Through her work, Amy Tibbetts '97 melds two of her strengths, business and science. “I’m getting to do something that I love — selling science,” she said. “We’re directly involved with bringing new compounds to market, and it’s very rewarding to know that we play a part in bringing new treatments to patients who need them.”
As a vice president of business development for PPD® Laboratories Bioanalytical Lab, Amy Tibbetts ’97 has created a career for herself in the science field that makes good use of her people skills to bring novel compounds from the lab to the patients who need them.
Tibbetts, who majored in biology, works for a global company, based in Wilmington, N.C., that is one of the largest contract research organizations assisting pharmaceutical companies in getting their drugs to market. PPD sets up clinical trials to make sure pharmaceuticals are safe and effective for patients. For some trials, such as those for drugs that target cancer or rare disease, PPD is charged with finding patients who suffer from these conditions.
Tibbetts and her team work with customers to develop compound specific assays and apply them to clinical trial samples across every stage of drug development. “Right now, with the COVID-19 pandemic, we’re working with customers on clinical trials for potential SARS-COV-2 treatments and vaccines,” said Tibbetts. “Our customers are quickly setting up new trials with compounds that are already approved for other viruses, like flu and Ebola, and testing these compounds on COVID-19 patients to see if they help lessen the length of the disease or alleviate respiratory and cardiac symptoms.”
Tibbetts, who is originally from Westwood, Mass., and now lives in North Andover, has a history working in labs focused on virology. Her first job after graduation was at Boston Children’s Hospital’s pediatric HIV immunology lab in research and development (R&D). She later moved to Atlanta, where she worked for a startup that developed a commercial HIV genotyping kit. Part of her job included demonstrating the equipment and kits to the salespeople responsible for selling it to customers. She realized then that her scientific background, coupled with her gregarious nature, made a great combination for a new career in life science sales.
“I love meeting new people and helping others solve problems, so I thought sales would be a good job for me,” said Tibbetts. And she was right. Selling general lab equipment and reagents for a small life sciences company was her first step in a 20-year sales career that led to her current position as vice president of business development at PPD, where she’s been for the past six years.
Through her work, Tibbetts melds two of her strengths, business and science. “I’m getting to do something that I love — selling science,” she said. “We’re directly involved with bringing new compounds to market, and it’s very rewarding to know that we play a part in bringing new treatments to patients who need them.”
When asked what she liked most about her time at MCLA, Tibbetts mentioned the one-on-one attention from her professors. “The teachers really cared that you had the tools in your toolbox to be successful,” she said. “They made you accountable, they knew when you were in class and when you weren’t, and I appreciated the extra support.”
Tibbetts has made pilgrimages back to North Adams over the years to visit the campus, enjoy the Berkshires and, of course, grab a chili dog from Jack’s Hot Dog Stand. On a recent visit with her husband and two sons (ages 13 and 11) in tow, she said her youngest son proclaimed, “I’m going to go to this school.” Tibbetts said she hopes he does.
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