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Mary Mattes: The New Face Behind Synteract Biometrics & Drug Safety

Mary Mattes: The New Face Behind Synteract Biometrics & Drug Safety
11 April 2018

Recently Synteract announced Mary Mattes as its Senior Vice President for Biometrics and Drug Safety. With 20 years of experience in clinical trial biometrics, management, technology, and managing global teams at leading international CROs, Mary will define, develop, and ensure quality delivery of data management, biostatistics, medical writing, and safety services globally across Phase I-IV trials at Synteract. We sat down with her recently to gain insights into how she views her new role, initiatives that are on her list, and what gets her inspired.

What attracted you to Synteract?

I have worked with a lot of different sized CROs. Where we are now, at Synteract, is really the sweet spot when it comes to growth and development. We have the market power and nimbleness to implement innovative solutions. Unlike big CROs that are entrenched and departmentally silo-ed, we are collaborative and can leapfrog in industry innovation. With our synergy in customer-focus, the use of technology, and accurate data management to deliver high quality clinical trials, Synteract offers an efficient and harmonious team that delivers insights to the sponsor and project teams to effectively run clinical trials that help clients make clear decisions.

What do you like most about your new role?

What I am most attracted to is working with teams in biostatistics and safety that are focused seriously on the data. In this industry, we all touch the data at different points, but what we are here to do is to create high quality data. I like being dedicated to the detail-oriented aspects and getting to be close to what is happening in studies to, ultimately, help patients.

Where do you see an opportunity for Synteract to capitalize on its strengths in the market?

I see opportunities in being perfectly positioned to support innovative companies. Our size and experience, blended with a growing global team, technology infrastructure, and data-centered offerings, allow us to achieve a synergy among team members. This interaction in Biometrics and Drug Safety builds on the technology and data at the core of clinical trial delivery. 

Another opportunity, and one of the things that impressed me in joining Synteract, is how much regulatory submission experience we have as an organization. This final push in getting the drug approved is a complicated task. It’s an intense time for a drug developer’s program and one of my favorite areas to work in. At Synteract, we have done over a dozen full submissions, which is significant in this industry, and provided partial services (integrated analysis and regulatory supporting activities) for over 100 additional projects. We have the knowledge and resources to deliver in the crunch time. It’s something we have an opportunity to capitalize on.

When/how did you first decide to go into the CRO business?

When I was getting my degree, I started off doing basic research and was  planning to work in genetics and molecular biology. I loved the idea of planning experiments and proving or disproving them. However, as I started to get exposed to it, I discovered it was not as dynamic an environment for personal interaction as I wanted. People – brilliant people – tended to be working in their bubbles on research. It hit me one day when walking in a research stairwell, and as I was passing another scientist, I said good morning, and he put his head down, obviously lost in thought and not wanting to diminish his focus. That’s when I said to myself, I can’t do this every day. Although not true for everyone, it’s the “people” part that turns me on. I thought there has to be a different career for me that still allows me to follow my love of science and teaching, but that includes more interaction. So, I went looking for the business part of science. And that’s how I fell into the world of CROs.

I think it was good luck; it’s exactly the career I wanted: to be the bridge between the scientists and boardroom or the sponsors (who have the daunting task to put the trial in process) and aren’t sure how to achieve the end goal. My job is to be that connector who closes the gap in knowledge and experience to help them figure it out. I like that feeling of “I know how to do this…I can help you.”

What was your first job?

I got lucky in landing a job as a sidekick to a chief scientific officer at a small pharmaceutical company that worked on anti-microbial resistance for drug resistant infections. He needed someone to do his bidding, researching things in publications. That evolved into me starting to write for him, and then almost got to be like getting my graduate degree, with writing, publishing, data collection, analysis. As it turns out, it is exactly what I now oversee. It was a foreshadowing for where I was going to go in my career.

It seems like this role is a natural for you. If you were not doing this, what would you be doing?

My second favorite job would be to run a Christmas shop. It would be a quaint holiday shop.

Any other hidden talents or things about you that people might be surprised to know?

I put on great parties! Christmas parties are my favorite.  

Speaking of which, the weekend is coming up, will you be putting on any parties? Or if not, do you have other plans?

No, no parties this weekend. A walk at the Springs and a cup of coffee on a sunny restaurant patio, that’s my kind of day.

Now that you are at Synteract, what’s one initiative that’s on the top of your list?

I am looking forward to further unifying the teams in biometrics and safety, bringing them together into an even more standardized and efficient environment. 

I am also a proponent of further developing our global virtual identity.

Today, no one sits together anymore, and you really don’t need to, to compete. You need to have people dispersed throughout the world. Regardless of where you sit, what you do, you are a part of Synteract and our unifying virtual culture.

Thank you for your time Mary and welcome aboard!

Happy to be here and looking forward to meeting more of the clients very soon!

For more on Synteract’s biostatics offerings,visit.

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