• The Rivers School

Katelyn Dorsey - Albireo Pharma

This summer, I was introduced to the fast-paced and innovative world of biopharmaceuticals. I worked with Janice Conlon, the Commercial Operations Specialist at Albireo Pharma, a biopharmaceutical company based in Boston. The Biotech industry is a cross section of business and science, both of which I am extremely interested in studying and exploring in the future. This internship was eye opening for me, as I was able to experience the dedication and behind the scenes work that goes into getting a drug approved for a patient with an unmet need.

Albireo has three main groups - research, drug development, and commercial. I was part of the commercial team, which focuses on marketing, market access, and sales. This small startup company with about 130 employees worked tirelessly with the goal of getting their first drug approved to help patients with a rare liver disease called PFIC.

The company’s product Odevixibat, now Bylvay, was launched while I was an intern at the company. The company has other products in it’s pipeline.

Albireo focused mainly on three rare liver diseases during the development of Bylvay - PFIC, Alagille Syndrome, and Biliary Atresia. The primary target disease for treatment was Progressive Familial Intrahepatic Cholestasis (PFIC). Patients with this rare disease experience liver fibrosis, cirrhosis, and liver failure.

I experienced first-hand the process of getting a drug ready for approval by the FDA. On July 20, 2021, the FDA approved Albireo’s drug Bylvay!

During my internship, I worked with Janice Conlon and Pamela Stephenson as well as various employees in the commercial group. I attended company wide meetings and performed research on the diseases and the research done to further the development of the drug.

I created a company wide commercial newsletter sharing the commercial team’s progress and success. Interviewing multiple employees as part of the research for the newsletter truly expanded my knowledge base about this area of medicine. I gained valuable insight into this industry that offers so many opportunities especially for someone interested in the science field. I was able to learn both how these medicines are made and the process of getting them approved by the FDA, and along with this, about the clinical trials and research necessary for this to happen. A huge thank you to both Pamela and Janice for this opportunity and guiding me through this process! I learned so much about Albireo and the Biotech industry as a whole and can’t wait to see what the coming summers and future hold!