Since we have been receiving a lot of messages asking why the MSL-BC® is proctored remotely, we thought we’d address it in a blog post to share with you the reasoning behind this unconventional, but necessary decision.
If you have been following the MSL Society for a while now, you should know that our mission is to be the global resource for all MSL professionals.
As you can see in the screenshot above, we have website visitors from 115 different countries across the globe in the past 30 days! This includes countries like Palestine, Yemen and Kenya.
Traditionally certification exams are taken at Computer-Based Testing Centers. However, the MSL Society has members around the world and in many of countries, there are very few Computer-Based Testing Centers, or in some countries none at all. Because we wanted the MSL-BC® available to all MSLs globally and the fact that in many countries there are no Computer Based Testing Centers, it was decided that the MSL-BC® should be administered virtually and proctored live.
Testing Regulations and Procedures for the MSL-BC® Exam
As a result, the MSL-BC® exam is not available globally their are several important procedures to be aware of. Below, you’ll find a list of all these regulations and procedures (these are taken directly from the MSL-BC® Candidate Handbook):
All candidates must have a valid, government-issued photo ID to be admitted to the exam;
Candidates are admitted only to their assigned exam;
Candidates arriving more than 15 minutes after the scheduled exam time will not be admitted;
No guests are permitted in the room or immediate surrounding area during the examination process;
No reference material, books, papers, or personal items (purses, briefcases, coats, etc.) are allowed in the examination room or displayed on the walls;
The exam is only administered in English. No translation materials will be permitted during the exam;
No electronic devices are permitted in the examination room, including telephones, signaling devices such as pagers and alarms, personal digital assistants (PDAs) and other handheld computers;
Food and beverages are not permitted unless for documented medical purposes. Tobacco products and gum may not be used during the examination;
No test materials, documents, notes, images, photos or memoranda of any kind are to be taken from the examination;
Candidates may not communicate with other parties during the examination;
Proctors are authorized to maintain secure and proper test administration procedures, including cancelling examinations if testing protocols are violated by the candidate;
Breaks are not scheduled during the exam. Candidates are permitted breaks on an individual basis, but no additional time is given to candidates who take breaks;
Candidates who must leave the examination room will have their examinations scores cancelled making them ineligible to take the examination. If a candidate leaves the room during the exam, they will be denied re-admittance to the examination, forfeit all fees, and will not have their exam scored.
In order for the MSL Society and the MSL-BC® to be easily accessible and relevant across the globe, a virtual exam with live remote proctoring was the only logical route.
The MSL-BC® demonstrates the knowledge and skill set that is essential for every MSL in any therapeutic area, country or company type!
Curious about who FerGene is and if it is a good fit for your next MSL Career? Check out this interview with Brad Hartman from FerGene to learn more about the company culture and what they are looking for in candidates.
Tell us more about FerGene. How big is the MSL team and why do you need an MSL team?
FerGene is a brand-new company that was formed late last year in the end of November, between the partnership between Ferring Pharmaceuticals, who had this really cutting-edge gene therapy asset in non-muscle invasive bladder cancer, and Blackstone, which is one of the largest private equity firms in the world. The two of them combined have committed over $570 million of initial capital into the company.
Just after the company was formed in the beginning part of December, we announced some truly remarkable top-line results in our phase III trial that showed some really impressive complete response rates for patients with high-grade, non-muscle invasive bladder cancer. To give everybody context, there hasn’t been a major treatment advance in non-muscle invasive bladder cancer over the last 20 years. So to have such remarkable Phase III trial results from this gene therapy is really exciting. We have submitted our BLA to the FDA and it’s under consideration right now with a PDUFA date in May of this year.
As we’re going through that process with the FDA, we’re concurrently building out the entire FerGene organization including medical affairs. We’re blessed to have a couple of field medical team members on board already, but we’re looking to build out a team of 10 total medical science liaisons, so we have seven current openings on the team.
We’re really looking for individuals that have incredible scientific acumen who can be the face of this tremendously innovative science to the medical community and a really great partner to them in introducing the nadofaragene investigational therapy to them. We also want people who can also be able to walk them through not only the mechanism of action, but be able to introduce the company to them. Then more importantly, longer term, we want to be able to work with those investigators to understand what great ideas and research they’re thinking about and where our MSL team will really be a conduit for bringing those ideas back into the company.
What is an ideal candidate for you? What are some of the other characteristics that you’re looking for in applicants?
This is true for almost any MSL position, but, a high degree of scientific acumen and a very strong focus to their communication skill set. So, somebody that not only is very sharp in terms of their understanding their knowledge and their continuous learning around science, but somebody that can also take that very complex and detailed scientific information figure out how they’re funneling it in a very focused way, as they’re working with customers or with clinicians. Then third skill set, obviously, is relationship building. This has to be an individual that can very quickly build relationships with physicians out there, to be able to get their time to be able to engage with them and to be able to continue to have ongoing and meaningful scientific dialogue with them. Then be a great conduit for those research ideas and customer interactions back into the into the company.
The other thing that I think is really important for people who are coming in here is to realize this is a ground floor opportunity, this is a chance for somebody to really be a part of helping to build a field medical affairs function. There’s a lot of opportunity for people to come in and take their experience and ideas of, “Hey, this is how it worked in my last company, but I always thought it could work better.” They get a chance to come in here and to bring those ideas and creativity as we see the department and see the ways that we do things take shape. That being said, it’s also important that candidates realize while that great startup opportunity exists, it also means we’re building the ship as we sail it.
We’re not a mature operating company in terms of how we exist today, so candidates have to be comfortable dealing with a degree of ambiguity in terms of our infrastructure and our operations. They get a chance to be a part of that, which is really exciting. But it also means that unlike the larger company where an issue comes up and you blow your trumpet, and calvary come rolling over the hills to help because they just have a lot of infrastructure and support, you blow your trumpet here and you’re the Calvary. You have to be able to be a self-starter, you have to be able to sort of see business needs and reach out and sometimes seize them and sort of move things forward. And then also, again, be comfortable knowing that some of that infrastructure it’s just going to take a little time to get in place since we’re trying to build everything so quickly.
Are there other characteristics or skills that are going to be most important for successful applicants? Anything else that you want to highlight?
Since FerGene is a new enterprise and we’re moving so fast, we really need people that are phenomenal in terms of their teamwork, both within the medical affairs field, medical affairs team, how they’re triaging issues or opportunities within the team/company and reaching out to colleagues around ideas or ways that they can be supportive or helpful.
So, again, people who are nimble, who are agile, who have an entrepreneurial spirit, who are really passionate about building a company from the ground up.
Last but not least, and I say this to everybody I meet when I’m talking about the culture we’re trying to create here at FerGene is, when I think about what do I want the company to be known for when people leave here as a graduate of FerGene at some point, I’d love people to spend their entire careers here at the company. But you know, 15 years from now, 10 years from now, five years from now, somebody steps into a great opportunity with a different firm, what do I want them to feel like FerGene is known for.
One is that we did a phenomenal job of bringing this cutting-edge gene therapy to patients and really making a huge impact in patients’ lives in the non-muscle invasive bladder cancer community. The second thing that I want clinicians, patients, whomever to know, is that this is a company of exceptional character. We want fantastic human beings. And frankly, not to say that we are going to sacrifice on excellence in performance or capability, but I’d much rather take a person who’s exceptional in character and maybe the silver medalist or bronze medalist on the performance side in terms of how their degree of where they fall in their particular field of capability. We are going to really ensure that we express our humanity and how we really ingrain the patient at the center of what we do in a meaningful way. Not just make it a check the box exercise where we’re doing it to be good “corporate doobies”. But because we really truly, and very deeply care.
We are excited to announce the launch of the first-ever professional board certification for the Medical Science Liaison profession.
The Medical Science Liaison Society (MSL Society) is the only 501(c)(3) non-profit organization exclusively dedicated to advancing the global medical science liaison (MSL) profession
The Medical Science Liaison-Board Certification (MSL-BC®) program, which has been in development for over 4 years, is an effort to set industry-recognized standards for the MSL profession. To that end, the MSL Society hired one of the certification industry’s testing leaders to help launch the program based on international certification standards.
Numerous global MSL leaders were involved in the development of the new MSL-BC® certification.
The MSL-BC® will elevate the MSL profession through higher standards of professionalism, competence, and industry recognition.
Dr. Dyer’s Explanation of The Difference Between a Certificate and Certification
Dr. Samuel Dyer, CEO of the MSL Society stated, “The MSL Society has launched the first-ever professional board certification for the Medical Science Liaison profession. The Medical Science Liaison-Board Certification (MSL-BC®) program is an important milestone for the MSL profession.
However, a certification is often confused with a certificate, which is often promoted as certification. However, there are key differences between them.
The primary purpose of a certificate program is to simply provide training. In contrast, the primary purpose of the MSL-BC® certification will be to assess and evaluate one’s acquired knowledge, skills, and competencies related to the Medical Science Liaison role.
Another key difference is that unlike a certificate program, after one passes the MSL-BC® certification, they will be awarded a professional designation that will be recognized and used to highlight their certified status. Furthermore, unlike a certificate program, which is typically a one-time training event, the MSL-BC® certification will have routine requirements over time which must be met to maintain the credential.
The MSL-BC® elevates the MSL profession through higher standards of professionalism, competence, and industry recognition.”
We built a dedicated page on our website for the MSL-BC® where you can find more information about the eligibility criteria, the people involved with creating this certification and other crucial details.
Let us know if you would like us to dive deeper into a topic related to the MSL-BC® or if you think we should add something to that specific page.
Our board is integral to the development and progression of the society’s long-term goals.
The advisory board advises the organization on future strategy, direction, resources, and serves as advocates with the ultimate goal for the MSL Society to become the primary global resource for MSL professionals.
Their broad knowledge and extensive experience with the MSL profession will have a positive impact on the broader MSL community including helping MSLs and MSL leaders with their professional growth and development.
We are so proud to be part of such an awesome group of professionals! And we look forward to a productive year with these MSL leaders.
The MSL Society is a 501(c)(3) Non-Profit Organization exclusively dedicated to advancing the global MSL profession. The MSL Society provides numerous resources for those interested in the MSL career, as well as, professional growth and development opportunities for current MSL Managers and individual MSLs.