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Meet the Expert- Louise Tan, Management Consultant

Louise Tan has spent her whole career working in drug safety, but it was her decision to say yes to an opportunity in her first job, that started her rapid and successful career progression.

From Brighton to India

Louise studied Biomedical Science at Brighton University and on graduation, she joined Novartis working as a Safety Data Associate. At the time, Novartis was the second largest pharmaceutical company in the world, and Louise was happy to start her career there, inputting data about adverse drug reactions, the backbone of pharmacovigilance.

A few years’ later, an opportunity arose to go to India to train a new Safety Operations team and it seemed like an amazing opportunity.

‘I was young and keen and I decided it was an opportunity I couldn’t turn down, for both my career and life experience. It was a decision that I really think changed the course of my career.’

So, along with one other member of staff, Louise went to India to train a whole department in safety data processing and lived in the country for three months. The experience not only gave her a real taste for living and working abroad, but also taught her first-hand how cultural differences and global understanding impact ways of working.

Some of the skills and learnings I picked up during my time in Hyderabad are still applicable in my interactions with Indian and global teams today. I had a great time and emersed myself in the working culture.’

From India to Germany

After returning from India, Louise moved to Germany to work for Mundipharma, living in Frankfurt. She played a key role in the safety team, taking on new responsibilities and bridging a cultural gap between a PV team which was divided between Germany and the UK.

Louise returned to the UK and joined Kinapse as a Pharmacovigilance Scientist, leading project teams in India who were doing outsourced safety work for pharma companies, including case processing, aggregate report authoring and regulatory intelligence gathering. This was her first client facing, ‘services’ role and she relished the opportunity to work on projects, with clear deliverables, timescales, budgets and a team to rely on.

During this time, she increased her knowledge base more by branching into other areas including Signal Detection. For example, she was responsible for executing the signal detection strategy for six products for a top 20 global pharma company, using data to derive insights and better understand the safety profile of those products.

Navitas took her in another new direction

After three years at Kinapse, Louise made a move to Navitas Life Sciences, initially as a PV consultant. This time she was working in an advisory capacity, as opposed to a service,

project based one. She advised on process optimisation, problem solving and various aspects of the end-to-end PV landscape. Then she was given another fantastic opportunity.

‘I was thrilled to be offered the chance to lead a thriving safety network called pvconnect. Any mid-sized pharma company could join the network which offered peer networking, events, best practice sharing, benchmarking and more. I jumped at the chance.’

Louise loved getting more involved in industry conversation and she also became the PV Thought Lead, leading scientific community groups and working groups, collaborating to troubleshoot problems and to come up with solutions to challenges around international regulatory requirements.

‘It was very complex, hosting meetings, running forums and facilitating discussions. But doing this meant I learned all the key industry challenges and felt like I’d really been given a seat at the table.’

During the three years Louise headed up pvconnect, it grew from 26 to over 40 members of industry. She thrived on the collaborative approach of the network, as the pharma companies’ safety departments were not in competition, everybody had the same objective - safer drugs and protected patients.

Believing in Insife and its game-changing technology

The development of technology within drug safety had grown dramatically and Louise had been watching Martin and the growth of Insife and HALOPV since he started the company in 2017. Louise and Martin had been colleagues at Navitas, and she was very impressed with what he was building.

‘I believed that the Insife technology was going to be game-changing and also that technology was a kind of gap in my PV skill set, so I really wanted to be involved so I could learn and develop that expertise and be with the company as it grew.’

Louise joined the company as a consultant in December 2022 and immediately immersed herself as project lead on Insife’s important project with the MHRA. She is so excited that both regulators and pharma companies are embracing better technology solutions for safety and feels that this project will really transform the way the UK government measures safety in medicines. She’s thriving under the pressure of the project and is still very driven by it.

‘We’ll be at the centre of how the UK ascertains what medicines will be safe for the country, and that’s hugely important work.’

The future

Louise isn’t sure what her next role at Insife will be, possibly another implementation project, or perhaps an opportunity to leverage her experience in regulatory intelligence and business development. The key though is her belief in what the company is doing.

‘I believe so much in Insife and the HALOPV and PROHALO solutions, that I’m just thrilled to be part of the team and to see how we can become the pharmacovigilance game-changers and transform the industry.’


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