MSL Society Heralds Second Successful Global Gathering of MSLs, Medical Affairs Executives

The MSL Society is celebrating the success of its second successful global event of the year, the Paris 2013 Conference.  Held at the Hyatt Regency Paris Etoile, the action-packed conference brought together medical science liaisons and medical affairs professionals from nearly every corner of the globe and multiple life science industries, including pharmaceuticals, biotechnology, medical devices and diagnostics, and clinical research organizations.

The event opened in customary MSL Society fashion, with a networking reception for the conference participants to get to know each other in a comfortable setting on the evening of October 28.  During the following two days of intense content-sharing, participants heard a range of experienced speakers deliver critical information on a broad-ranging set of topics that impact the daily professional lives of MSLs and the departments and companies they serve.  Topics discussed included the Evolving Role of the MSL, Building a Medical Affairs Department, MSL Training, and Building an MSL Team Structure in a Therapeutic Area.

Speakers at the event included several leading lights in the global medical affairs community, including Elizabeth Kupferer of Sequenom (USA), Martin Obladen of Bayer Healthcare (Germany), Jennifer Williams of Bard Medical (USA), Ayse Olmez of Bayer Healthcare (Turkey), Elena Chukraeva of Janssen (Russia), Belinda Gist of Genzyme (USA), Yavuz Silay of Labiopharma (USA), Elly Grimaldi of GRS (USA), Maria Mabunay of Mundipharma (Singapore), and Gregory Fiore of the Medicines Company (USA).

For Williams, one of the featured speakers at the event, the timing is right for the MSL Society to serve its members and help them attain the maximum benefits the global medical affairs community has to offer.  “There is no better time to engage in the development and leadership of the MSL,” Williams stated.  “The MSL Society has successfully launched this type of needed engagement around the globe, and success is certain through peer review and meetings such as the professional meeting in Paris.”

Kupferer concurred with Williams’ assessment. “The conference in Paris provided an invaluable networking and collaboration experience, the kind of experience that genuinely fosters the expansion and maturation of the MSL role throughout the world,” Kupferer explained.  “Given the diverse experiential and professional backgrounds of MSLs, from health care provider to bench researcher, these types of events are integral to the advancement of the MSL profession.  Indeed, all attendeesundefinedfrom tenured MSLs and directors to those wishing to enter into the MSL role for the first timeundefinedcan benefit from attending.”

Belinda Gist of Genzyme praised the MSL Society for an event that already surpasses similar conferences staged in the healthcare space with regard to the level of interactivity among speakers, panelists, sponsors, and attendees:  “The Paris MSL Society conference was fantastic.  It was the single-most interactive event I have attended.  I thoroughly enjoyed the exchange with my peers and their willingness to share stories, successes, and challenges. I see the MSL Society as a key driver in shaping the future of the MSL profession, and I am tremendously excited to be a part of it.”  

The MSL Society extends its gratitude to the following sponsors and media partners who powered the organization’s second conference with both financial and strategic resource commitments:  Thought Leader Select, Global Prairie, Barrington James, FiercePharma, Elsevier, PM360, and inScience Training,

According to MSL Society Chairman Samuel Dyer, the event reflected the best expression twin values of networking and education for the MSL community:  “The MSL Society’s Paris conference was a great success and a rare opportunity for attendees to engage with a diverse group of speakers representing MSL leadership from the U.S., Europe, Turkey, Russia and Asia.  It is very exciting to see the global MSL community come together to support the MSL Society while discussing important issues facing the MSL role such as MSL certification, on-board training, and MSL metrics. It was also a lot of fun to socialize with friends and establish new relationships during the evening networking events held overlooking the Eiffel Tower and the Louvre.”

Stay tuned to this space for announcements regarding 2014 MSL Society events.


MSL Society Paris 2013: Featured Speaker Elizabeth Kupferer

The MSL Society is proud once again to have an expert-packed speaker lineup for its Paris 2013 event in October.  Among the panel of speakers from the world of medical affairs is the dynamic director of medical affairs at SequenomDr. Elizabeth Kupferer.

Elizabeth holds a Doctor of Philosophy (Ph.D.) from the University of Texas at Austin in Women’s Health, with an additional interdisciplinary portfolio in Women’s and Gender Studies. She earned her undergraduate and graduate degrees from the University of Texas Medical Branch in Galveston.  In addition to her role at Sequenom, a life sciences leader in genetic analysis solutions, Elizabeth serves as Adjunct Assistant Clinical Professor of Nursing at the University of Texas at Austin.

During her 35-year career, Elizabeth has gained a vast amount of clinical experience in many areas of women’s health, beginning as a registered nurse in labor & delivery, with progressive management roles up to the director level. She practiced for eight years as a women’s health nurse practitioner (WHNP), and has taught at the graduate level.

Most recently, she has worked in the life sciences industry for 11 years in medical affairs. Elizabeth has been an author and co-author of peer-reviewed journal publications in the Women’s Health field and has presented clinical, medical, and scientific information to small and large groups at local, national, and international venues. .

The MSL Society Blog sat down with Dr. Kupferer to discuss her upcoming presentation at Paris 2013.

The MSL Society Blog: What topic will you be speaking about at Paris 2013?

Elizabeth Kupferer: I will be sharing about my professional experience with establishing a Medical Affairs department and MSL team in a Molecular Diagnostics Laboratory setting.

The MSL Society Blog: Why do you think this is important in the world of MSLs?

Elizabeth Kupferer: This topic is important is because it illustrates the value of the addition of a Medical Affairs Department and MSL team in an industry that is not highly-regulated. My department and MSL team was the first of its kind in the pre-natal diagnostics space and has now been replicated by our competitors. HCP education is integral in molecular diagnostics and genetic testing because of the rapid and continued advancement in diagnostic technologies that are literally driving changes to clinical practice. It is important for health care providers to understand how the technologies work and how they can be integrated into practice appropriately and ethically.

The MSL Society Blog:  What’s the single-most important trend you see on the horizon with regard to the role of MSLs?

Elizabeth Kupferer:  I believe the biggest impact on the MSL role is the increasing complexity of pharmaceuticals, devices and the advancement of personalized medicine and genomics.  This opens up more opportunities for highly-educated experts in each of these therapeutic areas.

The MSL Society Blog:  What’s the most important piece of advice you could give to a new MSL today?

Elizabeth Kupferer:  Stay curious and embrace change. Flexibility and adapting to change are integral to the MSL role.

Register now for MSL Society Paris 2013 at the event website,, for a great opportunity to learn from leading experts like Elizabeth Kupferer, along with plenty of opportunities to network with peers and executives across the global medical affairs community.


The Life of an MSL–the First Month: DUSA’s Amy Joseph

To get a fresh perspective on the role of medical science liaisons, the MSL Society Blog recently sat down with Amy Joseph, a newcomer to the profession after serving for nearly 12 years as a clinical and retail pharmacist.  After completing her PharmD at Northeastern University in 2000, Amy worked in the greater Boston area at CVS Pharmacy, Women and Infant’s Hospital, Kent Hospital, Care New England, and Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center.

Amy is in her first year as an MSL at DUSA Pharmaceuticals, a company focused on dermatology treatments, and she was kind enough to share some of her insights on the MSL role after completing her first month on the job.

MSL Society:  What drew you to the MSL profession?

Amy Joseph:  The main draw for me was a new challengeundefineda change. Remaining stagnant or reaching a plateau is not good for the human spirit; therefore, my mindset has always been to incorporate some degree of change in all aspects of life, including work. The MSL role interested me because it incorporates my clinical practice experience in a unique way for me.

MSL Society:  How did you prepare for the leap from clinical pharmacy to working in pharmaceuticals?

Amy Joseph:  My preparation involved updating my CV and doing a lot of networkingundefinedthat’s how I found Dr. Samuel Dyer and the MSL Society. It was a happy coincidence that the first society meeting took place just one month into my search for a MSL position.

I found this meeting extremely helpful, along with reading online about how to be successful in the role. I thought the timing for the transition was ideal, as the MSL role is becoming increasingly recognized for its value to the pharmaceutical industry.

MSL Society:  What were your first impressions of the role and working in pharmaceuticals?

Amy Joseph:  My first impressions aligned with my expectations that this role would be challenging and exciting.  So far, I’ve felt that I made the right choice in pursuing this position at DUSA.

MSL Society:  What have you enjoyed most about your new role as an MSL?

Amy Joseph:  I have most enjoyed the new challenges brought about by this change. Also, I enjoy the flexibility, driving my own schedule independently,  the travel, and meeting new thought leaders.  I am grateful for all of these aspects of my roleundefinedit’s been very fulfilling.

MSL Society:  Has anything surprised you about the MSL role?

Amy Joseph:  I’ve been most surprised by the depth of the relationships that I’ve been able to form in a short amount of time in the MSL position.  I am fascinated by how much impact these relationships have on the dissemination of scientific data among the medical community, which ultimately leads to improving patient care. Although building these relationships often takes time and patience, proving the value that MSLs provide gives me a surprising level of fulfillment each time.

MSL Society:  If you could give any tips to other newcomers facing early challenges in the MSL role, what would they be?

Amy Joseph:  The strongest challenges that I face in this still very new transition right now are many, but certainly not insurmountable!  First, you have to figure out how to meet the set of expectations that are required to demonstrate to your company’s leadership your value as an MSL

Second, you have to navigate regulatory and compliance guidelines while still remaining effective in your role.  Third, you have to accept that this position is not something you can master solely by studying materialundefinedthat’s important, certainly, but you also learn so much with each thought leader interaction as you’re building relationships in the medical field.

Fourth, you need to realize quickly that it will just take time to feel comfortable in the role, and that you need to be patient with yourself, along with getting patience from your employer.  Finally, you have to learn how to integrate your company’s unique business strategy with the medical minds of your thought leader panel, within the allowed regulatory confines and only with the resources available to you.