Biopharmaceutical Section of the American Statistical Association

Biopharmaceutical Section News

  • Student Paper Competition

    Submissions are now being accepted for the 2024 Biopharmaceutical Student Paper Awards. These awards are presented annually during the Biopharmaceutical Section open business meeting to be held at the 2024 Joint Statistical Meetings in Portland, Oregon. Winners will present their paper in one of the contributed paper sessions at JSM and are encouraged to attend the section’s business meeting to receive their awards in person. The awards will be $2000 for 1st place, $1500 for 2nd place, and $1000 for 3rd place. Honorable mention awards ($500) may also be given at the discretion of the Student Paper committee. Student research papers with statistical content applicable to the biopharmaceutical arena are eligible for consideration. Submissions are judged for clarity, contribution to statistics, and biopharmaceutical applicability. Suitable topics include methodologies in preclinical and clinical trials, epidemiology studies of medical products safety, genetic studies predicting clinical intervention response, laboratory and toxicological data analyses, data science and analytics, methods for high-dimensional data from high-throughput screening, and nonlinear pharmacokinetic modeling. Both a complete paper and a “blinded” paper should be submitted electronically in pdf format by December 1, 2023. The submission email should contain the name, school, and contact information of the student. In the blinded version, the student’s name and affiliation/school should not appear and names for references should not be included in the text (numbers for references should be mentioned in text; names should appear on reference page only). References that would unblind a reviewer to the student’s name or the student’s advisor/collaborator should be removed and replaced with “reference removed.” The length of the student paper should not exceed 20 pages of double-spaced text with no more than five additional pages of appendices (25 pages maximum). Because of the volume of submissions received, the length limitation will be strictly enforced. Consider a manuscript style for the paper to facilitate publication in the proceedings for JSM or another appropriate journal. Papers must be submitted no later than one year after graduation and reflect research completed while a student. The papers should not have appeared in a journal at submission. Submissions should be labeled “Biopharmaceutical Section Student Paper Submission” and sent to  Bo Huang, Biopharmaceutical Section JSM 2024 program chair. In addition to submitting a paper for judging, winners also must submit an abstract of the work as a contributed paper for JSM. All participants will be notified prior to the abstract submission deadline as to whether they have won or not. Requirements for contributed paper submission must be followed in addition to those for the student paper submission.

What's New

Upcoming Webinar

Don’t go it alone: Benefits of joining our community of statisticians in small biotechnology companies:
The distance learning committee is excited to announce the upcoming event:

Date and Time: December 1 2023 11.00am – 12.00 pm Eastern Time

Don’t go it alone: Benefits of joining our community of statisticians in small biotechnology companies


Liang Fang, Nuvation Bio
Mohamed Hamdani, Larimar Therapeutics
Alan Hartford, Clene Nanomedicine
Sharon C. Murray, BioCryst

Moderator: Alan Y. Chiang, Lyell Immunopharma

Registration link:


With the rapid growth of biotechnology in the last half century, new drug discovery and development have now reached an inflection point where hundreds of emerging small biotech are evolving into the clinical development stage. These companies employ a growing number of statisticians.  While the majority of statisticians in the pharmaceutical industry are employed by big pharma, we are seeing an increasing number taking the leap into the small biotech world.  The purpose of this panel-discussion is to connect statisticians who either work for or want to work for a small biotech company so that they can share strategies, experiences, and ideas.

There are several challenges and opportunities when working in a small biotech. For example, there may be only one or a few statisticians/programmers working at the company, which means that there is heavy reliance on CROs for statistics and programming work. Consultants may be required for advice or to review documents. On the other hand, the statistician will have many opportunities for growth while making an impact on advancing human health through innovation. They will need to wear many hats, perhaps working on multiple phases of clinical trials, preparing for audits, answering analyst questions related to statistics, developing departmental SOP’s, participating in regulatory discussions and/or advisory committee meetings, and overseeing outsourcing. Resources are limited and forming a strategy is key. Part of that strategy involves determining the level of CRO oversight, selecting preferred vendors, deciding what work to do in-house vs. outsourcing, acquiring statistical software, and liaising with other departments as the company grows. The strategy will need to be revisited on a regular basis as the company evolves.

The panel discussion will focus on four key questions:

- Considering the many ways in which the field of statistics contributes value in drug development, what are the unique career opportunities in a small biotech?

- What are the main challenges one needs to overcome in interdisciplinary collaboration?

- How has the application of statistics played a key role in innovation, decision making, and clinical advances in a small biotech company?

- How could members benefit from being part of the ASA community for statisticians working in small biotech companies?


Biopharmaceutical Report Summer 2023


Episode 106: Rebbecca Wilson

Date: June 02, 2023

Description: Amy welcomes Rebbecca to the co-hosting chair while Christina enjoys some time off with her new baby (congrats)! The two discuss Rebbecca’s fascinating career thus far and how communication styles differ across male and female leaders. Reference:

Upcoming Webinar

Putting Pharmacovigilance into Action:
The ASA Biopharmaceutical Section is pleased to announce the following webinar, presented by Dr. Frank W. Rockhold and Dr. Tjark Reblin on September 16, 2021. The Distance Learning Team is hosting a new webinar series on Partnerships between Statisticians and Clinical Professionals in the Biopharm Industry.  Each quarter we will have a clinical and statistical scientist pair to provide pragmatic and motivating examples of cross-disciplinary scientific engagement in biopharmaceutical research. If you have any question about this event, please contact Michelle Zhang (

3rd Quarter (10:00 – 11:30 am Eastern Time, September 16, 2021)

Speakers: Dr. Frank W. Rockhold1 and Dr. Tjark Reblin2

1 Professor of Biostatistics and Bioinformatics, Duke Clinical Research Institute, Duke University Medical Center

2 Global Head of Drug Safety and Risk Management, ViforPharma, Gattbrugg, Switzerland

Moderator: Dr. Greg Ball

Registration Link: BIOP webinar series: Putting Pharmacovigilance into Action Tickets, Thu, Sep 16, 2021 at 10:00 AM | Eventbrite


Every pharmaceutical company collects, analyzes, and reports safety data collected in trials and in the general use on their products to fulfill regulations and detect new signals to keep their product labels up to date.  While those actions have an indirect benefit for the patient, to truly help them and their healthcare practitioners it is necessary to go beyond the raw data and translate the information into the benefit to risk context, informing risk management plans and specific mitigation actions that are derived from data.   The goal of pharmacovigilance should be to minimize pain and suffering in patients who strive to benefit from the medicine prescribed by their physician.  By properly characterizing benefits and risks of medicines in appropriate populations and semi-quantitatively or quantitatively estimating whether and to which extent the benefits outweigh the risks one can create tangible context for regulators, prescribers, and patients. This informs specific action plans for the health care provider to optimize the use of the treatment ensuring the right medicine gets to right patient.  We will present our experience on some specific examples derived directly from our joint experience in safety and pharmacovigilance.

A message for 2021 ASA Fellow Candidates
This message is intended for BIOP members who plan to submit their ASA Fellows dossiers in 2021.  Effective October 1, 2020,  as approved by the Biopharmaceutical Section Executive Committee, an anonymous BIOP section working panel of dossier reviewers has been formed. The reviewers serving on the panel are experienced statisticians including former and present members of the ASA Committee on Fellows. Nominators from BIOP are encouraged to send completed dossiers for review to a current chair of the BIOP Fellows Committee (Ilya Lipkovich, All dossiers will be treated in strictest confidence.  Nominators may anonymize the dossier before sending.  The reviewing committee chair will send it to one of the available reviewers and provide feedback regarding potential gaps and improvements within approximately two weeks. Please submit for review well in advance of the ASA submission deadline, in order to receive feedback in time to make adjustments to the dossier.  The committee will not share any personalized information about the reviewed dossiers with the BIOP Section Executive Committee, or any other committee beyond the reviewers.

You can see more details at BIOP page

We encourage you to take advantage of this service offered to the members of BIOP, and give our members the best opportunity to achieve the honor of ASA Fellow.

Pharmaceutical Statisticians

The need for qualified statisticians is growing, especially in the biopharmaceutical industry. There are opportunities in academia, consulting firms, the government or in major pharmaceutical companies. Learn more about biopharmaceutical careers by checking out the career profiles!


You will hear from real professionals about their job responsibilities, education and training, and overall why they chose a career in biopharmaceutical statistics. Click on each of the names below to view their career profiles.

Cindy                         Dionne                     Steve

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