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  • Writer's pictureThe Rivers School

Ava Palazzolo '23: Albireo Pharma

Ava Palazzolo - Albireo Pharma

This summer, I was given the opportunity to experience the immersive world of biopharmaceuticals from a commercial and marketing perspective. I worked with Mary Ann

Keyser, President of the U.S. Commercial Team, at Albireo Pharma, a biopharmaceutical

company in Boston. I really enjoyed this internship because I gained insight into the commercial side of pharmaceuticals and all the work that goes into marketing drugs for rare diseases. After getting their first drug approved last July for PFIC, a rare liver disease, the commercial team has been working tirelessly to expand Albireo’s reach to even more patients and healthcare professionals.

Albireo’s focus is on rare liver diseases - more specifically Progressive Familial Intrahepatic Cholestasis (PFIC), Alagille Syndrome, and Biliary Atresia. During my internship, I got the opportunity to work with Mary Ann Keyser, Amy Williams, and Anika Chowdhury as I shadowed them throughout my time at Albireo. I attended many meetings with the company where I got to see the work done to market a drug effectively. I additionally got to attend meetings with the commercial team focusing on a hopeful future drug launch.

Though most of my internship was online, I was able to go into the office on Wednesdays

at Albireo’s office on State Street. I attended meetings in-person, researched the rare liver disease market and gathered information about doctors for the commercial team to potentially market their drug to.

One of the biggest parts of the commercial team’s job is communicating with doctors

about the existence of medicines that could help their patients, as some of the diseases are very rare. I got to attend a virtual, national broadcast with doctors throughout the U.S. looking to learn more about PFIC and possible treatment options for their patients. This broadcast was really informative as I was able to learn more about the disease on a biological level.

Another one of my jobs was to send out internal communications within Albireo about a patient webinar, where a doctor and a patient with PFIC shared their experiences. I found this webinar to be really impactful as I got to hear from a PFIC patient.

Ms. Keyser also gave me the opportunity to chat with various influential people within

the company, such as the Director of Global Patient Advocacy, the Chief Compliance Officer, the Sr. Director of Patient Support, and the Clinical Development Medical Director. These meetings were great opportunities to hear about possible career paths for my future.

I want to thank Mary Ann Keyser, Amy Williams, and Anika Chowdhury for guiding me

throughout my time at Albireo and letting me shadow them and the work they do. I also want to thank Mr. Schlenker for making this internship possible. I am very grateful for this opportunity and being given the chance to explore a future career path.

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