Global Product Leader- Omnipaque
Sigrid Fossheim is Global Product Leader for Omnipaque, one of GE Healthcare’s most widely used contrast agents for X-ray/CT imaging. She draws on both her scientific background and business skills to provide multifunctional, cross-functional leadership and strategic direction for Omnipaque in a highly competitive global environment. She is responsible for all life cycle management efforts like product innovation and label expansion.
It took some time for Sigrid to discover her career direction, and she is continuously forging new avenues in her career path. “When I finished secondary school I was totally unsure about which studies to pursue! One day I was considering medicine, the next economics, and another day chemistry. Finally, I opted for Pharmacy, a fine balance between medicine and chemistry. Then during my last year of study, I was fortunate to do my master’s thesis at GE Healthcare (formerly Nycomed Imaging) on MRI contrast agents. I was so fascinated by the field of MRI that I continued with a PhD.”
Developing leadership skills
After completing her PhD, Sigrid was hired by GE Healthcare (formerly Amersham Health) as a research scientist, and then moved to project management. She left to take on managerial positions with several oncology start-ups, and earned an Executive MBA in Strategic Management. She rejoined GE Healthcare in 2016 in her present role. “I love working cross-functionally in the interface between MRI or CT, biology and product development. Now, it is even more exciting since my job covers new aspects like business strategy, commercial and marketing. I am learning new things every day!”
For young people considering or beginning a career in life sciences, Sigrid offers this encouragement: “Go for it! Be curious, be passionate, be cross-functional and work hard! Show perseverance, because setbacks often occur within the life science field. In other words, never give up.”
On current industry challenges
With rapid patient and procedural growth, customers (i.e. radiologists and/or technologists) are often challenged with high workload, and too little time to interpret images for each patient they are responsible for. Sigrid believes that the Life Sciences industry can help solve that time work overload/time shortage with packaging innovation, digital solutions and other initiatives improving patient throughput, simplifying workflow and enabling faster image data interpretation.
Sigrid says the digital space needs to be more customer-centric, and it’s the industry’s job to make it tangible, bringing it down from its current ‘hype’ and explaining what ‘digital’ can do for customers, patients and precision health. She says tools like RFID or another digital information carrier on contrast bottles for data entry may minimize administration errors, improve patient throughput, and render automatic replenishment services possible, whilst digital apps may drive precision dosing of contrast media based on patient profile and other features. Another not-so-distant benefit will be combining digital processing and newer equipment to create new applications for X-ray/CT contrast media like contrast enhanced spectral mammography.
“The interplay between digital and precision medicine is going to be remarkable with time. Already, the combination of data analytics and systems biology has enabled the recent success of immuno-oncology, and more is to come!”