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Jim Datin
Posted by Jim Datin BioAgilytix Insight, CRO Selection

BioAgilytix Team Q&A: Meet Corinna Fiorotti, Scientific Officer and Key Accounts Director

BioAgilytix Team Q&A: Meet Corinna Fiorotti, Scientific Officer and Key Accounts Director

Sharing scientific expertise is a passion shared by our entire team here at BioAgilytix, whether working in or outside of the lab each day. To effectively address the complex bioanalytical projects our customers bring to the table, we must understand their challenges on a deep scientific level, and they must see us as trusted scientific advisors. In this Q&A session, we talk to Corinna Fiorotti, our Scientific Officer and Key Account Director, to discuss how she applies her extensive time in the lab, for both academia and industry, to act as a consultative collaborator in her customer-facing role at BioAgilytix today.

Tell us a little about your background.
I began my studies as an undergrad at the University of New Hampshire on a pre-med track to be a pediatrician, but I ended up obtaining my Ph.D. in Microbiology, and Immunology. From there, I wanted to gain a deeper understanding of molecular genetics and decided to pursue a postdoctoral fellowship at Harvard Medical School. During my time there I studied bacterial polysaccharide genetics, and was involved in the identification and characterization of mechanism of control of capsular polysaccharide expression produced by Bacteroides fragilis, which is a bacterium that causes intra-abdominal abscesses. My work was actually featured on the cover of Nature, which was really a highlight of my academic career! Harvard promoted me to Instructor of Medicine, which allowed me to teach first- and second-year medical students pathogenic microbiology and immunology.

While I thoroughly enjoyed my experiences in academia, I decided to step back and ask myself how I wanted to further contribute to the scientific arena. As an academic, I became a master in one specific area, but I wanted an opportunity to apply that expertise on a more comprehensive level. As a result, I made a career shift to industry and began working at a pharma company focused on eye diseases. There I was on the team responsible for developing Macugen®, a drug for age-related macular degeneration (AMD). In that position I learned a lot about the ins and outs of regulatory processes.

From there I moved to work at a large pharma where I was involved more heavily in molecular biology and development of a variety of assays, such as cell-based neutralizing antibody assays, PK assays, and ADA assays for immunogenicity assessments. I really liked what I was doing, but a seed of change was planted in my head by Dr. Dominique Gouty when I saw her at a conference I was presenting at in 2014. She saw me speak and was convinced that I had the right people skills and could use them to apply my scientific background in a more customer-facing way at BioAgilytix. At first I was hesitant to make such big transition, but the more I thought about it, the more intrigued I became by the challenge, and ended up coming on board the BioAgilytix team in 2015.

How has your role evolved since joining BioAgilytix?
Although the initial move out the lab was harder than I expected, I absolutely love what I’m doing now. While my role initially was in business development, I am a scientist, not a salesperson. It has always been about the science, and because I come from a scientific background, I’m able to offer solutions to problems I’ve seen in the lab firsthand. My role is about much more than closing contracts—I love meeting with customers and learning about so many different, exciting drug development programs, and can offer a deeply scientific perspective and validation on how our team can help solve study challenges.

In fact, I was recently promoted to Scientific Officer and Account Director, which integrates the science into my daily role even more so. I now have the opportunity to travel with our other BD team members to present to their customers on the scientific aspects of their projects. Helping pharmaceutical companies get their drugs to market is really rewarding, and I enjoy the dialogue I’m able to have between our experts in bioanalysis and our customers, who are experts in the drugs they are developing.

What do you think differentiates BioAgilytix from other CROs?
First and foremost is the quality of our science. Our record from the FDA and EMA speaks for itself. We’ve had no 483s and that is pretty unheard of in the CRO world. That just shows how quality-driven our company is.

The collaboration and comradery that our scientists have with customers is also really unique; we strive to build highly collaborative partnerships with internal teams and uphold a level of transparency and communication that I haven’t seen at other CROs. In science, sometimes things go wrong, and when they do, we always notify our clients and provide a solution. Every person is ready and willing to go above and beyond to get a problem solved. Even our business development team is actively involved in ongoing projects; they never just hand off a customer, but are continuously in contact with the client to make sure their project stays on track. I never had business personnel reach out to check in on me when I was on the other side, working with a CRO. That aspect is a differentiating component of BioAgilytix.

What opportunities do you see coming for BioAgilytix in the industry?
We very much strive to stay cutting edge; we have our finger on the pulse of the industry in terms of knowing where science is going, and what customers are looking for and want. In particular, there is a lot of opportunity to support gene therapy programs to a greater extent. There are also a lot of opportunities in CAR-T therapies which are proving to be quite an exciting approach to cancer treatment. I am constantly meeting with customers and learning about their innovative programs; from there we identify how we can best apply the latest science to support their drug development efforts.

How would you describe BioAgilytix’s company culture?
The company has heart and passion, and the people love what they do, which shows in their day-to-day activities and their relationships with their clients. Our team really feels like a family. Everyone is very supportive and tries to help each other. From the first day I joined BioAgilytix, they took me under their wings and were more than happy to train me, and are still there to help me whenever I need it.

The best part is that the culture funnels from the top and spreads down. The upper management really supports the culture by partaking in it. I love the people I work with and the science we do as a team. The team focus not only helps get the work done, but it also helps us achieve high-quality ends.

Interested in hearing from other BioAgilytix team members? You can find other Q&A sessions from our employees here.

Interested in joining the BioAgilytix team? Visit our careers site to learn more about what it’s like to work at BioAgilytix and to view our current career opportunities.

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