West Chester University taps into local pharma business knowledge

The Philadelphia suburbs have numerous pharmaceutical businesses, big and small, and West Chester University is trying to tap into that knowledge for its academic programs - and jobs for students.

The school's 12-year-old pharmaceutical product development program will feature Exton-based ViroPharma, Inc., for an entire semester of seminars, starting Aug. 28.

The weekly series is called “Navigating Rare Disease: From Patient Needs to Solutions,” and is scheduled to have lectures by various ViroPharma staff members, including chief executive officer Vincent Milano. A scientist and a patient are also part of the lineup.

The PPD program accepts about a dozen students per year, some of whom are surely happy to know that the program involves paid internships, which can be rare in this economy. The school says graduates typically accept positions within the pharmaceutical and biotech industries within a month of graduating, or go to grad school or med school.

“This is graduate-level material being presented to our undergraduate students directly from ViroPharma company representatives," West Chester's Dr. Stephen J. Zimniski, director of the PPD program, said in a statement. "It represents the kind of deep involvement our students experience with our pharmaceutical and biotech partners in this unique program, as students are truly at the forefront of current medical developments.”

A link to the program on the school's website is here.