Vice President of Clinical Studies Operations, Fresenius Medical Care North America and General Manager of Frenova Renal Research
Kurt Mussina ’88 says that Montclair State University prepared him well to start his career as a chemist. Through the co-op program, Kurt was able to apply his skills learned from the classroom to a laboratory setting.
After graduating from Montclair State, Kurt has spent his entire career in the pharmaceutical development industry. From working in a chemistry lab to changing direction and focusing on the business of developing new medicines and medical devices, Kurt has always been able to use his background knowledge as a chemist.
Outside of the lab, he has worked in the Contract Research Organization (CRO) industry, where he spent time focusing on the sales and marketing side of the pharmaceutical development. “The timing of my entry into this space was fortunate since the CRO industry was still relatively undeveloped at the time and there was plenty of growth opportunity for anyone with an entrepreneurial spirit,” says Kurt. “In fact, I managed to evolve my first CRO job into an expat position in Copenhagen, Denmark for a few years in the mid-90s.” During his time in the CRO industry, Kurt had worked for small startups to large multinational organizations.
Kurt has learned that the drug development industry is highly risk-averse, despite being grounded in scientific and medical exploration. “It takes much longer for the drug development world to adopt new ideas, processes and technologies than, for example, banking or airlines; both also highly regulated industries.”
“Today, I work for Fresenius Medical Care North America (FMCNA), the premier health care company focused on delivering the highest quality care to people with renal and other chronic conditions,” he says. “Within FMCNA, I have full profit and loss responsibility for Frenova Renal Research, a novel CRO focused on improving the lives of patients living with chronic kidney disease.”
Kurt has achieved some big milestones in his line of work at Frenova Renal Research. Frenova has formed an alliance of clinical research sites and through this, his company is able to accelerate new clinical research studies by greatly decreasing their typical administrative and contracting burdens. He hopes to build on this alliance in the future and enhance the value it brings to companies striving to develop novel medicines and medical devices.
To bring it back to where it all began, Kurt believes that Montclair State University gave him the opportunity to realize and develop an appreciation for all career opportunities, not just those situated in a laboratory, that await a Chemistry major.