Savi Ramurthy Sr. Investigator Global Discovery Chemistry Emeryville, CA
What made you want to work for NIBR? I always wanted to work for a company that brings medicines rapidly to the clinic, where I can use my expertise in medicinal chemistry. Novartis maintains a robust pipeline and works on so many different diseases. There is no greater privilege than to work toward bettering human health, and that is why I chose Novartis.
Describe your job and how it fits into the overall big picture of serving the patient. I am a medicinal chemist and I work to come up with drugs, especially for lung tumors. One of the drugs I worked on is already in the clinic. My work fits in well with the goals of my group, Global Discovery Chemistry (GDC) and of NIBR. We don’t work on projects because the market is large, but because we think we can make a difference; we are committed to prioritizing unmet medical needs. What is better than bringing compounds that can have a direct impact on patients into the clinic?
Comment on your ability to do research at NIBR. As part of GDC, I am working with highly talented, motivated and experienced colleagues. We are each empowered on our project teams to represent our area of expertise. It is all based on mutual trust. I have a high degree of responsibility and trust in my team. We don’t need to wait for permission; we can be proactive and come up with an idea and run with it. Emeryville has all of the disciplines at one site, so the co-location really helps. Hallway conversations happen all the time. If you want to consult a biologist, you just go down one floor and discuss the project.
What makes you proudest about what you do? First and foremost the science which directly impacts cancer patients. One of my visions is to help discover a drug which will benefit cancer patients. One of my close friends was diagnosed with breast cancer five years ago. She had a mastectomy and was cancer free for a few years, however it has recently metastasized and she is really suffering. Watching her go through this helps me to better understand what cancer patients are experiencing – the pain, the anxiety. That’s when I feel the satisfaction of what I do. It is very rewarding to have a direct impact on human lives.
How would you describe the culture at NIBR? There are several components to NIBR’s culture. NIBR fosters innovation. We develop new and unique ideas that we can put into action. Decision-making is also a key component of the NIBR culture. We thrive on key decisions – when to proceed with a project or when to terminate it. We don’t hesitate to say, ‘this isn’t working’ and terminate a project without having to worry that we are not being successful. We are rewarded here for making the right decision at the right time.
What keeps you here? Three things make me want to stay at NIBR.
The science, working on programs to bring medicines rapidly into the clinic.
The people. Working with people from different expertise areas across multiple disciplines is incredibly rewarding. The environment really enhances our learning opportunities. I feel proud to be working in a group that has mutual respect for one another. My colleagues are highly knowledgeable and don’t hesitate to challenge each other. It really makes you sharper.
Management. The leadership takes pride in the development of their people and helping us to reach our full potential. They really believe in mentoring and coaching, never hesitating to share their knowledge. Our leadership is also incredibly open to hearing our opinions, which is one of the best things that I see at NIBR. We are always encouraged to speak up.
What would you tell a candidate? We do great science and have great colleagues. The organization is comprised of people who are highly competent, diverse and aligned on the shared goal of bringing medicines rapidly into the clinic.