Corbin's story

Behind every one of our nutritional solutions there is a dedicated team of people whose mission it is to make the lives of patients and healthcare professionals, easier. #NutriciaLife

Dr. Corbin Griffen is a Nutricia Clinical Research Manager. Following undergraduate and master’s degrees in exercise physiology and a PhD in nutrition, Dr. Griffen has gained seven years of experience working on nutritional intervention trials and pharmaceutical studies in the NHS.

During my PhD on dietary and exercise interventions to slow muscle and strength loss caused by ageing, many research studies and papers that I read based their research on Nutricia products, and they reported very interesting data and positive outcomes on muscle and strength. I was also working closely with dietitians at the University Hospitals Coventry and Warwickshire NHS Trust who were using Nutricia products - both oral sip feeds and enteral tube feeds - so I got the chance to see firsthand the benefits these products have on patients’ lives.

I came away from these experiences feeling it would be extremely rewarding to work and carry out research for a company producing medical nutritional products that make a real difference to patients. So I joined Nutricia, where I have been working as a Clinical Research Manager for the last three years.

As Clinical Research Managers, we conduct clinical studies on new and existing medical nutrition products to ensure that they are safe, well-tolerated and accepted by patients, thereby enabling the products to be approved by regulatory bodies. Our role incorporates the entire research process, including designing the clinical trial and documents to ensure the outcomes generated will meet the research questions that need to be answered. We also obtain national ethical approval to enable the clinical trials to be conducted, and recruit NHS hospitals and HCPs (healthcare professionals) to conduct the research and identify and recruit patients for the trial.

We have to gain Research & Development approval from each NHS hospital in order to enable them to conduct the studies, and we train NHS hospitals and HCPs on how to conduct our research. Then we are responsible for the day-to-day oversight of the clinical trials, including data management, HCPs, ethical bodies, dealing with finance teams and logistics. Finally, we analyse and disseminate the clinical trial data, which involves submitting applications to regulatory authorities and presenting the data at national or international conferences. We also support marketing teams with information about our products and publish our data in scientific journals.

For me, the most interesting part of my work is providing real-world evidence of a new product, and discovering that new products achieve what our product development and science teams planned for them to achieve at the start of the project. I find it absolutely fascinating that our trials are usually the first time patients have consumed a product orally or via a feeding tube, and the data we generate from our clinical trials in the UK is used by dietitians in countries all over the world. The evidence we generate enables HCPs globally to familiarise themselves with our products using evidence-based practice - and that’s one of the reasons I’m particularly interested in working in research.

There are two aspects to my role that I find especially rewarding.  First, I really love working with people; meeting dietitians and HCPs from all over the UK and training them on our research processes. Some of the HCPs we work with are new to research, so seeing them get to grips with the process and thrive on working in research is really rewarding. Many HCPs we work with have gone from working on our trials to conducting their own research, using the skills they’ve gained with us - and that’s really great to see for the dietetic profession.

The second part I really enjoy is analysing each patient's individual story from their data, and seeing how a new product has improved their - and their families’ - lives. It feels like we're making a real difference when we can look at the data and see evidence of how the research and the product has benefited individual patients. For example, we have been conducting some studies recently on new plant-based feeds suitable for vegans, and it has been extremely rewarding to hear how patients can now receive medical nutrition that accommodates their personal preferences, lifestyle choices, or religious and cultural beliefs. It’s great to be able to help people in that way.

As well as supporting patients, the clinical research team also supports HCPs in their day-to-day care for patients by providing robust evidence for products that HCPs prescribe for nutritional management. This evidence allows HCPs to prescribe our medical feeds with confidence, and the clinical research and subsequent approval of new medical feeds provides HCPs with a greater toolkit to facilitate more personalised nutrition for individual patients. Being able to tailor the nutritional prescription of medical nutritional products at an individual patient level makes a significant difference in terms of providing the best possible care. 

To that end, the clinical research team are in the process of creating a Clinical Research Hub that will be linked to Nutricia Academy. It’s going to be a specialised hub that contains all the data from our trials, which dietitians can log into and access at any time. Currently, all of the data from our trials is paper based, which isn’t quite so easy to access so we’re digitising everything. It’s very patient-based as well, and we’ve developed an app so that patients who are taking part in trials can log in on their smartphone and input their data much more easily. It will save a significant amount of time for everyone, benefit the environment by using less paper, while also making all the data available at the touch of a button and changing the way our clinical trials are carried out.

I’m really proud to work for a company that puts research and development at the heart of everything we do, making sure that products are evidence-based and will support the nutritional care of patients. Working for a world-leading nutrition company is a real honour, and I’ve seen firsthand that HCPs and patients truly feel Nutricia is at the forefront of medical nutrition. Being part of such a highly regarded research team in the field of medical nutrition and producing research to the highest standard makes working for Nutricia a real privilege.