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Maggie Fedgchin PharmD’00 Found a Rewarding Career Path in Clinical Research and Development

By Rosie DiGironimo

Published on April 5, 2021

Maggie FedgchinAlumna Maggie (O’Brien) Fedgchin PharmD’00, a clinical scientist in Neuroscience Clinical Development at Janssen Research and Development, has great appreciation for the education she received in the Doctor of Pharmacy program at USciences.

The program provided her with the knowledge and skills necessary to pursue a career in clinical research and development in the pharmaceutical industry, where she has spent the last 20 years studying investigational compounds in all phases of drug development across various therapeutic areas.

“My interest in understanding the actions and therapeutic uses of drugs started after taking a pharmacology course at USciences and it is what continues to motivate me in my daily work,” said Dr. Fedgchin.

After graduating in 2000, she joined the Clinical Pharmacology department at Merck Research Laboratories and began learning more about how new medications are discovered and developed for human use.  At Janssen, she spent years in Experimental Medicine before joining Neuroscience Clinical Development to focus on developing novel treatments for mood disorders and neurodegenerative diseases.

“Professionally, I am most proud of my role in the successful research and development program for esketamine nasal spray (Spravato®),” she said. “Our team dedicated many years to designing and conducting the esketamine clinical studies in adults with treatment-resistant depression.  In March 2019, Spravato® became the first, FDA-approved antidepressant in a new class in 30 years and has since received numerous marketing approvals worldwide.”

Dr. Fedgchin chose USciences’ Philadelphia College of Pharmacy due to its reputation as the first college to train pharmacists in the country. She was attracted to the science and healthcare-focused programs that the University offered.

Recently during a virtual Pharmacy Rounds meeting with current students, Dr. Fedgchin emphasized the importance of exploring the abundant career options available with a degree from USciences.

“In addition to hospital and community-based pharmacy settings, there are many career opportunities for pharmacists/Pharm Ds that USciences prepares you very well for,” said Dr. Fedgchin. “Take the time to learn about all the different opportunities and career paths available until you find what interests you most.”  For example, the pharmaceutical industry offers many unique opportunities that many current and prospective students may not be aware of. 

Working in research and development for novel drugs is exciting but very challenging, as only ~ 10% of the large number of investigational drugs that start clinical (human) testing receive marketing approval. “Most of the novel compounds I have worked on during my career were not successful, but as with any research, there is always something to be learned from a failure.” noted Dr. Fedgchin.

Outside of her professional accomplishments, Dr. Fedgchin is also very proud of her family. She met her husband, Jason Fedgchin MPT’98, MBA (Villanova University ‘06) while they were both students at the University. They have two daughters, Riley, 14, and Allie, 9. In the future, Dr. Fedgchin plans to continue working to find new treatments to battle Alzheimer's Disease and to always make time to enjoy life with her family and friends.

Categories: News, Philadelphia College of Pharmacy, Department of Pharmacy Practice and Administration, Pharmacy, Alumni