We are so happy to welcome Paul Larochelle, PharmD, MBA, RPh to the MCPHS fellowship team! Dr. Larochelle is the Associate Director, Clinical Planning for Takeda’s Global Clinical Supply Chain team and he is also the director of the new Global Clinical Supply Chain program with MCPHS/Takeda. Dr. Larochelle was gracious enough to let us interview him about his time as an MCPHS fellow, his career since fellowship, and our newest program at Takeda! Read on to learn more.
Can you tell us a bit about yourself?
My name is Paul Larochelle. I was born in Providence, RI and have lived in New England my whole life. I love to spend time with my wife, Lauren, my 9 year-old son, Ethan, my 6 year-old daughter, Emily, and our family cat, Midge. My daily routine when not working includes helping with homework, bringing the kids to their thrice weekly karate classes, and occasionally picking them up from the school bus dressed up in an inflatable costume. As a family, we love to explore new places, watch movies, play games together, and try new foods (my kids LOVE sushi and seafood the most). As a hobby, I have been working to improve my homebrewing skills by setting up my own home brewery, and I still play the drums when time allows. And of course, I’m a huge fan of our New England Sports Teams, and live just about 15 minutes from Gillette Stadium in Mansfield, Massachusetts. Outside of my daily responsibilities, I’ve been honored to serve as President of the MCPHS Alumni Association, and the President of the Massachusetts Pharmacists Association. Having the chance to represent my colleagues in the profession was something I never thought I would be able to do, so these are certainly highlights of my professional career.
I’ve always known that I wanted to make a positive impact on the health and lives of others, so when I learned about the roles that pharmacists can play in contributing to health care, I knew it was the right path for me. I first studied Biology as an undergraduate in Providence, RI (my home state), and after graduation enrolled at MCPHS in Boston, MA for the PharmD program. During my time at MCPHS I was involved in a number of activities, including conducting research on campus and tutoring. Creating opportunities for other students to gain experience in research was the fundamental reason I worked with my mentor to propose the MCPHS Summer Undergraduate Research Fellowship (SURF) Program, which provides a number of students with stipends and funding to conduct research at the College to this day.
Can you tell us about your professional journey and how you got to your current position at Takeda?
Following graduation I was honored to be selected as the fifth Fellow in Clinical Research/Investigational Product Management with Genzyme and MCPHS. While a fellow, I worked on a variety of clinical programs and projects, precepted students, co-coordinated a course on Biotechnology, authored pharmacy manuals, trained site pharmacists, and helped to develop some of the metrics and resourcing algorithms that helped us to manage the workload for the Clinical Pharmacy Research Services group. I also co-authored a poster and publication defining industry fellowship programs, and co-wrote a chapter of a medical textbook. It was a really great experience that allowed me to gain exposure to industry, clinical research, and academia.
After my fellowship, I worked at Genzyme/Sanofi for another five years, serving as Fellowship Coordinator during that time and supporting the recruiting process during the significant expansion of the fellowship program at Genzyme/Sanofi. I was also afforded my first opportunity to be a manager, leading the Clinical Supplies packaging and labeling team in Northborough, MA. While in that role, I thought it was incredibly important to ensure that the team took a patient first attitude and remembered the impact that our team made by executing efficiently so that patients could receive the medications they so desperately needed.
In 2014, I had the opportunity to move closer to study management from a clinical supply planning perspective, and made the decision to move to Biogen. I was able to contribute to a number of significant programs at Biogen, including its broad portfolio of products for Multiple Sclerosis, as well as pipeline products for neuropsychiatry. I was also able to serve as Launch Lead for their newest MS product up until my departure from the company. While at Biogen, I was also able to enroll in an MBA program to broaden my skill set and complement my science and pharmacy background. Finally, I was also able to co-lead a student rotational program at Biogen within Clinical Drug Supply.
I joined Takeda in late 2019 as an Associate Director in Global Clinical Supply Chain (GCSC), and have been able to contribute to a number of significant programs in the company’s pipeline, including leading the clinical planning activities for Takeda’s recently approved oral therapy for EXON20 NSCLC, several oncology, neuroscience, gastroenterology, and rare disease programs. I’ve also contributed to a number of initiatives related to improving the management of our file management via SharePoint, development of a mobile app to make information easier for the team to access, contributions to our culture team, stakeholder engagement team, facilitating our department’s strategic planning sessions, and supporting enterprise risk management activities. This role exposes me to many strategic aspects of clinical development and allows me to collaborate with many functions in support of our patients. This was particularly important during the COVID pandemic, where we had to innovate in order to ensure no patient missed a dose.
Can you tell us about Takeda?
Takeda is a global, values-based, research and development (R&D)-driven biopharmaceutical leader, dedicated to bringing Better Health and a Brighter Future to people worldwide by translating science into highly innovative medicines. We are an organization enriched with a 240-year history and an incredible focus on putting the patient first in all that we do. Now a Top 10 Pharmaceutical Company, and the largest pharmaceutical company employer in Massachusetts, Takeda has an exciting pipeline across multiple Therapeutic Areas, including Oncology, Rare Diseases, Neuroscience, Gastroenterology, Vaccines, and Plasma Derived Therapies. Within Global Clinical Supply Chain, we have a truly supportive and motivated team of individuals who work together to help progress the pipeline and find time to collaborate with each other on not only work efforts but also non-work efforts. Takeda also supports volunteering on an annual basis, and I was honored to be a Project Leader this past year for the Takeda Cares program.
Can you tell us about the new Global Clinical Supply Chain fellowship being offered in collaboration with MCPHS?
The goal of the GCSC Fellowship is to provide the fellow with relevant experiences, technical skills, and development opportunities to become an effective expert in the area of Global Clinical Supply Chain / Investigational Product Management. This will be achieved through a combination of rotational experiences within the functions of our group (and where possible, experiences with adjacent functional areas), focused concentration on an area of interest, organizational impacting longitudinal projects, and mentorship from a team of individuals from GCSC. We also expect that the fellow will contribute to student development and scholarly works through our affiliation with MCPHS, as I firmly believe those experiences provide transferrable skills that allow us to convey information and educate team members in our daily activities in industry. Support is quite strong for this program at Takeda, and our team cannot wait to welcome our first fellow in July 2022.
Why did you decide to start a fellowship? What are you most excited about?
I am incredibly excited to bring a fellowship to my department – in fact, knowing that Takeda would be supportive of such an initiative was a significant factor in deciding to join Takeda. Investigational Product Management can be complex and benefits significantly from the training and education of pharmacists. In my career, I’ve precepted over 50 students from a number of schools and it has always been an incredibly rewarding experience to help guide and support students as they seek out their future career path. To be able to offer a fellowship and provide a long duration training program allows me to take this passion for mentorship and developing others to the next level. I have no doubt that I have been able to experience what I have in my career thanks to my fellowship training. To be able to provide this experience to others only serves to improve our profession and improve the industry as well. But most importantly, developing leaders who are passionate about serving patients can truly make our world a bit better.