Engagement of bioethicists in the biopharma sector has typically been in reactive roles—called upon when something goes wrong. Rarely have bioethicists been integrated into operational contexts to contribute proactively to policy formation, help address ethical issues in operational contexts, or support development of strategic direction.
The genomic medicine space – comprising gene editing, genetic/cell therapies, and other emerging areas – is evolving quickly and faces a number of novel and challenging ethical issues. We believe that the bioethics community must better ground itself in the science, and vigorously engage issues across the full cycle of discovery, trials, licensure, clinical translation, long-term follow-up, marketing, pricing, access, equity, etc.
The GE2P2 Global Foundation is piloting one strategy to strengthen that engagement through a new program – Bioethics in Biopharma – under which “bioethics fellows” will be placed in sponsoring biopharma organizations to address specific ethics challenges and publish about the solutions and the experience. We believe this program will provide a new form of training, helping build a cadre of bioethicists who are able to contribute materially in the commercial sector as effectively as they do in academia, government and regulatory space.
This program is designed to:
1] provide an immersive, real-world experience for bioethics scholars in the genomic medicine/gene editing/genetic therapy space;
2] challenge these scholars and engage their support in fashioning strategies and solutions for real-world problems;
3] support development of papers and scholarly communications about the issues encountered and solutions devised;
4] establish a cadre of bioethicists grounded in this sector and establish an emergent community of practice;
5] help address, more broadly, the distrust that many in bioethics – academics in particular – have developed for industry and vice versa.
Call for Applications – Specifics
1. The program pilot will place 2-3 Fellows during 2019 and 2020.
2. Placements will be anchored on a workplan covering a 2-3 month placement and which specifies the challenges to be engaged and the outcomes and work products expected, including at least one per-reviewed publication. The workplan will be agreed among the Foundation, the Fellow, and the sponsoring genomic medicine organization.
3. Placements will be supported by program stewards representing the Foundation and the sponsoring genomic medicine organization.
4. Program Fellows will ideally have earned a earned a graduate degree in bioethics and have a solid period of work experience in the field. A terminal degree (PhD, MD, JD), a documented background in the biosciences, and clinical experience will all be strong differentiators. Documented written and spoken fluency in English is required. The program is open to applicants globally.
5. Applications for the Fellows Program will be accepted and decided on a rolling basis. The first placement cycle will be engaged during February 2019 for placement by April 1. 2019. All applications will reviewed by a selection committee involving the Foundation and the sponsoring organization. The selection committee will selectively request applicants to participate in an interview (in person, by videoconference, or phone.) In the event there are no qualified applicants, no Fellows will be placed for a given cycle.
6. Fellows will become a member of the Foundation’s community of practice and receive all financial support involved through a fiscal relationship with GE2P2 Global. Fellows will sign a program contract which will include the workplan, and NDAs [Non-Disclosure Agreements] with the Foundation and the sponsoring organization.
7. Applicants should forward a letter-of-interest and a current CV to Bioethics.Fellows.Program@ge2p2global.org. Details of the program, including financial support and sample workplan, will be shared with applicants who progress to the second selection round