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Career Perspectives: A Conversation with KumKuen Yuen

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Can you give us some background about your career and how you became associated with Cytel?

After completing a degree in electrical engineering, I spent 13 years working in the semiconductor industry before making a transition to the pharmaceutical industry to pursue a career in clinical data management. I worked in various pharmaceutical companies for 20 years until 2020, when Cytel presented itself as an opportunity, and I joined the company at the end of that year.

What is your role at Cytel and what do you like best about it?

I am a Principal Data Manager in Cytel. Currently, I am working as a lead data manager for a project. In this role, I work with clients and their vendors and collaborate with my colleagues from other functions. I am also involved in eCRF design and user acceptance testing. It is satisfying to deliver results that meet or exceed clients' expectations in a timely manner.

It must be exciting to be an integral part of Cytel’s expansion to the APAC region. How do you think clinical development in Asia is different from the US and Europe? What does Cytel have to offer given these differences?

It is exciting to see Cytel grow and strengthen its presence in the APAC region. To raise our visibility, our commercial team for APAC is actively promoting our capabilities, highlighting our exceptional data management capabilities, and leveraging our better-known statistical solutions including software. New drug development in Asia is looking to bounce back fast post-COVID, and we look forward to supporting this with our global expertise.

Moreover, the staff at Cytel Singapore have a lot of working experience in global and regional studies and have worked well with partners in the region. This not only enables us to better understand the unique challenges faced by clients in this area, but also facilitates closer collaboration due to our shared time zone.

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What combination of knowledge, skills, and technical competencies are required to work at Cytel Data Management?

Having programming skills and the ability to quickly learn and apply new software systems is essential, especially for those working in the clinical data management domain where clients require experience working with various software systems. It is important to have an eye for detail in picking up requirements from documentation and the sponsors’ needs, as well as a good understanding of clinical studies. Project management skills are necessary to work closely with clients and data vendors to ensure timely delivery. And I think effective communication skills are also a key requirement for success in this role.

What is a data manager’s role in ensuring clean, high-quality, and user-friendly data?

Firstly, the data manager needs to ensure that the eCRF design covers all aspects required by the client's protocol. A well-designed data validation plan should also be put in place to check for any inconsistencies in the data. Additionally, the data manager must closely monitor query activities to ensure timely resolution of queries. Close collaboration with the client’s clinical operations and other functional teams is vital for the success of the study.

What in your opinion are the benefits of early collaboration with biostatisticians and statistical programmers? Can you share an example/project to showcase how this helps our clients?

Early collaboration with biostatisticians and statistical programmers is crucial to ensure that the study designed eCRF will capture all the necessary endpoint data. This ensures the study objective is fulfilled. In addition, it ensures the appropriate data are cleaned for analysis, facilitating timely completion of the study output.

In a recent project, close collaboration at the start of the study helped us meet client timelines. For instance, when the client changed the analysis methodology and required a new type of data transfer from its vendors, the study team (data manager, programmers, and biostatisticians) were able to perform the successful transfer of the new data and completion of analysis within a short period of time.

What inspires you most about working within this field?

My primary motivations in my field are the satisfaction of successfully completing projects and close collaboration with my colleagues and clients. And of course, being involved in the process of finding a treatment to cure or alleviate the pain of fellow human beings is a big driving force for me. Knowing that the work I do can potentially improve human health truly inspires me.

What are your main interests outside of work?

I enjoy reading and playing games with my children.


Thank you for taking the time to talk to us and sharing your journey.

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