Specific Opportunities for MD/PhDs in Industry?

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Jan 3, 2009
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So I couldn't find an extensive thread on this topic, and it is something that I've been curious about. I personally foresee myself in academics, but I'm wondering what type of opportunities are out there in industry for MD-PhDs?

There is some vague information at: http://www.mdphds.org/guide/postgrad.php

For example, I would imagine that pharmaceutical companies could use people for the translational work for actually getting drugs to people... but I haven't heard of or seen specific examples of this or other examples of MD-PhDs uses in industry. I've seen plenty of example of pharma contracting people in academics to do this type of work.... but that isn't exactly working in industry full-time.

If someone out there is familiar with this topic, I'm sure it would be beneficial to many potential applicants out there.


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Good question.

One of the attractions of the MD-PhD degree to me is the versatility it affords you. I've noted that many CSOs, Scientific Advisors and even CEOs of biotech companies are MD-PhDs. I think the unique perspective of an MD-PhD would prove invaluable on the science end or even the business end of a pharmaceutical company or biotech.

Many academics are starting companies in addition to their research duties at their schools.

Two MD-PhDs who fit the description I give above are George Yancopoulos of Regeneron and Arthur Sands of Lexicon. The former did his MD-PhD at Columbia and the latter at Baylor. I met Yancopoulous when he came to my school for a talk, and the guy was inspirational. He was one of the top ten cited scientists of the 1990's I think. I never really thought about a career in industry until meeting him and seeing how cool his job is.

I found a piece about him here: http://www.scientificamerican.com/article.cfm?id=george-yancopoulos-westinghouse

And here is some info about Sands: http://people.forbes.com/profile/arthur-t-sands/49104

I'm sure there are many others, and I'd be interested to see who others look to as the model MD-PhD in industry.
I babysat the children of an MD/PhD who left Children's Hospital St. Louis to work at Abbott, just outside of Chicago. She was in pediatric endocrinology, and I'm pretty sure that she's doing research on pediatric diabetes there. Don't know for sure.
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Talking out of my butt here...

I imagine the big draw of MD/PhD's to industry is that we are typically committed to basic science research but have potentially desirable insights on how to turn science into therapeutics. Sure not all MD/PhD'ers fit that description, but if you decide on a career in industry you'll have clinical training and basic science training. Assuming you're a good fit for business, leadership, buzzwords, etc etc I'd wager you'd make a pretty attractive recruit.

I am an IMG. I complted my residency in orthopaedics from India. I plan to pursue Phd in molecular medicine in US. I want to know what are my job opportunities in Industry.