Women in Pharma: AstraZeneca executive vice president Susan Galbraith has helped develop seven blockbuster drugs

Dr. Susan Galbraith, executive vice president of oncology R&D at AstraZeneca, says her entry into the pharmaceutical industry was serendipitous. “I always wanted to be a doctor, and during medical school, I was fascinated by the science behind how cancer happens and what we can do to better treat it,” she said.

After following this passion and becoming a clinical oncologist, Galbraith had the opportunity to undertake a Ph.D. at the University of London, where she researched a vascular-targeting molecule. “Near the end of my Ph.D., the molecule I was working on was licensed to Bristol Myers Squibb, and I was approached with an opportunity to join the company,” she said. “ So, in 2001, I moved across the Atlantic with my family and entered the pharmaceutical industry.”

Shortly after Galbraith joined the industry, work on the molecule was halted due to a safety signal. “At this point, I could have headed back to clinical research, which at the time was the les…

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