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Title: Chief Commercial Officer
Company: Alcobra Pharma
Education: MBA, Duke University, Fuqua School of Business; B.A., Duke University
Family: Wife, Irene; son, Adam, 22; daughter, Rachel, 18
Hobbies: Avid Philadelphia and Duke sports fan; restaurants; travel; sampling fine wine, whiskey, and beer
Bucket List: Visit every major league baseball stadium with his son
Awards/Honors: Master’s Club (Top Sales Management), Merck; President’s Club, Top Marketing Management, Shire; MM&M, Small Pharma Brand of the Year (2004; Adderall XR)
Associations: PA BIO; Fuqua School of Business — Health Sector Advisory Committee; Neurotechnology Industry Organization
Dedicated Mentor and Advisor
An accomplished pharmaceutical leader, David Baker moved from Shire to Alcobra Pharma last year and in his wake he left many admirers. Former and current colleagues say Mr. Baker is a passionate, thoughtful mentor, who easily leads across geographical boundaries worldwide.
He’s able to switch easily and efficiently from business to business and from region to region.
Mr. Baker’s expertise, his respect for people, and his ability to connect with others are just a few of his key strengths that define his leadership style.
In his current position as chief commercial officer at Alcobra, an emerging pharmaceutical company primarily focused on the development and commercialization of its proprietary drug metadoxine extended release (MDX), which is being investigated to treat cognitive disorders, including attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) and Fragile X Syndrome, Mr. Baker is responsible for all precommercial activity for MDX and is leading the effort to establish brand awareness for the product in the medical community.
He also evaluates new opportunities for MDX, and other molecules in Alcobra’s pipeline and supports general investor and public relations functions at the company.
Mr. Baker joined Alcobra after serving 10 years at Shire, most recently as VP of commercial strategy and new business in the neuroscience business unit. In this role he led the commercial assessment of neuroscience licensing opportunities, managed commercial efforts on pipeline CNS products, and oversaw the long-term strategic planning process.
Previously, he had served as global general manager for Vyvanse, where he led a global cross-functional team responsible for the development, manufacture, and commercialization of Shire’s top selling product, Vyvanse.
He led the launch of Vyvanse in 2007, oversaw the launch of the adult indication for Vyvanse in 2008, and led global expansion efforts to take Shire’s ADHD portfolio beyond North America, including successful launches in Canada and Brazil and establishment of a partnership with Shionogi in Japan. Before that, Mr. Baker served as VP of marketing for all of Shire’s ADHD products. Under his leadership, Adderall XR became the No. 1 selling ADHD brand in the United States, Daytrana was launched as the first ADHD patch, and late-stage development and prelaunch commercial efforts for Intuniv were completed.
Even in light of his tremendous commercial successes, it is Mr. Baker’s dedication to mentorship and the development of talent within the organizations for which he works that have landed him on the PharmaVOICE 100 list this year.
Colleagues and peers say he treats everyone at all levels with the same amount of respect. He instills confidence in new and experienced staff equally. He encourages innovation and lets his team take risks. He is more than happy to meet with current staff and former staff members to discuss their career development, provide advice, or plan next steps. Coworkers say he is always looking out for the other guy with no benefit to himself. At a time when most companies are often more concerned with shareholder value at the cost of employees, there aren’t many people who possess this passion for mentorship, leadership, and truly care about others’ success.
Mr. Baker has expanded his passion for mentorship beyond those with whom he works. As a board member of the Philadelphia Education Fund, he started a mentorship program that originally paired professionals at Shire with first-generation college students from Philadelphia public high schools.
The Philadelphia Education Fund is a nonprofit organization whose mission is to drive exceptional outcomes for all students by developing great teachers and building paths to college and career success.
“We help first-generation college-going kids think about, prepare for, apply to, finance, and graduate from college,” he says.
The program began modestly with 12 mentor-mentee pairs and has now expanded to other companies and organizations that are providing mentorship to about 200 students to date. Mr. Baker takes his mentoring kudos in stride.
“I have benefited from great mentors throughout my career and am now at the point where I want to give back by sharing my experiences, to help pave the way for the next generation,” he says. “I lead by example and put in the kind of effort I would like to see others put in.”
Title: Executive VP
Company: TMAC Direct
Education: Master of Arts, New Mexico State University
Family: Wife, Jamie; two daughters, Maddilyn, 3; Olivia, 1
Hobbies: Studying and discussing the Bible, lifting weights, travel, creative writing, golfing, playing guitar and songwriting
Bucket List: Visit Jerusalem, Egypt, and Greece
Awards/Honors: No. 3 Worldwide Ranked Recruiter, 2014; No. 1 Worldwide Ranked Recruiter, 2013; No. 4 Worldwide Ranked Recruiter, 2012
Associations: Pinnacle Society; The MSL Society Advisory Committee
Michael Pietrack is one of the leading pharmaceutical and biotech recruiters in the country, and in 2013, he was recognized as the No. 1 Worldwide Recruiter in a recognizable global network, which consists of more than 5,000 recruiters in all industries. Since 2007, Mr. Pietrack has been helping companies recruit top talent in the medical affairs arena.
Recently, he joined forces with The Medical Affairs Company to create a new division, TMAC Direct, which provides direct placement of field medical teams and other medical affairs personnel under Mr. Pietrack’s lead.
“In forming TMAC Direct earlier this year, all my skillsets were used and new ones needed to be quickly developed,” he says. “Though the experience has been exceedingly positive and rewarding, it has been the most challenging assignment of my professional career because of the sheer size and scope.”
Mr. Pietrack’s leadership in the recruiting arena is exemplified by his willingness to go above and beyond the call of duty to get the job done.
Recently, Mr. Pietrack was instrumental in the success of hiring and launching a team of medical liaisons globally for a large pharmaceutical company. On the surface the assignment sounds routine enough, but these medical liaisons were required to have a terminal doctorate degree with experience in clinical research to ensure the successful recruitment of research sites and subjects for the conduct and completion of a worldwide Phase III clinical trial in prostate cancer. The company needed to hire both U.S. and ex-U.S. MSL teams. To achieve the goals of the program, Mr. Pietrack took an innovative approach using his network and connections.
Mr. Pietrack screened more than 100 profiles and phone screened 40-plus candidates within a few days. He lined up qualified candidates before the end of one week. Within three weeks, he had completed a task that was initially scoped to take a couple of months. And within two months, all positions were filled, all MSLs had been trained in the United States, Australia, and Europe, and they were out in the field working with study investigators. But Mr. Pietrack didn’t stop there; he used his leadership, mentoring, and talent development expertise to work at developing appropriate plans for retention and promotion. His creativity and hands-on approach was instrumental in the success of the program.
Colleagues credit Mr. Pietrack for repeatedly delivering similar innovative solutions to complex problems. For his inspired efforts, he has been honored a number of times with recognition of his capabilities around achieving people-focused goals.
Every day, he inspires the medical affairs professionals he works with as well as other recruiters worldwide. In his office, one can overhear him routinely helping candidates prepare for interviews even though he’s not their recruiter.
He continues to work on a blog that is designed to either help MSL candidates or companies looking for MSL professionals, and he posts his tips for the public’s benefit.
This non-transactional mindset is what differentiates and distinguishes him among his colleagues and it inspires others to pay it forward. The words he lives by, “No one ever became poor by giving.”
With a background steeped in athletics, both as a baseball player and a coach, he draws a similarity between the business world and team sports. Each player must take care of his or her individual responsibilities for the collective team to win. Someone has to get on base, and then at times, someone has to sacrifice bunt them to second. Then another teammate is tasked with driving in the run. Each step of the process is crucial.
“Unless everyone is executing in all phases of the game, the team is bound to underperform,” Mr. Pietrack says. “Although I have hung up my cleats and am no longer on the diamond, I use these valuable lessons every day.”(PV)