology therapeutic area. After 18 months I moved to the Infectious diseases area and eventually went on to design CRFs for almost every therapeutic area in GSK, plus some Clinical Pharmacology ones as well. In the last year, I have been involved with designing electronic CRF's using an in-house Remote Data Management system. This was a great opportunity for me and one that I thoroughly enjoyed, not least because it gave me a better view of the issues that can arise from collecting data in this way and I also got to see first-hand some of the benefits to be gained by using such a system.
What I enjoy most about my job is the opportunity it gives me to meet and work within a multi-functional team. I like to think of each CRF as its own individual project, with a team, an objective and a deadline. I really enjoy the responsibility of driving the CRF development process in my own way to produce a quality CRF in a timely fashion. With multiple CRFs under simultaneous development comes multiple deadlines. Good organisation and time management plus an ability to multi-task are key skills for a CRF designer. Being able to influence within a multi-functional, international project team environment is also required. On the clinical side, having read a significant number of protocols over the years, you can't help but learn rather a lot about the different therapeutic areas, the many diseases which exist within those areas and the treatments which are currently available, or under development.
Apart from the day to day core aspect of my job. I am also involved with other activities. These have included being a member of the data standards committee, ensuring all our standard CRF pages are well maintained and that supporting documentation is kept up-to-date; maintaining the company CRF development web-site, and more recently, managing a large project to integrate legacy CRF Design systems for GSK. The outcome of this project will result in a change in the way CRFs are developed at GSK worldwide.
Another activity I have been involved with over the last 4 years has been the ACDM CRF Design Special Interest Group (SIG). I became involved with the CRF Design SIG after I wanted to attend a meeting of this type to learn about how other companies do things in relation to CRF development. When I discovered that this group had not met for some time and that the chairperson's position was vacant, I took it upon myself to re-launch the SIG in November 1998. There have been a number of chairpersons since then and a meeting approximately every 6 months at a different location each time, with an attendance of around 20 members at each meeting. Membership has now passed the 100 mark and 38 different companies are represented.
Away from the office the things that take up most of my time are driving to and from it!! Plus watching TV and playing computer games (though not all at the same time!!). I enjoy going out for dinner, or to the pub (or both!), I go swimming a couple of times a week and enjoy listening to music (in particular, Embrace, Stereophonics and Doves). I am trying to learn to play the guitar, but its not as easy as it looks! I also like going abroad on holiday, but that doesn't tend to happen as often as I'd like, although I have just got back from Greece, where I discovered the joys of Go-Karting and Jet Skiing!
Justin Beard
Chairperson, ACDM CRF Design Special Interest Group