Dr Quoc Dat Vu - Viet Nam

Mentoring organization: Sanofi Pasteur

Dr Dat is the programme’s first trainee from Southeast Asia. A staff doctor at the National Hospital for Tropical Diseases in Hanoi, Dat, 27, had never before been outside the country. But just a week after arriving in Lyon, France, he was already at work on the planning and implementation of phase II and III trials of the company’s candidate dengue vaccine, currently the world’s most advanced dengue vaccine.

I’ve been very lucky to work with not only a good mentor but also a good friend, someone who genuinely cares about my career.

Dr Quoc Dat Vu

For Dat, the opportunity to be involved in research relevant to his home institution made the CDF, he says, an invaluable experience. “I am a physician in a developing country with a very high burden of dengue,” he says. “So what is the best way to help us? It should be, I think, a vaccine.” Moreover, he adds, by training in a place as rich in expertise as Sanofi Pasteur, “I learned a lot not only about the design and conduct of a clinical trial but also about the other endemic diseases.”

After spending the first six months of the programme with the clinical development team at the R&D center in Lyon, Dat moved on to Sanofi Pasteur in Singapore for a more field-based perspective. “We wanted Dat to see the life cycle of clinical trials. To see the planning and project management, as well as the importance of clear processes and Good Clinical Practice in Lyon before moving to Singapore to see the implementation and conduct of trials,” says Dr Derek Wallace, Director of Clinical Development at Sanofi Pasteur (France) and Dat’s mentor for the fellowship. “Our aim is to contribute to a network of physicians who understand the complex requirements of multinational research.”

“I’ve been very lucky to work with not only a good mentor,” he says of Dr Wallace, a veteran in the field of vaccine development, “but also a good friend – someone who genuinely cares about my career.”