Change Agents

Contributed by:

PharmaVOICE Staff

NOTE: The content below contains the first few paragraphs of the printed article and the titles of the sidebars and boxes, if applicable.

PV0715_DrBorisKushkuleyDr. Boris Kushkuley
Title: Executive VP
Company: Intouch Solutions
Education: Ph.D., Biophysics, Sackler Institute of Molecular Medicine,
Tel Aviv University; M.Sc., Theoretical Physics, Moldova State University
Family: Wife, Alina; two sons, Daniel and Ron
Hobbies: Traveling, skiing
Bucket List:  A snorkeling trip to Australia’s Great Barrier Reef

Master of Marketing Theory

Dr. Boris Kushkuley is known for building, growing, and leading marketing and technology organizations. Dr. Kushkuley’s entire career spans only three companies, and he has focused specifically on cutting-edge technology and innovation, specifically within the healthcare industry.

After obtaining a Ph.D. in biophysics from the Sackler Institute of Molecular Medicine in Tel Aviv, Israel, Dr. Kushkuley quickly realized his true passion fell within the digital world. The infinite number of applications and the ability to reach millions of people immediately appealed to him. Before joining Intouch, Dr. Kushkuley spent time developing groundbreaking online interfaces for biological databases with the Weizmann Institute of Science. Later he joined SoftWatch, a pioneer of eCRM and disease management solutions for the healthcare and pharmaceutical industries. Following his time at SoftWatch, Dr. Kushkuley spent the next 11 years with Ogilvy CommonHealth focusing on the growth of the digital agency.

In each of these experiences, Dr. Kushkuley has had the opportunity to expand the business and build sizable teams from the ground up. This is something that excites him and something that he finds extremely rewarding. He loves working with people who are eager to make a difference and who don’t see their occupation simply as a way to make money but rather as a true calling.

Since joining Intouch in 2014, Dr. Kushkuley has led the multichannel marketing division, which developed and launched Intune MCM. This proprietary methodology fuses brand, creative, medical, CRM, and analytics to create a focused and comprehensive strategy. Dr. Kushkuley’s approach creates an experiential multichannel ecosystem of touchpoints and tactics to deliver an integrated marketing mix, meeting brand needs while communicating with consumers at the right moment, with the appropriate messaging. In a short period of time, Dr. Kushkuley has assisted in bringing in multiple new clients and inspired dramatic growth to the New York office. Colleagues say he approaches building multichannel marketing plans with the precision of an engineer, applying math, science, and imagination to solve complex problems.

With more than 20 years of digital healthcare experience, Dr. Kushkuley is known for building state-of-the-art digital, marketing, and eCRM solutions. His technical proficiency, wealth of knowledge, creative approach, and global perspective — having lived a significant period of his life on three different continents — position him to be an inspired and admired leader within the digital healthcare arena. He is true innovator who believes passionately in his work and truly cares about his clients and colleagues.

He firmly believes people shouldn’t be afraid to make mistakes, saying mistakes can be fixed but if we don’t explore new opportunities we will never open new doors or discover innovative ideas.

“I love innovation and the fact that we live in a world that changes right in front our eyes,” he says. “Trying to predict the next big thing and being an active part of shaping or leveraging innovation is what makes me go to work every day.”

A data geek with a true passion for technology, he predicts a bright future for healthcare marketing. In fact, when he interviews people for a job, he always asks them “are you a geek?” To him, a “geek” is a genuinely curious individual for whom there is not a divide between job and hobby. Dr. Kushkuley says keeping up with emerging technologies, constantly evolving marketing trends, and dramatic changes in the healthcare industry cannot be just part of one’s job; it has to be part of who the person is.

“We live in exciting times,” Dr. Kushkuley says. “We will see a better use of customer insights, clinical data, and real-time behaviors in creating truly customer-centric service models.”


Melinda Richter
Title: Head, Johnson & Johnson Innovation JLABS
Company: Johnson & Johnson
Education: MBA, INSEAD; B. Comm., University of Saskatchewan
Family: Victor Casale, five brothers and three sisters, and parents
Hobbies: Diving with sharks, heli-boarding in Alaska, and betting on biotech
Bucket List: Host a column about transforming healthcare, write a book about overcoming life circumstances, and direct films about current issues that plague progression and acceptance
Honors: Nominated as a BIO Super Hero
Associations: Member of California Life Sciences Association, BIO, Women in BIO
Board and/or Joint Steering Committee Member of the BIO’s Technology Transfer Committee, the Texas Health Catalyst Advisory Panel (The Dell Medical School and the Provost office of the University of Texas at Austin), the Neuroscience Catalyst Committee (a public-private partnership between the University of Toronto, Janssen and Johnson & Johnson Innovation to fund collaborative
precompetitive, early-stage proof of concept for mood disorders and Alzheimer’s)
Tweet: @melindarichter

Empowering Genius
PV0715_MelindaRichter

The journey of high achievers in the pharma industry has many different beginnings. For Melinda Richter it began with a medical emergency, and she hasn’t looked back since.

Ms. Richter grew up at the end of a little dirt road in Northern Saskatchewan, in a house without running water, plumbing, or electricity. Growing up all she wanted to do was to see the world and to make money, which she worked hard to do with a global telecoms company — until she turned 26 and was told she wasn’t going to live.

“It wasn’t lost on me that at that time I could order a soda from the vending machine with my cell phone and yet the doctors could not take a blood test to figure out what I had,” she says. “It made me realize not only how precious life is but also how our health and the healthcare system was not a priority for investors, for the press, or for top talent. I vowed to do my part to transform the healthcare industry and that focus has not wavered.
My goal is to not only make the healthcare industry as advanced as the tech industry, but to inspire, enable, and empower innovators all over the world to do the same. We are much more powerful together.”

In pursuit of that goal, she founded Prescience International, a company dedicated to accelerating research for the patient.

Then she took on the next major challenge, which was to join the largest global healthcare company in the world — Johnson & Johnson. With the tenacity and resolve of a patient looking for a better solution, she set out to create a better model, which now forms the basis for JLABS’ operational infrastructure.

“J&J has a scale and a reach that contributes dramatically to achieving the goal of changing the face of healthcare; and at the same time, the company is more than 100 years old, so what can I do to turn the ship, particularly given my unusual background?” she says. “Luckily, J&J is filled with leaders such as our chief scientific officer Paul Stoffels, who has not only served on the front lines of HIV as a physician, but is also an entrepreneur who made the successful transition into J&J. The impossible seems possible when you’re surrounded by a community of people like him.”

JLABS, an incubator for life-science startups, started as an experiment in 2012, and not just for J&J but for the pharma industry as a whole, with the goal of providing support for early-stage science to successfully make the transition from idea to product. Under Ms. Richter’s leadership, the JLABS model has expanded from an initial experimental site in San Diego to four additional locations around the nation.

While corporate incubators often require equity from residents or a formal relationship between the companies, Ms. Richter has always championed that JLABS’ resources are offered with no-strings attached. She firmly believes this enables entrepreneurs to have the freedom to grow their company in the way that makes the most sense for their business strategy, which increases their odds of success. She sees the advancement of a JLABS company, whether it partners with J&J or not, as a success for the life-science ecosystem overall.

In addition to being located in well-known hubs for innovation, San Francisco, Boston, and San Diego, Ms. Richter drove the launch of a JLABS in Houston, an emerging and often overlooked life-science hub.

Currently, there are 82 startups in residence across four active sites. Fourteen have grown up and out into independent facilities and 20 have established new strategic relationships with J&J/Janssen.

In addition, Ms. Richter strives to use her executive leadership role whenever possible to advocate for women, including increasing their participation and visibility. Her efforts have made an impact: 15% of JLABS’ resident companies have women CEOs, notable as only 4% of CEOs at healthcare companies are women. Her support is also reflected in hiring practices: nine of the 15 JLABS team members are women.

She paints a positive picture of the impact JLABS can have, and she invites her team to be a part of making that happen and supports them in whatever way they need so they can show up as their best selves.
“It’s about empowering and enabling genius while having fun along the way,” Ms. Richter says.


Jeanine O’Kane
Title: Managing Director
Company: Biosector 2, part of inVentiv Health
Education: B.A., Political Science,
Hartwick College
Family: Husband, Daniel
Hobbies: Sailing, cooking
Bucket List:  Hike the Inca Trail, write a book, have dinner at the White House
Awards/Honors: 2013 Healthcare Businesswomen’s Association Rising Star
Associations: Healthcare Businesswomen’s Association

PV0715_JeanineOkaneBuilding Trust First, Business Second

Sleepness nights and a longing to bake bread in the countryside do not keep Jeanine O’Kane from being a fearless leader who delivers innovative solutions, develops employees with integrity and pushes the creative boundaries, while keeping the focus on having fun along the way.

As managing director at Biosector 2 (B2), part of inVentiv Health, she has built a best-in-class communications agency. Since she joined B2 in 2012, the agency has grown more than 35%, overcoming the patent cliff era and the uncertain environment surrounding the implementation of the ACA. Under Ms. O’Kane’s management, the agency has won PRWeeks’ Healthcare of the Year Campaign and been named The Holmes Report’s Best Healthcare Consultancy in the World, among a myriad of other industry awards.

What is perhaps most impressive about B2’s growth is that a very large percentage of its expansion has been organic. Her teams constantly host workshops and discussions on how to best service clients, and her mantra at a recent leadership retreat was “create loyalty.” According to Ms. O’Kane, loyalty is earned when there is trust, which is the ultimate marker in any relationship, be it with a client or among staff.

Her guidance is always sound and actionable, and her colleagues and peers view her as a true game-changer in the world of healthcare communications. Many of her co-workers cite without hesitation that Ms. O’Kane is one of the strongest leaders they have ever worked with. They say she operates with integrity, is truly focused on people, and envisions the future and then charts the course to get there.

While she is focused on the growth of the business, she does not lose sight of the values of the firm and its staff.
This manifests in several ways, including a consistent commitment to transparency with staff and clients.

Ms. O’Kane is also extremely accessible, taking time to get to know her teams and allowing them the opportunity to get to know her. She strives to get input from the staff before making decisions, and she is always open to ideas and suggestions whether they pertain to new training ideas, new business targets, or new operational improvements.

A sufferer of insomnia, Ms. O’Kane doesn’t waste those sleepless nights. She brainstorms and works on problems, which on one occasion led to the creation of the B2 scholarship project, an initiative that allows two staff members to go to the U.K. office for a week for an immersive work/cultural experience. Another wakeful night produced the creation of a client’s service taskforce for identifying and discussing best-in-class client service across industries. But what really keeps her up at night is caring for the company’s most precious asset: its employees. Ms. O’Kane is always thinking of ways to grow the organization so the agency can offer the next innovative solutions to its clients while preserving the company’s culture.

“I think you can never let folks become bored; I want to engage them so they have an innovator mindset,” she says. “I want them to develop solutions to the toughest challenges they face; this creates a culture that rewards innovation.”

Creating a memorable experience for those around her extends to her out-of-office life as well. As an avid baker who enjoys sharing her culinary creations with others, she has been known to jokingly say when things get extremely hectic at the office: “I am moving to Vermont to make bread.”

Momentary lapses into flour, water, and yeast-based pursuits aside, her interest in healthcare is deeply rooted.
Her interest was sparked when she worked as a legislative aide and speechwriter for a local politician for several years, focusing on issues such as healthcare, insurance, and energy. Ms. O’Kane says she learned a lot about good client service from these early internship days. Her boss demonstrated empathy, and stressed the importance and value of understanding each individual’s point of view. Once a week he would drive across the district to meet with each constituent who had sent in a complaint, because he believed that every single voice and vote mattered in the community. This is a framework for inspired leadership that Ms. O’Kane carries with her to this day.


PV0715_AlanOngAlan Ong
Title: Executive VP, Asia Pacific
Company: INC Research
Education: MBA, University of Hull; Master’s, Advanced Business Practice, University of South Australia
Family: Wife, Doris; daughter, Celeste
Hobbies: Listening to music, reading, wine, Toast Masters public speaking
Bucket List: 
Visit Tibet, write a book
Awards/Honors: Frost & Sullivan Laboratory Services Award for Asia

Thinking Globally and Locally

Few people possess both global expertise and local-level proficiency to effectively manage Asia/Pacific operations for a contract research organization. Alan Ong, executive VP, Asia Pacific, at INC Research is not only one of those people, but he is a champion for the region and a key figure in ensuring the global and local aspects of clinical development work together. He has comprehensive global knowledge and experience, as well as a deep understanding of regional idiosyncrasies. Malaysian born, he brilliantly combines his cultural knowledge with a strong expertise in clinical development.

With vast leadership experience in key markets, including China, Korea, Japan, Australia, Singapore, Malaysia, Vietnam, and others, Mr. Ong possesses a cross-cultural mindset that he uses to integrate his teams into finely tuned global operations.

Mr. Ong excels in conducting business across the entire Asia/Pacific region and has skills to lead in that environment. The business environment for the CRO sector in Asia/Pacific is quite positive and global CROs are eager to establish their presence in this region. Yet, with the rush to Asia, there are myriad challenges based on the vast distances, distinct cultures, and widely varied regulatory procedures in the countries across Asia.
Mr. Ong is a master at navigating the complex markets, cultures, regulations, and drug development environments throughout the region.

Before joining INC, Mr. Ong built multiple businesses in the region for another multinational CRO, improving flat revenue, increasing quality, and reducing turnover. Since joining INC Research in 2014, Mr. Ong has committed himself again to transformation and improving INC’s Asia/Pacific operations and empowering and developing a strong regional leadership team to meet and exceed the ambitious vision and goals for the region.

He is a thoughtful and pragmatic leader and excels at recruiting, developing, and empowering talented individuals and has expanded the Asia/Pacific leadership team, and with it INC’s profile in the region.

For example, the company has expanded its Japanese operations significantly under his leadership and is on a trajectory for strong growth.

His broad knowledge and experience grounded in procedures and logical, fact-based thinking — having worked in IT, supply chain logistics, early development lab services, and medical devices — give him a unique perspective on the Asia/Pacific region.

He has turned around poor-performing business segments, reduced turnover, and improved quality at multiple stops in his career. Colleagues say Mr. Ong’s biggest strength may be his ability to bridge Asia to the rest of the clinical development world.

This inspirational leader looks for strategy and vision within all levels of the organization and seeks input from others, believing there are multiple ways to find solutions and work together.

He believes in leading and inspiring by example and is devoted to helping people advance their careers, by always providing honest feedback and critique.

“Being open with my colleagues allows me to coach them when needed and praise them when deserved,” he says.

At the same time, he is inspired by everyone around him, whether they are managers, colleagues, or others.

“There are different and interesting ways to approach challenges and you never know where the next great idea will come from,” he says. “I like to be open to inspiration from anyone with passion and ideals.”

He views the challenge of ensuring that all regions of the world have access to clinical research and the medications that are developed as one well worth pursuing, and he believes that as the industry continues to expand into new areas everyone needs to pull together to keep access to healthcare available to everyone, everywhere.

Within his organization and in his life overall, he wants to help those who need it the most.

Mr. Ong is dedicated to supporting charities that focus on helping children, such as orphanages in less-developed countries.

His advice for himself and others is to take more risks and try more new things and not to just do what is comfortable or easy — be innovative and daring when there is an opportunity to make a difference.


PV0715_DrScottPlevyDr. Scott Plevy
Title: VP, Immunology Therapeutic Area, Disease Area Leader, Inflammatory Bowel Disease
Company: Janssen Research & Development LLC, one of the Janssen Pharmaceutical Companies of Johnson & Johnson
Education: M.D., Columbia University College of Physicians and Surgeons; A.B., Columbia College
Family: Son, Eric, 20; daughter, Nicole, 15.
Hobbies: Running, indie rock fanatic
Bucket List:  World travel with his children; catch a marlin; New York Jets Super Bowl victory; learn to play guitar; see IBD cured and prevented in his lifetime
Associations: Crohn’s and Colitis Foundation of America; American Society for Clinical Investigation; American Gastroenterological Society; Federation of Clinical Immunology Societies; American Association of Immunologists; Society for Mucosal Immunology; Fellow of the American College of Gastroenterology

Striving to Cure IBD

T he Pixies. Dinosaur Jr. The Replacements. Superchunk. Not exactly the music choices you might think a distinguished, board-certified gastroenterologist championing a cure for inflammatory bowel disease (IBD) would listen to, but Dr. Scott Plevy is an indie rock enthusiast and aficionado. When he is not grooving to the DIY sounds of underground bands, he is leveraging his deep expertise in IBD to rapidly redefine and reshape therapeutic strategies that create a patient-centric model of care informed by the latest frontiers in science — the microbiome and human genetics. His insight has advanced translational research efforts to define the mechanisms of action of novel immunologic interventions.

In 2013, Dr. Plevy joined Janssen as VP and leader of the IBD disease area after a very successful career in academia at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill School of Medicine, where he established himself as an international leader in clinical and basic science research in IBD.

To pursue his dream of providing better treatment and possibly a cure for IBD, which includes Crohn’s disease and ulcerative colitis, he decided he needed to leave his academic post to join the pharma industry. Despite his many successes in academia, Dr. Plevy feels his work at Janssen is a career highlight, “I have many highlights in my 20-plus year academic career, but my biggest highlight to date was my decision, against most logic, to leave a successful academic career for my first industry position,” he says. “Many professional colleagues still question my sanity, but I saw an opportunity to change paradigms in treatment of people with the diseases that have gotten me out of bed for my entire career. I’m proud of myself for following through and have no regrets. Our team has the opportunity to cure and prevent IBD in our lifetimes.

“I am now responsible for charting the strategic direction for an extremely talented, highly matrixed group of individuals that numbers more than 70 people,” Dr. Plevy continues. “I have had to learn how to communicate differently and think strategically in so many ways. This has been the greatest challenge of my career, fraught with failures and successes, and I’m still learning.”

In his academic career, he has been the lead investigator on multiple early-phase clinical trials and has performed translational research to advance the understanding of novel immunologic interventions. This work continues on a larger scale at Janssen.

In addition, he has contributed to more than 80 peer-reviewed publications concentrating on IBD. As disease area leader for IBD at Janssen, he is responsible for outlining strategies to advance new paradigms for treatment and intervention and collaborating with several internal groups to identify priority targets for drug discovery and development that will advance science and innovation for the disease.

Dr. Plevy’s strategy has the potential to change the field of IBD and the way diseases such as Crohn’s and ulcerative colitis are managed. His strategy brings together cutting-edge science; world-class collaborators at leading institutions; advancements in modulating the microbiome to treat, cure, or even intercept IBD, and innovative platforms by which drugs addressing novel targets can be delivered to the gut.

The three main points of his strategy focus on precision medicine efforts to ensure that patients receive the right drug to treat their disease, the development of treatments delivered locally to the gastrointestinal tract and therapeutics that correct fundamental defects underlying disease, and interventions affecting microbial communities, including nutritional, and consequent immune responses.

Under his leadership, these novel strategies will drive innovation and ultimately change the course of IBD research and development at Janssen and, most importantly, for patients worldwide. His knowledge of prior successes and failures in drug development gives him the rare ability to bridge bench to bedside, and has produced an IBD strategy that brings new insight to clinical phenotypes, application of genomics and genetics, use of animal models in target selection, and preclinical optimization of drug candidates. Dr. Plevy is defining new approaches to clinical trials and decision-making that encompass long-term treatment paradigms. He also is pushing for therapeutic drug monitoring and digital health modalities in IBD.

Colleagues report that Dr. Plevy is an exceptionally strong leader capable of single-handedly improving a team.
“I am particularly proud of the team we have built,” Dr. Plevy says. “It is also tremendously gratifying to have brought in three major novel platforms/assets that may transform the way IBD is treated in the future.”


Tim Pantello
Title: Managing Director
Company: PwC
Education: B.B.A., International Marketing & Finance, University of Miami
Family: Wife; three children, twin boys, 10; daughter, 4
Hobbies: Golf, tennis, football, fishing
Bucket List: Sky dive and play golf on every continent
Associations: American Association of Advertising board member; Medical Advertising Hall of Fame Council member
Tweet: @Pantello

PV0715_TimPantelloMoving the Business Dial

A force for change for the life-sciences industry, Tim Pantello can strategically get to the insight quickly to solve any current business issue.

Colleagues say he is a fountain of knowledge when it comes to any category in the space. This deep industry knowledge may have its roots in Mr. Pantello’s family tree. While he is a world-class marketer in his own right, Mr. Pantello acknowledges that his father Ron Pantello, chairman emeritus, Havas Health, a legendary healthcare advertising leader, has provided mentorship and inspiration.

“Not only was my dad a visionary, he is a truly empathetic leader who seemed to flawlessly manage the tough decisions,” Mr. Pantello says.

Mr. Pantello, managing director at PwC, also counts Robert Hammond and Michael DuToit as valued mentors.
And he is committed to paying it forward to ensure that future leaders benefit from his own life experiences.

“To me, mentorship provides an opportunity to develop the next generation of talent,”
he says.

With a gift for identifying game-changing ideas, Mr. Pantello once led a global healthcare company from a consumer focus to a channel and customer agnostic partner, increasing the business by more than 35% in three years, growing the employee base from 270 to 440, and building out a West Coast office.

While at Digitas, Mr. Pantello married the art of managing agency finance and operations with building client relationships and inspiring great work.

He build a healthcare practice in a non-pharma digital creative shop, and has been able to convince healthcare companies to leverage technology, creativity, and customer insight to transform their marketing.

While working on a campaign for one client, Mylan, Mr. Pantello understood they needed staffing flexibility to help with the growing business. He reorganized the entire structure of the Digitas team, allowing for immediate shifts of agency staff to support high-priority projects.

Mr. Pantello spent significant time with Mylan’s marketing teams gaining an understanding of the client’s business vision and needs. He led the creation of a “One Mylan” approach for the team, training all agency colleagues who worked on Mylan business on the culture, history, and strategic plans for all brands.

This training, along with new internal organizational structure and policies that allowed for immediate transition of an agency partner from one Mylan business to another, not only met the unique ebb and flow of Mylan’s business cycles, but also allowed for immediate staffing of high priority, unexpected projects.

In November of last year, his vision for the relationship resulted in the creation of a brand new entity in the Publicis network, Publicis LifeBrands EVOLVR.

Under Mr. Pantello’s leadership, Mylan created industry-leading campaigns, establishing Epi-Pen as a blockbuster brand hitting $1 billion in sales in 2014 and launching a first-ever alliance with The Walt Disney Corp.

He was constantly innovating to ensure the agency remained competitive, and he managed the expansion of essential capabilities to keep Digitas relevant and differentiated.

He cites as his biggest professional challenge an experience when taking over a business unit at a major advertising firm a few years ago.

“Our revenue had declined significantly and there was doubt among our staff that we could turn things around, yet, we did,” he says. “We went from $1.5 million to $16 million in revenue. Turning around the business as well as reshaping the culture of the team was definitely the most challenging, but it was also the most rewarding.”

Mr. Pantello maintains the most important factor to align teams around a vision and mission of an organization’s purpose is to agree on a central roadmap to achieve and sustain that vision.

“Innovation does not happen overnight,” he says. “It is a calculated step-change within an organization to shift what people are doing and how they are approaching a problem in a new or different way.”

A people person, Mr. Pantello earns the respect of those he works with for his hard work, putting himself last, carefully adapting to those around him and doing what is best for his colleagues.

“If you can identify with others’ needs individually and collectively, inspiration comes naturally through your words and actions,” he says. “I found that many times that it is not the decision you made but how you execute that decision that makes all the difference in the outcome,” he says.


PV0715_DrRyanSaadiDr. Ryan Saadi
Title: Global Head, Market Access (Health Economics and Reimbursement) & Policy, Oncology
Company: Johnson & Johnson
Education: M.D., Dhaka Medical College; MPH, Yale University
Family: Wife, Judy; daughter, Emily
Hobbies: Reading, gardening
Awards/Honors: PharmaVOICE 100, 2011

Connecting Clinical Value with Economic Value

A leading global expert in health economics and market access, Ryan Saadi, M.D., MPH, has a unique ability to extract the clinical value proposition of a product and couple it with economic value to the system. Dr. Saadi is passionate about improving the healthcare industry’s status quo from the inside out and he is eager to share his expertise in a constructive way.

In his role as global head, market access (health economics and reimbursement) and policy, oncology, at Johnson & Johnson, Dr. Saadi is working to address the opportunities and challenges associated with patient access to therapies. He draws on time spent as a clinician, in leadership positions in hospital administration, managed care, and the pharmaceutical, biotechnology, and medical device industries to understand patient care from all angles. His philosophy is to understand the decision drivers for each stakeholder in order to communicate in a manner that directly addresses their definition of value.

An unconventional thinker, Dr. Saadi is most likely to tackle a problem from an unexpected angle, often asking questions that are seemingly unrelated and then pulling the discussion round to the core question: “How do we get patients the access they need to innovative therapies.”

In his role within the oncology business, Dr. Saadi has a vision to create enhanced access to emerging oncology products while balancing the need to fund continuing R&D.

Dr. Saadi has been successful in the development, management, and motivation of diverse teams of professionals responsible for both U.S. and global markets. He understands the needs of internal stakeholders and is able to foster an environment of cooperation that is critical to the success of any discipline, but particularly for health economics, which must work across company departments. Development of these new teams has benefited from his aptitude for elucidating and communicating team vision and mission, as well as his ability to select strong team members and provide mentoring and guidance.

He played an instrumental role in guiding idea generation while working with a team to inform strategy for the organization for all stages of a devices life cycle from business and new product development through launch and post-launch. Sometimes the team’s research resulted in unpopular but prudent recommendations. But Dr. Saadi encouraged working across the organization to enrich market access work with a cross-functional perspective. And he pioneered the development of original and impactful customer-facing tools that helped the industry illustrate clinical and economic value of pharmaceutical products to many types of key external stakeholders, including providers and payers.

He expects the best out of the work his teams produce, but he also genuinely cares about individuals. He willingly provides his time to his colleagues to help them mature and grow in their careers.

His big ideas, ability to motivate colleagues to develop the expertise required, and compelling arguments have prompted departments to change their approach to how product value is determined and how market access negotiations are managed.

Over the past 16 years, Dr. Saadi has held senior U.S. and globally focused positions within the industry. He has worked extensively in the areas of health policy, economic analysis, indirect treatment comparison, comparative effectiveness, and global reimbursement, strategic pricing and price management pertaining to pharmaceuticals, biotechnology, and medical devices. Before joining J&J in 2008, he was VP of global health outcomes and strategic pricing at Genzyme. While there, Dr. Saadi built a new team with the responsibility to articulate product value, establish global pricing, ensure local reimbursement, and evaluate product acquisitions.

Beyond J&J, Dr. Saadi teaches a class on succeeding in the changed global pharmaceutical market to students enrolled in the masters in public health program at Rutgers, and he has successfully motivated students to strive for excellence in this career path.

In addition, Dr. Saadi authored well-regarded business strategy book The Science of Commerce: Succeeding in the Changed Medical Device Market.


PV0715_RemoColarussoRemo Colarusso
Title: VP, Manufacturing & Technical Operations
Company: Janssen Supply Group
Education: MBA, Operations Research, Rutgers University; B.S. Chemical Engineering, Rutgers
Family: Wife; three children, one daughter and two sons
Hobbies: Golf, racquetball, technology
Bucket List: Sky dive, visit Antarctica, attend
the Masters
Awards/Honors: Diamond Award,  Standards of Leadership awards for contributions to several transformation strategies in supply chain and R&D; Rutgers University School of Engineering Distinguished Alumni in Commerce and Industry
Associations: International Society for Pharmaceutical Engineering, American Institute of Chemical Engineers, Association of Manufacturing Excellence

Setting Strong Values in Pursuit of Patient Care

Quality and patient care are the absolute highest priorities for Remo Colarusso, who constantly promotes a culture of safety, compliance, sustainability, and corporate responsibility among his employees.

As VP, manufacturing and technical operations, of Janssen Supply Group, Mr. Colarusso strives to provide the best possible products to patients, with the highest quality and in the most efficient manner, by strategically leveraging Janssen’s diverse global manufacturing network and fostering a robust external manufacturing partnership, driving a balance of internal and external integration.

One of Mr. Colarusso’s responsibilities is the supervision of Janssen’s MAKE processes, carrying out safety, quality, and reliability initiatives across internal and external networks to ensure delivery of Janssen’s pipeline.
He works to continuously upgrade the organization’s capabilities with diverse and global talent, supported by the latest technology.

His recent role in pharmaceutical development was, he says, his most challenging assignment to date because after 20 years in supply chain operations he had to learn an entirely new area while delivering what turned out to be the most productive pipeline of this century, all while developing and executing a transformation strategy to reinvent the way his team worked in R&D.

Going forward, his goal is to continue to bring new cures and treatments for patients with serious conditions while leading his organization to higher levels of efficiency, effectiveness, and employee engagement.

Previously, Mr. Colarusso served as head of pharmaceutical development & manufacturing sciences (PDMS) in the Janssen R&D operations organization. As the PDMS team leader, he was instrumental in developing processes to manufacture and test newly discovered products and reliably supply them to clinical trials.
He initially established his expertise as a supply chain leader through roles as head of manufacturing for the global biologics supply chain (GBSC) and subsequently, product management for the Janssen Supply Chain. In these positions, Mr. Colarusso skillfully directed the introduction of new products, lifecycle management of established products, operational supply planning of manufacturing throughout internal and external networks, the ongoing manufacturing network strategy and capacity planning, and due diligence for L&A/M&A efforts for Janssen Pharmaceuticals.

He was one of the originators of a unique cross-company collaboration with Biogen to allow both companies to access and leverage their capabilities and capacities for the benefit of patients around the world. This collaboration is allowing fast-track therapies such as daratumumab in the oncology therapeutic area to potentially become a clinical and commercial reality in record-setting time.

Mr. Colarusso says he is most proud of his role in serving patients by achieving record production of a biotech product at a facility he managed when a sister plant had to stop producing the medicine due to a boiler incident.

He inspires his team members by setting a goal higher than they think can be achieved and stressing how important it is to serve patients, while contributing directly to the work as a team member/servant leader.

“I set an expectation that we all innovate in each of our jobs,” he says. “I often say every job is two-fold — do the job and figure out a way to do it better. I also make innovation an explicit goal of the organization and talk about it at every town hall or employee focus group.”


PV0715_MarcKikuchiMarc Kikuchi
Title: Senior VP, Global Sourcing and Procurement Officer
Company: AmerisourceBergen Corp.
Education:  MBA, Tepper School of Business, Carnegie Mellon University; B.A., Molecular and Cell Biology, University of California, Berkeley
Family: Wife, Petra; daughters: Grace, 15; Sophia, 12; and Ella, 5
Hobbies:  Golfing, kayaking, skiing, hiking
Bucket List: 
See the Seven Wonders of the World

Driving Generics

Marc Kikuchi has been credited with driving the major growth of AmerisourceBergen’s generic drug offerings, but overall, he has had a very eclectic career. From researcher to management consultant to establishing a $40 million company that provided high-quality childcare for 5,000 kids in 50 centers in underprivileged neighborhoods, he now is collecting major accolades and accomplishments as senior VP, global sourcing and procurement officer, at one of the world’s largest companies.

Since joining AmerisourceBergen (ABC) in 2005, he has transformed the generic marketplace. For example, under his direction, ABC successfully launched a new pharmaceutical private label program called BluePoint Laboratories.

Colleagues say he was far ahead of the curve, predicting the value in a private label years before BluePoint became a reality. Mr. Kikuchi presented the original concept of this private label in 2007 (two years before McKesson launched a similar generic brand called Northstar) but management at the time decided to forgo pursuing this strategic direction.

Undeterred, he presented the proposal again to new management in 2012 and received the approval needed. This showed great determination and commitment not to give up on what has since proven to be a great business case. During the first year, he and his team were presented with a business opportunity that would require BluePoint to double its capacity in a one-month period. Mr. Kikuchi managed to get a capital expenditure request approval through ABC in record time and successfully achieved the goal.

Under his leadership, BluePoint has grown to 50 product families and $300 million in sales in just under two years. In addition to building BluePoint, AmerisourceBergen’s partnership with Walgreens is another prime example of Mr. Kikuchi’s disruptive innovative spirit. He was one of the architects behind the deal that led to the largest generic group purchasing organization becoming a reality.

As a dynamic leader, Mr. Kikuchi continually brings innovative ideas to AmerisourceBergen and brings them to fruition. He describes his management style as “controlled explosions,” where he encourages risk-taking and creativity from his teams, resulting in innovative ideas that continue to grow the business and industry at large.

“My management style fosters an environment where failure is okay,” he says. “ I like to lead by example — talk the talk and walk the walk. I like people to take chances, make mistakes, and learn from them. I like making my teams feel comfortable trying new things.”

Co-workers report that his innovative leadership approach has been a catalyst to organizational growth. He is a people-centric leader and aligns the right talent with the right functions. For him, innovation is the willingness to accept failure. He says a lot of companies talk about innovation but the moment a person tries something and it fails, they’ll penalize that person. Companies that truly foster innovation accept failure publicly in a positive way and highlight them to show people it’s okay to think outside of the box.

Mr. Kikuchi also has a unique talent of being able to blend strategic vision with tactical execution. Recently, ABC launched a Web-based portal for its consumer manufacturers that allowed partners to view point-of-sale (POS) data captured from independent community pharmacies. This was the first time in the history of this independent pharmacy class of trade that POS data were made available to the consumer manufacturer community. This is a truly groundbreaking initiative that now allows insights into consumer shopping habits in the class of trade that numbers roughly 20,000. It was Mr. Kikuchi’s vision that allowed ABC to be at the forefront of this initiative. Furthermore, by leveraging this data, several unique tactics have been instituted to put the data into action.

“I have the luxury of working in an industry where I really can impact patient lives,” he says. “Knowing that what we do really can positively impact people we’ll never meet, in terms of creating patient access and making sure that the right drugs get there at the right time, gets me to work every day.”

According to his peers, his leadership in the pharmaceutical distribution business is legendary and truly game changing. But according to his daughters, his hidden talent is still being able to “bust a move” on the dance floor.


PV0715_VeraRulonVera Rulon
Title: Director, External Medical Communications
Company: Pfizer
Education: M.S., Organizational Leadership; B.S., Healthcare Administration; A.A.S., Health Information Technology; Registered Health Information Technologist (RHIT); Fellow of AHIMA
Family: Husband, DeWitt C. Rulon Jr.; Son, Christian
Hobbies: Going to the theater, movies, concerts; watching Game of Thrones; visiting art exhibits; drawing/creating; reading
Bucket List: 
Visit several countries: Australia, Japan, France, Spain, and South America
Awards/Honors: Pfizer Innovation Award Co-Winner: Prioritization Matrix 2012;Pfizer Innovation Oscar Award Co-Winner: Let’s Stop Doing This Campaign, 2011; Pfizer, External Medical Communications High Achiever Award, 2010; AHIMA BOD Leadership Award, Crystal Gavel 2010; Dominican College, Alumni of Distinction 2010; AHIMA BOD Leadership Award, President 2009; Pfizer Global Research and Development Achievement Award, 2006; American Health Information Management Association (AHIMA) BOD Leader Recognition, 2004; AHIMA Best Practices Award, 2nd Place, 1999 —  Clinical Audit in a Managed Care Organization; AHIMA Visionary Award, 1998; Oxford Health Plans High Performance Award, 1996
Associations: AHIMA, HIMSS, AMIA, HBA
Tweet: @vrulon

A Vision for the Public Good

If you are lucky enough to sit at a table with Vera Rulon, you might walk away with a stunning work of art. Ms. Rulon sketches what she sees in real time to capture the moment on paper napkins, menus, meeting agendas, even chopstick wrappers, and she leaves them behind for others to enjoy. She signs her works “Art by Vera,” and you can view a remarkable array of her images on facebook.com/artbyverarulon. Her artistic skill is equally matched by her outstanding knowledge of health information management.

Colleagues credit Ms. Rulon with being a progressive, forward-thinking individual who possesses increasing executive management and leadership skills, experiences, and expertise, which she openly shares with peers, colleagues, the community, and the many who work in pharma and other areas of healthcare.

Ms. Rulon, director, external medical communications, Pfizer, is a strategic and creative thought leader, who is widely recognized for the way she routinely brings forward and shares critical information — decisively, succinctly, yet clearly enough to be effectively understood across many domains of healthcare and at different levels.

She works tirelessly to share the message of good health by achieving the capture of integral health information. Her mission is to gain equal participation in health through patient, caregiver, and consumer engagement. She is a strong promoter of increasing healthcare advocacy and mHealth efforts. Ms. Rulon believes how people access medical care is changing thanks to digital technologies.

Mobile technologies, wearables, and social media all contribute to the empowerment of patients and caregivers, and she believes the industry needs to keep pace with these disruptors. Industry’s greatest challenge is the need to change its business models given this revolution in healthcare, and this includes all aspects — from R&D to commercial to medical affairs — to be more patient centric.

She looks toward patient advocates such as Regina Holliday — the creator of The Walking Gallery to ensure that the patient voice is included in improving the healthcare system — (a 2014 PharmaVOICE 100 honoree) and ePatient Dave for inspiration as they try to find creative ways to help patients all over the world. She also takes inspiration from Pfizer’s Chief Medical Officer Dr. Freda Lewis-Hall (a PharmaVOICE 100 honoree in 2011 and 2014 and Red Jacket honoree in 2015) saying she is one of the best leaders in the industry and is someone who lives her values and has never compromised them.

She spends time volunteering and working on projects for the health industry, the public school system, pharmaceutical environment, through board positions, publications, presentations, and so much more. She is a founding member of Arts Angels Inc., which supports the arts in a public school district.

She is widely respected by peers, colleagues, and those she mentors, coaches, and cheers forward in their life and career choices.

While expansive, Ms. Rulon’s accomplishments all center around her goal of ensuring the patient voice is heard across all industry venues. Her most recent triumphs include securing a patient advocate to present at an internal Pfizer meeting to share points of view on what pharma can do to become patient centric; ensuring patient/caregiver participation in the mHealth Summit’s Pharma Life Sciences Roundtable; co-presenting with patients on the topics of data integrity, patient advocacy, and treatment adherence titled Access to Patients in a Wired World: How Patients Affect Adherence. Ms. Rulon contributes frequently to Pfizer’s Get Healthy Stay Healthy website writing articles educating consumers on how to take charge of their personal health information and other topics.

Ms. Rulon names leading a wonderful team in the creation and implementation of an electronic trial master file that was launched worldwide as a career highlight, which resulted in her earning a Pfizer Achievement Award. She credits her experience and affinity for health information management and subsequent involvement with the American Health Information Management Association for setting her on her current path.

“My trajectory into healthcare was serendipitous,” she says. “While working at a nursing home I was sent to an HIM class and took to it like a fish to water. I’ve been blessed with wonderful opportunities in several different healthcare settings and eventually made it to industry, all thanks to my HIM foundation.”


Dr. Kirk Shepard
Title: VP and Head of Global Medical Affairs
Company: Baxalta US Inc.
Education: M.D., University of Cincinnati Medical School; B.A., Cornell University; Internship and Residency in Internal Medicine, Case-Western Reserve University — Metro; Hematology & Oncology Fellowship, University of Chicago Medical Center
Family: Wife, Nadine; four sons, Kirk II, Devin, Austin, and Pierce
Hobbies: Coaching; weight training and exercise rowing, going to the movies and theater
Bucket List: 
Play the part of Don Quixote in The Man of La Mancha and sing his favorite line “To be willing to march into Hell for a heavenly cause;” learn to sing; go to the SuperBowl to watch the Browns play
Associations: Cornell National Scholar, Quill & Dagger, Cornell Alumni Admissions Ambassador Network (Chairman of Chicago Far Northern Suburbs), ASCO, ASH

PV0715_DrKirkShepardA Touchdown for Med Affairs

Dr. Kirk Shepard loves coaching. He has coached more than 30 teams from grade school to middle school in football, baseball, and basketball. He brings that team-oriented, play-fair sensibility to his position as VP and head of global medical affairs at Baxalta, having completely transformed the med affairs department and creating a winning team in just a few years.

Dr. Shepard has been leading the global medical affairs department at Baxter Bioscience since 2012 and during this time, he has provided his teams with the vision, structure, tools, support, and process improvements needed to allow them to excel at their jobs. This transformation has been recognized within the company, leading to additional headcount and resources, and greater visibility and respect for medical affairs within the organization. A unique combination of insightful and strategic thinking, passion, and humor provide the foundation for his inspired leadership. As a respected scientific voice in the industry, Dr. Shepard is an invaluable amplifier of the transformation that medical affairs organizations are undergoing throughout the industry. And as he builds his global medical affairs team, he is working side-by-side with members of his team to redefine the value they are bringing to the organization, to the advancement of science, and to the patients who rely on scientific innovation. His leadership, as on the ball field, is very clear in direction, while universally providing the opportunity for growth within the team.

Colleagues describe Dr. Shepard as a rare type of a leader; he is down to earth, understands the issues and concerns people on the frontline have, and is interested in personal issues so that everybody on the team — across the hierarchy — feels his or her voice is heard. He instills a sense of community and a can-do attitude. As a leader, he is fearless, but also transparent and open and is willing to admit when there are difficulties or that he does not have all the answers.

Co-workers find his experience, dedication, ability to mentor and coach, superior communication skills, and sense of humor motivational and inspirational.

His wide range of experience includes being responsible for submitting and gaining approval for eight new drugs, in AIDS, neonatology, and oncology, as well as dozens of abbreviated NDAs. He has been responsible for leading medical affairs teams in North America and globally for on-market products, as well as the medical and HEOR aspects of future products. He has overseen drug development through all clinical trial phases, led compliance and policy efforts, led field-based medical teams, and coordinated medical education and publishing activities. Dr. Shepard has always been passionate about advancing science and medicine, even at the early stages of his career when he served as a staff physician in the department of hematology and medical oncology at the Cleveland Clinic Foundation, while he simultaneously supervised numerous IRB-approved studies in oncology.

His passion for team efforts, stemming from his college football days, has guided his management style. He knows that a team’s performance is driven by working together and complementing each other’s skills. Striving for a common goal is also similar to football, and Dr. Shepard relates keeping score to using metrics to guide med affairs improvements.

“Naturally, the score and stats are a big part of playing sports,” he says. “The same orientation goes for our work in medical affairs. I like to know the score by using metrics, which guide us on how we are doing and where we can improve.”

We’d say score one for Baxalta and Dr. Shepard’s medical affairs team.


PV0715_MarcSirockmanMarc Sirockman
Title: Executive VP, General Manager
Company: Artcraft Health
Education: B.A., Business Administration, Wagner College
Family: Wife, Debbie; two children, Marc and Blair
Hobbies: Fishing, boating, and remodeling
Bucket List: 
Travel cross country
Awards/Honors: All in 2014: ADCNJ; Apex Award; Aster Award; AVA Digital Award; Communicator Award; Davey Award; Graphic Design USA; Hermes Creative Award; Healthcare Advertising Awards; Jersey Award; MARCOM; Mature Media Awards; National Health Information; NJ Ad Club; PharmaChoice Awards; RxClub; Telly Award; VEMA; W3; Best Professional Sales Aid, Medical Marketing & Media; Top 100 Agencies-Agents of Change
Associations: American College of Cardiology, The Endocrine Society, Society of Pharmaceutical Training and Development, HealthCare Exhibitors Association
Tweet: @ArtcraftHealth

Advancing Patient Education

For more than a decade, Marc Sirockman has been instrumental in growing Artcraft Health at a pace greater than 20% a year, and he has reinvested profits into training, technology, personnel, and office space. In addition, he has taken the company in new directions, including animation, digital media, and clinical trials.
Through his inspired leadership, the agency has helped clients achieve their goals through educating audiences, promoting products, and aspiring to higher levels of brand performance through differentiated marketing strategies. The two-time PharmaVOICE 100 honoree has grown Artcraft from three employees operating in a musty basement to a 75-person, state-of-the-art office.

Mr. Sirockman has a passion for patient education, and he sees an even brighter future ahead for Artcraft.

“Our goal is to help patients make informed decisions so that they can help themselves with making the right choice for their disease state and where they are in their healthcare continuum,” Mr. Sirockman says. “By 2020, 20% of the population is going to be older than 65. We also have people living longer, wanting to stay healthy, so they’re seeking out information and knowledge. We have a great need here that needs to be fulfilled by the healthcare industry. We need to help these people.”

Colleagues say his passion for helping others is at the heart of Artcraft Health’s success and is apparent in all that he does. Mr. Sirockman strives for what is best for his organization, his community, his clients, and his colleagues. Colleagues say if you spend a day with him, you are guaranteed to hear: “We are all patients. What you would want for yourself or your loved one?”

It is not uncommon to find him at a local hospital, sitting in a waiting room, talking with a patient, nurse, or physician. He understands that to transform the healthcare eco-system you need to understand the obstacles within it.

Mr. Sirockman consistently has his ear to the ground researching and investing his time in the future of innovation and how to best get the education in the hands of the patient. Whether it’s the newest technology or a different way to reinvent a traditional tactic, he is the first person to say the sky is the limit. Under Mr. Sirockman’s leadership Artcraft Health has grown into a passionate, focused, and innovative agency that has been at the forefront of patient centricity.

Mr. Sirockman’s vision to do things differently and to surround the patient and caregivers with clear, actionable, relevant, and engaging solutions to disease and medication awareness has paid off hugely. Due to this vision, not only is Artcraft Health a driver in patient and caregiver education, the agency is involved in pharmaceutical development with a core business group focused on clinical trial operations.

This new business unit brings the patient and caregiver focus earlier in the pharmaceutical continuum and allows patients to get involved in the clinical development of the next generation of pharmaceutical compounds.

The clinical trial market space goes above and beyond just the typical regulatory process by adding the additional level of Institutional Review Board scrutiny.  This additional level of review and the distinct firewall needed between approved products and developing compounds is something he has taken seriously.  Through his leadership and huge investment into this business sector Artcraft Health has become a major influencer in this space.


PV0715_ThomasHospodarThomas Hospodar
Title: Head, Global Office of Strategic Planning
Company: Sunovion Pharmaceuticals Inc.
Education: MBA, University of Chicago, Booth School of Business; B.S., Mechanical Engineering, Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT)
Family: Wife, Rose; daughters, Sofia, 10; Julia, 9; Emilia, 7
Hobbies: Outdoor exercising, cooking, reading history
Bucket List: 
Attend the finals of the Chopin Piano Competition
Awards/Honors: The Sunovion Encore Award for exemplary performance and living company values, the Babson College Leadership Excellence Award, and the A.T. Kearney Intellectual Capital/Innovation Award
Associations: MIT Industrial Liaisons Program; AVOCA Quality Consortium; Metrics Champion Consortium

One Team, One Vision

Tom Hospodar was specifically selected to implement the global clinical development organization at Sunovion because of his track record of successfully driving global collaboration between companies. This role, while rewarding, would be the most challenging of his career and take more than two years to achieve.

Unlike most strategic and operational endeavors Mr. Hospodar has had over his career, including as a former A.T. Kearney management consultant and MIT-trained engineer in the semiconductor OEM industry, the Sunovion initiative has been very different. He has focused on forging a deep cross-cultural understanding and finding inspirational ways to engage the hearts and minds of employees, who are effectively reporting up into two separate companies, to become “One Team.” This initiative touched 500 people, and meant that many managers and leaders had to go above and beyond their existing jobs while maintaining current workloads to make the integration happen.

“This was a large-scale initiative, which involved defining what good looked like and navigating different cultures and myriad work processes to align on our shared future across cultures,” Mr. Hospodar says. “It was so rewarding to be a part of such a high-performing team that could rise together in the face of this challenging assignment.”

Mr. Hospodar helped create a maxim in Japanese and English to guide the project: “Ichigan to Natte! Together as One.” This has now become the daily mantra of a matrix-model team, comprised of R&D professionals from across various functions throughout Sunovion in the United States, Canada, and Europe along with colleagues from Sunovion’s parent company, Sumitomo Dainippon Pharma, a top-10 listed pharmaceutical company in Japan.

Mr. Hospodar has been vital in helping team members understand their role in the big picture — the importance of shifting perspectives from focusing on “projects” to being part of something bigger together — to advance an entire global pipeline of important therapies, including those that address the global burden of disease and economic burden to society for psychiatric illness, estimated by the WHO at $1 trillion annually. To continue to motivate the team, he has reinforced the importance of the company’s role and agile approaches in the face of industry dynamics and evolving unmet medical needs. For example, in various forums he has reminded the team that while many companies have abandoned the CNS space due to the risk profile of drugs in development and lack of innovation, Sunovion and Sumitomo Dainippon Pharma have continued to successfully develop and bring to market multiple CNS therapies to benefit patients.

The initiative encompassed 12 functional areas and four major geographies. There is now a unified focus on global clinical trials conducted in multiple countries, coordinated plans and strategies, and standardized and harmonized processes across geographies. And with Mr. Hospodar driving the initiative, the team now realizes above all that each member has an important common bond to work together to improve the lives of patients, with the patient as the focal point. He views the “One Team” within the company as a reflection of the cooperation needed among stakeholders globally in the industry to address the mounting disease and economic burdens facing society.

“I believe I have been able to paint the picture of what good and even better looks like,” Mr. Hospodar says. “I am a believer in internal and external benchmarking to help paint this picture. I then ask the right, probing questions to get people to focus on what we could be doing better than what we are doing today. I believe that supporting teams in transitioning from the current to future state is vital. In change management, it is important not only to applaud success but also to accept failure when the risks are thought out ahead of time, and inspire teams to stretch across the gap from the ‘as is’ to the ‘to be’ state.”


Beth Price
Title: Principal, Executive VP
Company: The Medical Affairs Company
Education: B.A., Communications, Arizona State University
Family: Husband, David; son Chase, 10; daughter, Jolie, 9
Hobbies: Running and taking spin classes, traveling, ice skating with her daughter, skiing, watching old movies, and decorating and redecorating
Bucket List: 
Travel to Germany with her family; ski a black diamond anywhere; buy her husband his dream car; run another marathon
Associations: Healthcare Businesswomen’s Association, DIA SIAC, Mercer College of Pharmacy

PV0715_BethPriceMSL Visionary

For more than 23 years, Beth Price has believed that developing strong relationships with clients includes offering recommendations that best meet the need, whether or not those solutions include her services. The trust and goodwill built from her consistent behavior to do what’s best for the client has paid off in many ways, but none more than the day she answered her phone and was awarded an MSL program in excess of $7.5 million based solely on her relationship with the client.

“I have always valued and appreciated the fact that relationships are developed and fostered over long periods of time,” she says. “I have maintained the belief and practice of often providing prospective clients with information that may only benefit them and not me or my company, knowing that one day, this may result in a positive outcome.”

It’s this type of innovative thinking that she brings to the field of medical affairs and The Medical Affairs Company (TMAC), where Ms. Price is principal and executive VP, and that ensures her success. Recently, Ms. Price worked with a growing MSL team at a pharmaceutical company that expanded from six to 20 MSLs in a short period of time. Through her leadership, the detailed statement of work and implementation of the larger contract MSL team was outstanding. According to testimony from the client, she was an integral part of developing a strategy of MSL selection and placement that was exceptional.

Ms. Price is widely recognized as an invaluable strategic ally in meeting the unmet business need of field medical support in the med device sector. She exhibits patience and is a willing partner throughout what can at times be a lengthy process.

Clients also comment on her remarkable memory of all the projects she has worked on in her 20-year career. As one of the principals of TMAC since its formation, Ms. Price can name almost any former program, client, or product, including the many individuals, programs, and therapeutic areas involved, often down to the smallest detail.

Colleagues report that her management style is more that of a mentor than supervisor. She allows individuals the freedom and flexibility to develop their own style and approach to business development and client service and is always open to new ideas and creative thinking, again focusing on what makes the most sense for the client. She keeps the work environment fun and always provides positive feedback when things go well, as well as constructive criticism to help foster improvement.

Throughout her career Ms. Price has been a visionary in advising pharmaceutical, biotechnology, biopharma, diagnostic, and medical device companies to adapt to the shifting financial, regulatory, and business landscape of medical affairs. Her success in guiding companies through significant change is founded on her keen business acumen, ability to develop enduring relationships, and unprecedented experience and insight gained from work completed with hundreds of diverse companies. As a result of her foresight and broad experience, the concept of outsourced medical affairs teams has gained substantial credibility over the last two decades, and is now positioned as a plausible, fiscally responsible choice for companies seeking to establish a medical team that focuses on exceptional clinical acumen and business flexibility.

Ms. Price is always striving to stay ahead of the curve and is devoted to keeping medical affairs from becoming a commodity service.

“I am constantly thinking about the next greatest innovative service or approach to improving upon our services and the delivery of those services is a constant struggle,” she says.

Drawing inspiration from her father, who taught her how to be resourceful as a young girl, starting with looking up words in the dictionary as a second-grader, she credits him for teaching her how to attain success and independence by never taking short cuts or relying on others to achieve her goals. Ms. Price continues to rely on these lessons as she empowers her teams to be resourceful and excel in their positions by delivering thoughtful, strategic and timely solutions to clients.


PV0715_RichieEtwaruRichie Etwaru
Title: Chief Digital Officer
Company: IMS Health
Education: MBA, University of Phoenix; B.S., Management Information Systems, City University of New York-Queens College
Hobbies: Writing, golfing
Bucket List: Visit outer space; run for President of Guyana; have children
Awards/Honors: MedTech 40 under 40, 2015; guest on the CXOTalk show, 2015; CIO Innovation Award, 2010; winner of the Notre Dame Business Plan Award, 2003
Associations: Executive Advisory Board Member for the Center for Healthcare Research at the University of Phoenix, Board Member for the South Asian Pharmaceutical Council
Tweet: @RichieEtwaru

Infectious Optimism

Divergent thinking is the art of envisioning the new, which is why Richie Etwaru’s approach to innovation starts with counter intuition.

Mr. Etwaru epitomizes the words “creative innovator.” He is able to break down barriers and have everyone see the path to delivering value to life-science companies.

In his position as chief digital officer at IMS Health, Mr. Etwaru’s role is to ensure that the industry transforms successfully from good to great, and that it takes advantage of everything information and technology have to offer to be as efficient, flexible, and forward-thinking as possible.

Mr. Etwaru joined Cegedim CRM (now IMS Health) two years ago from the financial world, and with a background in technology. He helped the company revamp its technology solutions offerings, adapting these to the most pressing needs of clients.

He has led thought-leadership initiatives on social media and has become a spokesperson for the company. He challenged sales staff members to put passion and personality into their presentations, pushed the marketing team to focus on benefits messaging and not salesmanship, and exhorted the engineering to team to focus on design flexibility.

Mr. Etwaru says his mission is to change the way people think in an effort to ensure progress. Whether in personal matters, social matters, or commercial matters the way people think drives their actions and the eventual outcomes. He thrives on positively infecting the thoughts of others, and in so doing he has transformed the marketing messaging and digital approach at Cegedim, which was recently acquired by IMS Health.

Innovation is a collective orchestra rather than a solo performance, he says, adding that a company full of somewhat innovative employees will outperform any company with a few very innovative rock stars.

“It is my mission to work with every employee to be more innovative in every aspect of our business, so that as an aggregate, we win for the benefit of our customers,” he says.

Equally, innovation means removing the fear of failure, and creating an environment that encourages fail early, fast, and cheap, and then celebrating the decommissioning of failing projects.

“Keeping a failing project still funded is the opposite of innovation; it is ‘un-innovation,’” he says. “It’s equally important to stop un-innovation, as it is to start new innovation.”

One of the biggest changes is the democratization of healthcare, which has moved patients from having questions to having evidence, Mr. Etwaru says. As a result, the supply side — pharma and providers — must move from providing content to offering insight. Insight requires context and precision, especially since the “evidence” from the patient is often filled with misinformation. The challenge is that while the data are available to drive both context and precision, the industry is not being efficient in taking advantage of the various data sources.

He says listening can be a challenge in the digital age, with so much chatter and noise that it can be hard to hear anything. But he believes that great ideas also require the ability to listen and so he has become very conscious of listening more to himself, his colleagues, customers, and the industry at large. From this listening comes learning, including knowing what needs to be changed.

He aligns with his colleagues; leads by  providing a vision and describing a new reality; and earns the trust that motivates people to follow.

“Inspiration is difficult and complex, and I get it wrong more than I get it right, but when it’s right, it’s powerful,” he says.

He invests in people more than processes, noting that when people see a leader acting in their best interest, they are motivated to join any cause or condition that calls on them to go above and beyond.

Colleagues say Mr. Etwaru can take a room of strangers, loosely tied together by a thirst for knowledge or a quest for something bigger, and make them feel as though together they can change the world.

Throughout his career, Mr. Etwaru has been focused on learning. He says if he could give advice to his younger self it would be to change industries earlier. The pharma world was his third industry and he says entering it was like learning to ride a bike all over again because each time you learn faster and understand the inner workings more deeply.

As if all this wasn’t enough, Mr. Etwaru has also written a book: Corporate Awesome Sauce: Success Rules for Generation Y.

He is also a featured writer on LinkedIn, CIO, Huffington Post, and other innovation-targeted websites.


PV0715_NicoleWoodlandNicole Woodland-De Van
Title: Senior VP, Buying Services & Deliverables
Company: Compas Inc.
Education: B.S., Business Administration, Rider University
Family: Husband, Stanley M. De Van, Jr.; sons, Julian, 13 and Jaxson, 7; daughter, Jada, 3
Hobbies: Photography, planning parties, traveling
Bucket List: 
See the Seven Wonders of the World; go to the Cannes Film Festival; be an “extra” on a soap opera
Awards/Honors: HBA Rising Star
Associations: HBA,  Philadelphia Interactive Marketing Association, Association Medical Media, Interactive Advertising Bureau

AdMission Critical

There are those who play the game, and then there are those who change it, like Nicole Woodland-De Van, whose ideas not only create new opportunities for her team members and company, but for the industry as a whole. Ms. Woodland-De Van has been a pioneer for media buying in the pharmaceuticals/healthcare industry for more than 17 years and has transformed the buying landscape. She truly understands the trends and dynamics from how to buy media in the most efficient manner for clients, but also how to lead and guide the supplier/publisher communities into the future. She has used that knowledge to lead the company in the creation of Compas’ first-of-its-kind programmatic platform, AdMission.  Programmatic buying is a common concept outside of pharma, but there has been a lag within the industry.

She recognized that programmatic buying technology would not just benefit but revolutionize the industry; she also recognized that her company could make it happen. Ms. Woodland-De Van tackled this project as she does everything in her life — with intelligence, drive, stamina, and creativity. She rallied all of the key players, and quickly became an industry-leading expert on this complex topic. She brought to market the first program with the full support of not one but several major pharmaceutical companies who believed in her 100%.

Compas employees credit her dedication, drive, leadership, and unwavering efforts in bringing this media buying technology to the pharma space. This effort not only required her to drive an ad-technology, but also use her strong partnerships with the publishing community to train, educate, and motivate clients to enter into a programmatic world. This one-of-a-kind thinking and innovation is what makes Ms. Woodland-De Van a change agent within her company, as well as across the industry.

Ms. Woodland-De Van cites this achievement as both her most rewarding and challenging assignment to date.
“Launching AdMission in 2014 contributed not only to our own company’s growth and to incredible success for our clients, but it was also a huge change for our industry as a whole,” she says. “AdMission is the first and only programmatic buying platform for professional healthcare audiences, meaning we were able to lead the industry to the next level of marketing. It took a good deal of learning on my part, and then many months of planning, educating, training, and building technology to make it all possible.”

Working alongside her father Stan Woodland and brothers James and Michael at Compas, Ms. Woodland-De Van says they are all very supportive and great mentors for her. She in turn likes to mentor others and follows an open-door policy. Colleagues say she is an inspiring leader who challenges her team members to perform at their best and always give 200%. She is always on top of the ever-changing world of healthcare and is a source of knowledge always waiting to be tapped. She is constantly striving to keep Compas on the forefront of digital technology and her clients are always her top priority. They call her a team player and an inspiration to many in the healthcare field.

“I love to take something and make it better, it’s my passion in life and something I get the most personal satisfaction from,” she says.

And if she looks a bit familiar, you may have seen her on the TLC reality TV show, Perfect Proposal, when her husband Stanley proposed.


PV0715_RicCavieresRic Cavieres
Title: Principal, Advisory Life Sciences Commercial Practice Leader
Company: Ernst & Young LLP
Education: B.Sc., Physics and Astrophysics, University of Leeds
Family: Wife, Annelisse; daughter, Charlisse, 4; dog, LaRue
Hobbies: Soccer, swimming, astronomy, traveling
Bucket List: To make great wine — from seed to bottle
Awards/Honors: Innovation Awards from a top 10 biopharma company
Tweet: @RicCavieresEY

Connecting the Dots with Big Data

A leader in the early adoption of new technologies in the industry, Ric Cavieres has that rare combination of road-tested experience and strategic vision.

Mr. Cavieres has engaged with the life-sciences industry to implement some of the most cutting-edge and progressive analytics. Not only has he helped companies to embrace areas such as predictive modeling, social media analytics, and advanced customer segmentation, he is adept at translating how these capabilities can be best used within a life-sciences context to drive insights.

He can look at a problem in a different light, connect the dots, and then put all the puzzle pieces together. He works with many companies to help them navigate how they can use information and big data in new ways that are both accessible and beneficial to their business.

His leadership in mentoring people, managing large teams and initiatives, and educating the industry has helped to inspire many companies to steer their businesses in new directions. And his creativity in approaching client issues has inspired many EY advisory practitioners to want to get involved in the development of new commercial offerings.

As the Americas lead for commercial within EY’s life science practice, Mr. Cavieres has brought innovation to the practice developing the company’s commercial analytics suite also known as CASE.

The goal is to realize the vision to help transform the commercial area through differentiated business insights that are highly intuitive and visual; based on complex advanced analytics; and can actionably drive improved commercial strategies, execution, and performance.

“To achieve these results, we implicitly had to do things differently and better,” he says. “This could have been a challenge but our team and our clients are collaborating on a global scale to make a difference. Ultimately, our sense of achievement is inextricably linked to making a tangible difference through what we do, which in turn makes a better working world for our clients and our clients’ customers.”

Passionate about the life-sciences industry, Mr. Cavieres finds it truly fulfilling and rewarding to be able to play a very small part in helping to advance the industry.

In fact, the life sciences has been a large part of his life as both his parents were biochemist scientists and dedicated their lives to making a difference through scientific research to help drive improved understanding of human conditions and thus health and well-being.

“This altruistic focus to help make the world a better place is incredibly inspiring and aspirational to me,” he says.

Mr. Cavieres believes a change of attitude is needed in the industry and that life-sciences companies need to embrace that they are part of the healthcare ecosystem — not the center — and there needs to be more frequent partnering to improve patient healthcare.

As a leader, he seeks to create a vision and goals that are exciting, challenging, and innovative.

Innovation, by its definition, is to do things differently and that means taking risks, Mr. Cavieres says, and so EY aims to take the organizational fear out of failure by providing a safety net.

“If people are afraid of the consequences of failure they will not innovate,” he says. “For instance, the ability to develop CASE is directly tied to EY’s cultural and organizational mindset to be entrepreneurial and take calculated risks. At EY innovations are rewarded. The status quo is not.”

A great mentor, Mr. Cavieres is genuinely interested in advancing the careers of others and helping them achieve their goals.

He has a knack for finding talented individuals and getting the most out of them, often guiding them to excel at something totally new and often difficult.


Dan Diaz
Title: VP, Business Development/Global Feasibility
Company: SPRI Clinical Trials
Education: B.S., Business Administration, Central Missouri State University
Family: Wife; three children, Sarah, Katie, Josh
Hobbies: Coaching basketball and soccer, attending antique car shows — Model A man
Bucket List: Parachute jump
Awards/Honors: Multiple President’s awards at Merrell Dow, Marion Merrell Dow, and PPD
Associations: Founder of Doylestown Biotech Breakfast Club, Hepatitis B Foundation, the United Way

PV0715_DanDiazPartnering for Innovative Trials

He calls it a “hunch,” but those who work with him say Dan Diaz has an uncanny ability to predict future trends, and his reputation has been built on forward-thinking approaches to problem solving, which has led to success across many facets of the industry.

“I see the future,” Mr. Diaz says. “For example, I was pushing orphan and rare programs more than 10 years ago, and pushed our company into the governmental vaccine space, as well as the cancer vaccine space.”

This year, Mr. Diaz, VP, business development/global feasibility, SPRI Clinical Trials, was overwhelmingly rewarded for his long hours and exhausting efforts to bring such enhancements to the clinical research industry. While attending ASCO for the 13th consecutive year, he met two patients who had recovered from cancer by participating in cancer vaccine clinical studies. When the patients thanked him for his part in developing oncology clinical studies, he “choked up.”

“No, thank you!” he replied. “You are the reason why 35,000 people are here at the conference; 10 to 15 years ago cancer vaccine trials didn’t exist.”

For Mr. Diaz meeting those two patients made all the long days and nights and all the work that has been done worth all the effort.

According to colleagues, Mr. Diaz is one of the bright spots in the industry and he has been focused on bringing the industry and his Doylestown, Pa., community together to strengthen the understanding of the industry for several years. He created an industry networking organization called the Doylestown Biotech Breakfast Club that includes more than 70 members from the biotech/pharma and CRO services industry. Mr. Diaz discovered that neighbors of the PA Biotech Center, the location of more than 40 biotech, device, and pharmaceutical companies, were not aware of each others’ existence. This was more alarming since more than 30% of the business neighbors were from the pharmaceutical and healthcare industry. Nor were they aware of the Hepatitis B Foundation’s presence there as well. With the international focus of the industry on curing hepatitis, and on the industry’s focus on vaccines, he knew that education and support of the center and foundation could lead to better healthcare locally and worldwide.

His initial goal was to help educate the community on the benefits of the center’s companies and mission, and bring together the local members to educate the community on ways in which the industry is developing better healthcare treatments worldwide. He also saw this as a way to bring members together to network and develop better solutions and support of the local talent and services in the area, thus keeping the community strong.
Other examples of his ability to drive innovations include being first in line to support the rare and orphan drug arena more than nine years ago; implementing site-based portals eight years ago; being one of the first members of the Diversity Alliance for Science and helping diversity supplier companies, especially women-owned businesses, in obtaining membership and government approval, which led to many being able to achieve success in business.

Mr. Diaz has also been instrumental in establishing niche CRO global partnerships, leading to small business awards in global pharmaceutical companies, as well as global vaccine site network partnerships to accelerate start up and site selections, saving the government, pharma, and CROs time and money.

Lastly, he has implemented new methods and technologies for faster patient enrollment, including using nonprofit organizations and advocacy groups and obtaining insurance billing codes for physician and patient identification, especially across orphan disease studies.

Mr. Diaz’s knack for being forward thinking helped him accomplish two particular career highlights: the relaunch of the sales team at Beardsworth Consulting Group and being a part of the PPD team that grew the company from $400 million to $1.05 billion.


PV0715_DrAlbertSiuDr. Albert Siu
Title: VP, Learning and Development
Company: Parexel International
Education: Ph.D., Purdue University, Indiana
Family: Wife, Randi; daughter, Maren
Hobbies: Cellist, chamber music
Bucket List: Write a book on the lessons learned from leaders of organizations
Awards/Honors: Board of Directors for Thrivent Financial; Distinguished Alumni Award from Purdue University, 2013
Associations: American Society for Training and Development

Hitting a High Note for Learning

One of the most influential leaders in learning and development, Albert Siu, Ph.D., is helping to train the next generation of clinical researchers for the industry. Dr. Siu has brought his innovative thinking and his inspiring ways of working to Parexel, where he leads professional development, management and leadership, and functional training for more than 17,000 global employees.

He continually thinks outside of the box, pushes the normal boundaries of what’s defined as the role of a head of learning and development, and he does the unexpected, all to the benefit of the individuals he works with.

The highly complex and regulated nature of the life-sciences industry means it’s critical to have expertly trained employees with both highly developed technical skills as well as interpersonal skills. This in turn translates to a competitive advantage that helps Parexel’s clients.

Thought leadership is Dr. Siu’s current focus, and he is working to help other companies figure out how they can navigate through the complex drug development, regulatory, and payer/reimbursement issues. Rather than just publish articles, he brings senior leaders from other pharmaceutical and biotech companies into a room and facilitates the discussions on the complicated issues facing the industry. In February, his vision came to life when Parexel hosted and facilitated a Thought Leadership symposium workshop for an external group of 100 leaders.

He significantly enhanced  the Parexel Academy, a degree granting institution within the learning and development infrastructure, by taking it from a European focus  to a truly global institution. In three years, he took the academy from being in Germany and the United Kingdom to having programs in the United States, Singapore, and Japan. He formed partnerships with academic insitutions by creating post-graduate training so that graduates with sciences degrees could participate in the clinical research management disciplines. This enables Parexel to help develop the biopharmaceutical industry’s next-generation clinical research workforce on a global basis. The graduates from these degree and post graduate programs join Parexel as well as other life-sciences companies, thereby contribute to building a capable workforce for the life-sciences industries.
These programs also apply to preparing clinical research site management staff so that hospitals and clinics in different countries can contribute to and participate in clinical trial management activities.

Additionally, Parexel Academy’s global focus significantly increases the opportunities for students interested in the life sciences to make use of the cooperation between academia and industry and to follow this pathway into the clinical research area.

Dr. Siu has been integral in helping his team grow and build their own networks and skills, and he genuinely takes pleasure in helping his colleagues succeed. His passion and focus on delivering the right training, in the right way, at the right time, translates into employees who are prepared to succeed in their jobs and in their careers.

His attention to detail, his dedication, and his genuine willingness to go above and beyond benefit the company, its employees, its clients, and ultimately patients.

He inspires those who work with him by creating an innovative learning culture and he guides them to believe in what they do.

Dr. Siu draws on his experience from other industries to develop successful learning programs.

For example, as chief learning officer for AT&T, he managed a $70 million budget and executed a $35 million Memorandum of Understanding (1996-1998) for China’s State Planning Commission to train 500 directors and managers on the next generation of telecommunication technologies and network management protocols.


Sarah Mandracchia
Title: Head of Global Media Strategy
Company: BBK Worldwide
Education: B.S., English and Education, Merrimack College
Family:  Dad and Mom, Mike and Carol Mandracchia; sister, Meredith
Hobbies: Skiing, snowboarding
Bucket List: Travel to Wyoming to vacation on an authentic dude ranch

PV0715_SarahMandracchiaHitting a High Note for Patient Recruitment

Recruiting patients for clinical trials remains one of the biggest drivers of increased clinical trial costs, yet many companies and sponsors still struggle to implement the right advertising strategies needed to find and then retain the patients needed to run a study. Compounding the problem is that the demand for clinical trial participants is beginning to outpace supply.

Enter Sarah Mandracchia, BBK Worldwide’s head of global media strategy. Understanding the mix of art and science required to drive successful patient recruitment advertising campaigns, Ms. Mandracchia ensures that each BBK client is on the path to better, faster, and more cost-efficient enrollment. And no one is better than Ms. Mandracchia at explaining the complexities and intricacies of advertising tactics, media strategy, and results analysis — especially to people with minimal experience in the field.

She brings a seasoned and calm consultative approach to what are often stressful, ever-changing environments.
Ms. Mandracchia helps BBK’s clients understand the latest advertising, digital marketing, social, and media trends, as well as the country-by-country implications for their recruitment campaigns.

Providing a high level of sophistication to both strategic and operational initiatives, Ms. Mandracchia helps clients to execute and successfully manage today’s multichannel advertising campaigns.

She understands where traditional approaches work best and when championing new tactics will yield the greatest return on investment. Ms. Mandracchia also knows that metrics and analytics are important no matter which approach is taken. She always has her eye on increasing study enrollment numbers, ways to uncover cost efficiencies, and converting inquiries into referrals.

Ms. Mandracchia is a media expert and enthusiast; she is a calm and reassuring advisor, open to exploring new tactics. She uses digital media, social media, mobile, patient registries, and big data to find the right patients for the right trial. Following an adaptive recruitment model, she uses big data methods to forecast trends, highlight potential pitfalls, and project early and late enrollment long before issues arise. And while she is responsive to forecasts, Ms. Mandracchia is able to refrain from changing strategy if her experience tells her the outlined plan is going to come through.

She’s also always mindful of a client’s return on investment. Beyond ROI in advertising dollars and time saved, Ms. Mandracchia brings tremendous value in her ability to build relationships, educate clients, and make advertising theory and analytics accessible and understandable to all. Her goal going forward is to chart a new course in patient recruitment by championing the adoption of new media technologies and tactics.

Ultimately, Ms. Mandracchia’s media consultation helps BBK clients avoid delays, reduce costs, and create better, more efficient clinical trials.

One of Ms. Mandracchia’s most satisfying achievements was helping a global, rare disease study achieve its goals against all odds by implementing a fully integrated marketing campaign to enroll patients several months before the projected last patient in (LPI).

“Knowing that my team played a key role in offsetting recruitment costs so that budgets could be reallocated to patient care and research was incredibly satisfying,” she says.

Her clients and colleagues alike describe her as curious, tenacious, analytical, and a pleasure to work with, even, and maybe especially, during the most challenging of times.

Her leadership approach is based on an understanding that everyone has something valuable to offer and by being inquisitive, curious, and determined. She creates an environment that seeks to bridge the gap between what patients want and need and finding and delivering the right strategies and tactics to help those patients — and ultimately help advance clinical research.

Drawing inspiration from her mentors — BBK Worldwide Co-founders Joan Bachenheimer and Bonnie Brescia, Head of Strategic Consultation and Research Jaime Cohen, as well as BBK Principals Matthew Stumm and Matt Kibby — Ms. Mandracchia is eager to pay it forward by providing guidance to the next generation of patient recruitment professionals.

“Mentorship is incredibly important in this industry in particular, as we continue to work together to not only succeed in our own disciplines, but to improve the future of clinical R&D,” she says.


Wendy White
Title: Senior VP, Rare Disease, Dohmen Life Science Services
Company: Dohmen Life Science Services
Education: QBA, Indiana University
Family: Husband, Paul; children, Nate 21, Colin 18, Casey 14; and dog Lakota
Hobbies: Photography, gardening, reading
Bucket List:  Travel the Ta Araroa trail, New Zealand
Awards/Honors: Inc. 5,000 fastest growing companies award four years in a row; Healthcare Businesswomen’s Association’s President’s Award; Manny Heart Award
Associations: Healthcare Businesswoman’s Association; Global Genes; Healthcare Alliance; Chicago Life Science Consortium 
Tweet: @sirenwendy

PV0715_WendyWhiteRare Disease Visionary

Wendy White has accomplished some amazing things, not the least of which is the ability to play the bassoon. Her talents are not limited to conquering woodwind instruments, however. She has been instrumental in facilitating change in the rare disease space, as well as in the life-sciences marketing arena as a whole.

Ms. White took her own personal experience with rare disease and turned that into a compelling business platform. She examined her journey in finding answers for her own child with a rare disorder and realized it couldn’t be a singular experience; she intrinsically knew that there was a need, and a market, that could thrive with a very different, relationship marketing approach.

Her journey began when her young daughter was diagnosed with a very rare condition. The impact of this diagnosis helped shape her company vision and direction, and as a result Ms. White became a tremendous partner for biotechnology and pharmaceutical companies, helping to communicate and engage with patients in unique ways, and consequently helping bring more treatments to rare disease patients more quickly.

Over the past 15 years, she has become a world-class mentor, contributor, advocate, and rare disease activist.

Early on, Ms. White had a vision of a new way to address the needs of rare disease patients that many thought would be impossible to execute. But don’t tell Ms. White something is impossible. When she focused her firm, Siren Interactive, exclusively on rare diseases and orphan drugs, many questioned whether this business model might be too narrow. Despite the naysayers, Ms. White stuck to her vision and stayed steadfast and courageous in her strategy, developing a new successful form of relationship marketing that heavily integrated social media.

She partnered with the National Organization for Rare Disorders at the board level, and helped develop innovative programs to raise the profile of this related, but very separate, pharmaceutical market.

Her vision changed the entire industry, and soon she was leading the market — not only in the understanding of rare diseases — but in the relationship marketing techniques she pioneered and that are now being adopted across virtually all drug categories.

Her courage, foresight, business and strategic acumen, and natural leadership have brought her at the right time and to the right place — where she is now at the apex of one of the most exciting and still growing areas in pharma. She carefully arranged the industry pieces to align with a trend she always saw, clear as a bell.

And just as she knew rare diseases needed a singular focus, she also knew that there was the need and potential for more. The recent acquisition of Siren by Dohmen Life Science Services places her way ahead of the market curve, positioning both Siren and Dohmen to be able to make the biggest difference with the patient population. Ms. White negotiated her agency’s acquisition at the beginning of the year and she now leads Dohmen’s rare disease business segment as the new senior VP for rare diseases. In this role she continues to innovate on behalf of pharmaceutical and biotech clients and the patient communities they serve.

Colleagues say Ms. White possesses the key to driving innovation in any capacity because she never stops asking what could come next. Her ability to combine a mission-driven objective with exceptional business-building skills and pose fearless questions make the two-time PharmaVOICE 100 honoree a remarkable case study of how real change takes place.

Ms. White serves on the Global Genes Board of Directors and has been a tireless champion for the vital work that the organization does with grassroots rare disease patient advocacy programming.

It’s been quite a seminal year for Ms. White, and the first seven days were career defining. In the first week of January, she assumed her new role at Dohmen Life Science Services, became president of the Healthcare Businesswomen’s Association (HBA) and hosted the inaugural HBA event at JP Morgan, and helped launch a rare disease company — the first spinoff of the NIH TREND program.

As a mother, a business leader, a mentor, and a rare disease activist, she juggles a very busy schedule with grace. Her accomplishments cement her legacy in healthcare, in women’s leadership, and in the rare disease space. (PV)

 

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