Etgar

We are delighted to interview Dr. ETGAR LEVY-NISSENBAUM (Senior Drug Development Manager at BioLineRx, ISRAEL)
Dr. Levy-Nissenbaum joined BioLineRx (www.biolinerx.com) in 2007 and he is leading Phase-II Multicenter Clinical Trial in Israel. He owns extensive experience in non-GMP and GMP drug substance and drug product manufacturing for clinical trials. Experienced in writing and submission clinical protocol and investigational brochure (IB) for the Institutional Review Board (IRB) and the Ministry of Health (MoH). Five years of experience in the development of small molecules and biological drugs for the treatment of numerous clinical indications with the ultimate goal of bringing these products into the clinics and market. A member of BioLineRx Extended Management - a forum who oversees strategically and professionally needs of the entire organization to improve the working environment and to implement future goals and vision Top to Bottom.

Dr. Levy-Nissenbaum gained extensive post-doctoral training at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) and Harvard Medical School (HMS) in Boston, Massachusetts supervised by Institute Professor Robert Langer. Dr. Levy-Nissenbaum holds a PhD and MSc from the faculty of medicine at Tel Aviv University, supervised by Prof. Elon Pras, and a BSc in Life Sciences from Tel Aviv University

How did your professional career began?
Prior completion of my post-doctoral training, I pursue an industrial position in the pharma where I can be part of a new drug development team. While seeking for a challenging position, I approached BioLineRx that was not looking for candidate at that time but was interested in my profound professional background. I was extremely fortunate that Dr. Kinneret Savitsky (CEO, BioLineRx) believed in me and offered me the opportunity to become a Team Leader
 
Did you plan your professional career? How to pave the way to reach a senior position?
 Now-a-days, where limited positions are available in the pharma industry there is overflow of PhDs candidates in scientific areas and it seems that post-doctoral training may provide an added value to the candidate when pursuing an industrial position. Today, post-doctoral training is not exclusively desired by academia for tenure track or assistant professor positions but it became very legitimate requirement by the industry as well. This training can serve as a good starting position in the industry and may lead to higher positions based on proven experience.
 
What was the most influential experience in your career?
 The first most significant event during my career was publishing in the prestige journal of Nature Genetics during my PhD work after being rejected numerous times by the editor. Each rejection increased my enthusiasm to get better and after a year, the editor found the work (by Prof. Elon Pras, Prof. Moshe Frydman and I) worth published in Nature Genetics. The second substantial event was during my first talk at the Center of Cancer Nanotechnology Excellence (CCNEs) during my post-doctoral where Nobel Prize winners as well as top notch scientists attend this talk. That event helped me to realize that Israeli scientists can be considered among top notch scientists in America and it is a great honor to represent Israel in such forum.
 
Do you have suggestions for graduates of advanced degrees who wish to join in the biotech industry, especially to those who do not have experience in the industry?
Never give up on your dreams as they may come true if you be persistent. Figure out what are you passionate about, and concentrate your effort exploring that field. Attend applied scientific meetings that combine industrial representatives, work on applicable projects and mark your targets as it became easier when you know where to focus.
 
How do you view the future in of the biotech industry for the coming years?
It seems that large pharma companies invest in the local Israeli industry. Many start-up companies are founded and the demand seems to increase in the following years. The potential in the Israeli pharma industry is huge and these start-up companies drown the attention of world-wide companies in international events especially due to the brilliant intellectual property created by Israeli scientists