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First of its kind series with Exton, PA-based company will focus on rare diseases
For the first time in its 12-year history, West Chester University's Pharmaceutical Product Development Program (PPD) will feature one company presenting a semester-long seminar series that touches on every aspect of its pharmaceutical drug development process.
Starting on August 28, the weekly series, called "Navigating Rare Disease: From Patient Needs to Solutions," will feature lectures by various ViroPharma Incorporated staff members, ranging from CEO to scientist to patient. Located in Exton, Pennsylvania, ViroPharma Incorporated is an international biopharmaceutical company committed to developing and commercializing innovative products that address unmet medical needs.
Stephen J. Zimniski, director of the PPD program, said, "This is graduate-level material being presented to our undergraduate students directly from ViroPharma company representatives. It represents the kind of deep involvement our students experience with our pharmaceutical and biotech partners in this unique program, as students are truly at the forefront of current medical developments."
The innovative curriculum for the University's Bachelor of Science in pharmaceutical product development program was developed through extensive dialog with key industry leaders and is designed to meet the specific needs of students seeking careers in this dynamic industry. It is coupled with up to two summers of employment in the industry following students' sophomore and junior years. Mandatory paid internship assignments are performed within the industry and provide graduates with a level of understanding and experience that cannot be duplicated in the classroom. Graduates of this program are poised to enter the industry with a breadth of understanding that previously took several years of industry experience to acquire.
"At ViroPharma, we take seriously our obligation to be involved in our community, including through the development of innovative programs with academic partners like West Chester University," said Will Roberts, ViroPharma's vice president of corporate communications. "Our goal is to encourage these students to start thinking about pharmaceutical development possibilities, and to raise awareness about the importance of product development to address the needs of patients suffering from rare diseases."
"The success of our PPD program is due to the extraordinary level of involvement we receive from approximately 30 companies located within Southeastern Pennsylvania, and the unprecedented opportunities they offer our students," added Zimniski. "Because we provide them with such highly skilled students, it's a real fusion of academia and industry." The selective PPD program (www.wcupa.edu/ppd ) accepts about a dozen students per year. Its graduates typically accept positions within the pharmaceutical and biotech industries within a month of graduating, or proceed to medical or graduate school programs.