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These forward-thinking leaders are inspiring their teams to achieve far-reaching goals and strategically positioning their companies for success as they navigate complex industry challenges.
A Celebration of Leadership
Titles and Companies: CEO, TBWA\WorldHealth and Chief Client Officer, Omnicom Health Group
Industry Awards: Healthcare Businesswomen’s Association Woman of the Year, 2019; MedAdNews Industry Person of the Year, 2018; PharmaVOICE 100, 2017; HBA STAR Volunteer, 2006
Company Awards: MedAdNews Agency of the Year, 2019
Community Awards: Arthritis Foundation Commitment to a Cure honoree, 2019; Women’s Venture Fund Highest Leaf Award, 2014
Associations: Healthcare Businesswomen’s Association, advisory board; LGBT Victory Fund, vice chair; Arthritis Foundation, board; Women Against Alzheimer’s, board; Coalition for Healthcare Communications, board; 4A’s Government Relations Committee
Nobody cares how much you know, until they know how much you care.” This quote sums up Sharon Callahan’s leadership style to perfection. She sincerely believes in leading with love. “Love creates an environment for everyone to thrive, and when people thrive, the business thrives too,” Sharon says. “When you love the people who you work with, there is space for them to be imperfectly human, which is actually perfect.”
She learned this lesson from her son Henry, who when he was 9 years old said to her: “stop talking to me like I’m one of your employees.”
“This is when I realized that being a decisive, focused leader who gets things done didn’t work so well at home and certainly didn’t make him feel loved,” Sharon says. “It made me think that, maybe my way of being at work didn’t make people feel cared about either. In that one sentence, Henry reminded me to express love in every part of my life because leadership isn’t a thing that you do, or a philosophy, it’s who you are. It’s a lot of little things, like treating people with generosity and respect, having integrity, and telling the truth — even if it means having difficult conversations. Because that’s what relationships are. Relationships are everything, in your life, and in your career.”
Sharon’s efforts to create a great place to work have paid off with big dividends in a short amount of time. In three short years as CEO of TBWA\WorldHealth and chief client officer of Omnicom Health Group, Sharon has led TBWA\WorldHealth to triple in size and celebrate numerous creative awards for some of the industry’s most important and cutting-edge brands. In 2018, Sharon was named Industry Person of the Year, in 2019 TBWA\WorldHealth was recognized as Agency of the Year, and this May she was named Woman of the Year by the Healthcare Businesswomen’s Association (HBA).
“My biggest career highlight was being honored as 2019 HBA Woman of the Year,” she says. “I’m very proud of this honor because it not only recogizes the success I’ve had in our business, but more importantly acknowledges my style of leadership and my track record of nurturing top talent, especially my commitment to advancing the influence and impact of women in our business. It’s no surprise that 62% of our leadership team is women — we are authentic, we do good, and we raise hell.”
A little more than three years ago, she was CEO of a small advertising agency, LLNS. Leadership from Omnicom, LLNS’s parent company, asked Sharon to work with the CEO of another agency and merge the two companies to make a bigger and better agency that would bring more value to clients. “As we formed a leadership team, I quickly discovered why mergers don’t work,” she says. “Mergers give you limited choices — I get the job, or you get the job, our way or your way, this culture or that culture. Everyone loses, and it takes too long. We were supposed to create greater value, but we just saw stalemates and compromises.”
She took the reigns with a vision of what could be. “We focused our energy on connecting with each other as a leadership team in a more real and genuine way, and as we broke some rules and had some fun, we started trusting each other,” she says. “That trust allowed us to stop looking at what we had and start looking at what was possible. When you live in possibility, you can create anything because infinite choices become available to you. We didn’t spend any more time figuring out which company had the better thing — we challenged ourselves to make a new company that was not only bigger and better, but smarter, more compassionate, and more imaginative than any company we had known.”
Colleagues are inspired by Sharon’s authenticity, her accessibility, and her willingness to be a sounding board and mentor — formally and informally. No matter how busy she is, she always sets aside time each week for one very important task: mentoring. “Sitting down for a coffee with a young person to hear what they’re up to and to offer them the benefit of my experience is one of the most valuable uses of my time,” Sharon says. “My goal is to leave this industry better than I found it. And I hope to accomplish this by mentoring and nurturing diverse talent so that they can have the dream career that I’ve enjoyed.”
Sharon defines success through the value she brings to others. “My friend, coach, and mentor Ellen Fields, always reminds me that when you bring your whole self to work every day, that gives everyone you work with permission to do the same,” she says. “This requires vulnerability, which often makes us uncomfortable. And that allowing yourself to be truly seen leaves people touched, moved, and inspired — and we’re all better for it.” (PV)
Connecting the Dots for Clinical Innovation
Cynthia Verst, Pharm.D.
Title: President, Design and Delivery Innovation, Research & Development Solutions
Industry Awards: One of the Top Women in Biotech by Fierce Biotech, 2014
Company Awards: Core-Powered Team earned the CEO Team Award, which recognized its innovation, high performance, passion, and substantive impact to the enterprise, 2017
Associations: ACRO, Chair of the Board of Directors Chair; Q2 Solutions — a joint venture between IQVIA and Quest Diagnostics, board member; Drug Information Association (DIA)
Throughout a 25-year career in clinical development and late-phase research, Cynthia Verst, Pharm.D., M.S., has assembled high-performing teams, successfully led the world’s largest R&D clinical operations group, and built three leading real-world and late-phase research business units within the clinical research organization industry.
She is widely regarded as a dynamic leader with a proven track record for operational excellence and driving business-critical growth within the evolving healthcare landscape.
Cyndi is the enterprise leader of IQVIA’s CORE-powered clinical development approach, an initiative that leverages the combined Quintiles and IMS Health merger assets to transform the R&D industry, drive productivity, and to help sponsors get new therapies to patients faster. CORE-powered solutions and the team have helped IQVIA drive impressive new business performance in the first two years post-merger. Early indicators are very promising and reveal fewer protocol amendments, reduced timelines, and significant acceleration of patient enrollment rates.
She describes her latest role as her most challenging due to the required amalgamation of R&D and real-world evidence; change management requirements; the merger of two different, but complementary business models; and the learning curve of data science domain expertise.
Before being appointed president of clinical operations in 2015, Cyndi served as president of real-world and late-phase research at Quintiles. Before joining what is now IQVIA, she served as senior VP of global late phase research for OptumInsight, a division of UnitedHealth Group, where she and her team successfully established a global late-phase research business unit. Cyndi began her career in biopharma at Procter & Gamble Pharmaceuticals as section head in its North American medical and technical affairs group, successfully leading the Phase IIIb/IV research requirements of marketed products.
In addition to her role at IQVIA, Cyndi is chair of the Association of Clinical Research Organizations (ACRO), making her a principal voice in the clinical development industry. At ACRO, part of her remit is setting the agenda for 2019, which is to drive greater connectivity with regulators and make sure the industry understands the impact that CROs and technology companies have in transforming clinical development.
She has been instrumental in transforming the association by including technology providers along with research companies among the membership, which has produced 30% year-over-year growth.
Colleagues say Cyndi is an inspirational force, who leads with a mission to help design, build, and launch transformative R&D solutions that improve patient care.
“One distinct profession goal is to improve patient care by helping to ensure that clinical research becomes a clinical care option via data and technology enablement between investigators and community physicians,” she says.
With unlimited resources, she would address the challenge of patient access to clinical trials. “I would create a democratized, digital research community that would entail all the required benefits/utilities to encourage healthcare ecosystem-wide adoption,” she says.
Cyndi is known for her ability to crystalize issues and then lead a team toward solutions. Always data-driven, she encourages a wide range of input and feedback and builds consensus while making all team members feel heard and respected. She is passionate about improving the processes of drug development in order to get new drugs, biologics, and devices to the patients who need them sooner.
When the going gets tough, she focuses on keeping the vision and expected outcomes top of mind to keep the team motivated, all the while showing a deep appreciation and recognition of their hard work.
She says for her, success is the sense of making a difference in the advancement of clinical research and in the career development of her team members.
As for what she would do differently, she says her past successes and failures and her journey define her, and she wouldn’t change a thing. (PV)
Setting the Vision for Innovation
Simplifier-in-Chief. Problem Solver.
Industry Awards: MassBioEd Foundation’s Champions for Biotechnology Award, 2018; CEO of the Year, CPhI Pharma, 2016; PharmaVOICE 100, 2016; multiple honors and awards, including nationally competitive, recognized fellowships at Merck & Co., DuPont, and Mitsubishi
Company Awards: MilliporeSigma named by Boston Business Journal’s “Best Places to Work” list, 2019; named in The Boston Globe’s annual “Top Places to Work” list, 2016 and 2017; received an exclusive certification as a top employer in North America by the independent Top Employers Institute, 2018, 2017; R&D 100 Award for Corporate Responsibility, 2017; R&D 100 Award for Top Innovations, 2016; Life Science Industry Award, BioInformatics, 2016
Associations: Greater Boston Chamber of Commerce, board member; Massachusetts Biotechnology Council and the Massachusetts High Technology Council, vice chairman, chairman — June 2019; Advisory Council at Princeton University’s Department of Chemical Engineering, Advisory Council at the University of Delaware’s Department of Chemical Engineering
When Merck KGaA Darmstadt, Germany acquired Sigma-Aldrich in 2015, the organization doubled overnight, leaving its leadership team with a lot to do. But for Udit Batra, CEO of MilliporeSigma, the first order of business was clear: give employees a sense of purpose to unite. “Our purpose is to collaborate with the global scientific community to solve the toughest problems,” he says. “We introduced this goal in 2015, and if you ask anyone in our organization anywhere in the world, they will repeat it back, verbatim. These are not just words — we all truly believe that this is how we can accelerate access to better health.”
Leading the acquisition of Sigma-Aldrich for Merck KGaA, Darmstadt, Germany was a true highlight for Udit. The merger is the largest in the company’s 350-year history. “Since we closed the deal, we have outpaced the market in terms of sales growth, year over year,” he says. “We are realigning all our SKUs into a handful of umbrella brands and making it simpler for customers to interact with us. Our innovation intensity is now twice what it was when we started this process. In 2014, roughly 2% of our sales were driven by innovative products launched in the previous five years. Today, that number is nearly 5%.”
Udit says he is humbled to lead MilliporeSigma and couldn’t ask for a better job. The company is seeing new science coming to the forefront, from the microbiome to novel treatments, including cell and gene therapies. And it is leading the way in genome-editing technology, with 18 patents granted to date.
“We are not bystanders; we collaborate with our customers from the beginning of their journey — from research and discovery to manufacturing to testing, as they bring new medicines to market,” he says.
His goal is to set a vision and lead people to it. This requires a lot of collaboration and communication, listening, reading, and observation. “I want to see with my own eyes what motivates every employee at MilliporeSigma,” During visits to the company’s 59 global facilities, he meets with colleagues and customers, to understand, first hand, the challenges they face and opportunities they seek. He is particularly motivated by the innovation taking place in the M Lab Collaboration Center, where engineers, scientists, and customers work side by side, learning, training, exploring. There are nine of these labs located around the globe.
Udit plays a key role in creating an environment of innovation through three guiding principles: getting alignment on the problem statement; getting comfortable with nuances; and engaging leaders who know the space where innovation happens. To address that last point, the company created an innovation board that includes the heads of R&D, strategy and business development, intellectual property, and quality and regulatory affairs.
“We meet monthly to discuss technologies and manage the rhythm of execution in R&D across the organization,” he says. “It’s a powerful group precisely because we understand the science behind every idea.”
One of Udit’s favorite activities beyond the office is the organization’s Curiosity Cube, a retrofitted shipping container turned mobile science lab. “The Cube crisscrosses the United States and Canada, mostly visiting underserved communities to increase access to science education in elementary and middle schools,” he says. “The concept is based on our Curiosity Labs program, in which our employees go into classrooms and conduct hands-on experiments. With the Curiosity Cube, we’re able to extend our impact beyond the classroom and reach even more students and their families. Since its inception, the Cube has reached nearly 75,000 students in North America.” (PV)
From Lab to Life
Company: Syneos Health
Associations: Healthcare Businesswomen’s Association
Alistair Macdonald’s ability to evaluate a situation, deploy a process-oriented and productive team, and communicate his passion for the outcome are the hallmarks of his leadership style. This style has served him well as he’s run just about every type of company in the industry during his career, putting several organizations in good order after significant mergers. Today, as CEO of Syneos Health he is once again bringing these key leadership strengths to the table.
“This is the biggest, scariest, and hardest thing I have ever been a part of, but it’s delivering on the vision that we have to change the development and product delivery paradigm,” he says. “I’m focused on building the right team to deliver the Syneos Health model in its lab to life entirety. My goal is to build an organization that changes the way that drugs are delivered to market. We want to speed up the process, enable maximum economic return for our customers, and get much needed treatments into the hands of patients.”
Colleagues say Alistair is the right person for the job to oversee almost 24,000 clinical and commercial personnel in support of customers in more than 110 countries. They say he is unfailingly kind, caring, authentic, and driven to do the right thing.
“My job is to challenge the status quo with my team, and see that they cascade challenges and come up with new solutions,” he says. “As CEO of a large company like Syneos Health, it’s easy to get a bit distant from the day-to-day business, but I like to challenge, I like to ask questions, and I like to see it spark the curiosity in the team. We should all be challenging the status quo every day — we should not fear change and should embrace new ideas.”
Alistair inspires those around him through the enthusiasm he brings to the organization, ensuring that everyone lives Syneos Health’s patient value “Passionate to Change Lives,” which he says is at the core of everything they do.
“I’m also an eternal optimist and continually look for the good in people,” he says. “If you can see the good and help a person realize their potential, their performance is better and so is their overall experience.”
Through his many leadership roles, Alistair knows that different people respond to different stimuli, so he has learned to lean in on different styles to motivate individuals.
“I know I can lean pretty hard on some people, and need to put my arm around others,” he says. “I’m very flexible, and I have a strong need to see that people are treated fairly. I do believe in what goes around comes around, so I want people to recognize that while I’m fair and occasionally firm, it’s always for the good of the organization.”
Alistair and his teams are motivated knowing that the work they do is making a difference to patients everywhere.
“I know we don’t own the products we work on, but I think the delivery we bring is second to none,” he says. “The model we are deploying is shaving valuable time from the product development lifecycle and that’s my mission.”
Always pragmatic, Alistair realizes there are bumps in the road that can be frustrating, but for him the payback for the hard work is in some of the letters and e-mails he and his team receive from sites, patients, and particularly parents and families of patients.
“I recently received an email from a mother of a patient who was involved in one of our rare disease trials sharing an image of her daughter’s wheelchair gathering dust in their garage,” he says. “It brought me to tears at my desk — and I don’t mind admitting that. I felt so proud of our team, of the customer, and their product. The patient is now out enjoying a new life. This is amazingly rewarding, and we all need to remember that we are a part of that.”
Alistair is an ardent believer in mentoring, noting everyone in a senior position should be a mentor. “You got where you did because you did something well, and we should all be passing our success and learnings on to the next generation,” he says. “It’s beyond just mentoring about work, as the world is a tough place, and people need support in all sorts of ways. It’s important to me as I get a big personal kick out of seeing others being successful and happy. I hate it when people are unhappy, it cuts me. I tell my folks be happy, get help if you’re not, and remember a problem shared is a problem halved. Talk about issues, and if you can’t fix something today then let’s have another go at it tomorrow.”
Alistair is also dedicated to making sure Syneos Health has a gender-balanced and diverse workforce. In support of this mission, Syneos Health is a member of the Healthcare Businesswomen’s Association (HBA). To further support the development of diverse leaders, the company launched an internal recognition program modeled after the prestigious HBA awards, the Syneos Health Rising Star and Luminary Awards program.
Thus far the program has honored more than 60 women worldwide, providing expanded career visibility opportunities and peer-to-peer networking. This year, the program grew to include a Syneos Health Mentor of the Year Award, which honored Mike Menta, president, Syneos Health Consulting.
“I care about the people who work at Syneos Health and those who move on from us,” he says. “If we don’t show that we care about our people and their development, then they won’t care about the work we do or the patients we impact.” (PV)
Healthcare’s Digital Evangelist
Title: Chief Digital Officer — Health
Industry Awards: The 2018 Media for Social Impact Leadership Council Award; Cannes Lion — The Grand Prix in Product Design for Kingo
Associations: Christopher and Dana Reeve Foundation, board member; AAFA.org
Passionate about all things digital, Ritesh Patel has been leading Ogilvy on a journey of innovation in his role as chief digital officer, health.
When he joined Ogilvy Health, he inherited a small team of talented, digitally minded employees and has since grown that team to include strategists, content strategists, and developers who created a culture of digital innovation to help clients think digital.
“We worked to create the industry’s first marketing cloud, enabling clients to truly have a 360-degree view of their HCP customers,” he says. “I also led the team to successfully create an electronic health record practice enabling clients to directly message healthcare providers on an EHR platform. About 85 client brands now use this innovative solution.”
Ritesh was also the lead curator of the Ogilvy Health Innovation Lab, which has been responsible for showcasing “the art of the possible.” Under this guidance, the lab is focused on voice-activated systems such as Alexa and Google Home, connected homes, wearables, chatbots, and AI and how these tools and technologies have and will continue to impact healthcare in the not-too-distant future.
Ritesh has achieved all this during a period of significant change for the industry. But no matter how great the challenge is, he is always determined to find a solution. Now working for Ogilvy’s consulting practice, he consults with major clients on digital transformation and innovation. “We are managing through a period of incredible change in our industry and at Ogilvy,” he says. “My goal is to continue to grow and learn from my peers and colleagues and educate and entice a new generation of folks to have a passion for healthcare.”
Ritesh, who was recognized as a PharmaVOICE 100 in 2018, evangelizes the power of digital wherever possible, speaking regularly at industry events, conducting workshops and webinars, and sharing as much knowledge as he possibly can with others.
“Early in my career, I was exposed to the power of computers and their ability to disrupt businesses,” he says.
He understands that delivering innovative solutions is hard because it involves navigating uncharted waters. “I try to be the calm in the storm and keep people focused on the big picture and the goal,” he says. “And, while this may sound crazy coming from a digital evangelist, I do worry that sometimes we are looking to machines to solve every problem. We need to be more thoughtful about how all the technology we are embracing will impact our world.”
Two barriers he would like to see broken are the silos that exist within the industry, which make it hard to achieve true collaboration. Additionally, Ritesh would like to ensure that the regulatory bodies are better funded and staffed to keep pace with the rate of innovation.
Colleagues say they are as positively impacted by Ritesh as are clients and partners. He seeks to educate and inspire those around him by showing them the art of the possible, supporting those who need it, and creating an environment for the best minds to succeed.
Mentoring is important to Ritesh, who believes in helping people grow, learn, and achieve their true potential.
“I thrive in providing career advice, work advice, and sometimes just being there to listen,” he says. “Success to me has always been about seeing the people I have mentored or worked with go on to do amazing things.”
He also takes the time to give back to underserved communities, through the boards he sits on, such as the Asthma and Allergy Foundation of America. (PV)
The Quest for Clinical Innovation
Company: Cenduit LLC
Industry Awards: PharmaVOICE 100, 2019; 2019 Triangle Business Journal 40 Under 40, in recognition of his business accomplishments and contributions to the community
Company Awards: Top 5 finalist in the Lehigh Valley Business of the Year Award, 2018; Grant Thornton’s list of the top 100 largest private companies in North Carolina, 2018
Associations: A Wishgranter and a Trailblazer Champion for the Make a Wish Foundation of Eastern North Carolina; the Marbles Kids Museum, helping to further the organization’s commitment to STEM related initiatives in Triangle Research Park; mentor for the Triangle Startup Network; SPCA of Wake County
With a quest to drive better connectivity among people, processes, and technologies, Sam Osman has been redefining Cenduit’s focus from solely providing interactive response technology (IRT) to helping sponsors gain better control of their trials with complementary eClinical technologies and services.
Soon after he was named CEO, Sam began an ongoing practice of visiting sponsors around the globe to learn about their current clinical research programs and their ambitions for future research. Part of his charter was to encourage and partner with sponsors to replace outdated manual processes with modern eClinical technologies.
Under Sam’s leadership, Cenduit has earned a global reputation for enabling sponsors to safely, quickly, and economically build quality clinical trials regardless of size, complexity, geography, or indication. In 2018, Cenduit achieved its highest year-over-year bookings and number of go-live events for study starts in company history.
“I want to drive the global adoption of healthcare technology and reduce friction for the capture and use of clinical data in the same way that social media has become an integral and daily part of our lives,” Sam says. “Randomization and trial supply management and associated eClinical technologies are directly linked to bettering patient lives. I want my teams to challenge the status quo and build clinical trial technologies that proactively yield a better quality of life for all patients and their families.”
He understands the patient journey intimately. Early in Sam’s life, he was a professional athlete and faced the nearly insurmountable challenge of learning to walk again after contracting osteomyelitis and multiple surgeries following a car accident.
“This pivotal and life-changing event made me incredibly passionate about devoting my career to the life-sciences industry and to developing new technologies that would focus on improving the quality of life for all patients,” he says.
Sam has transformed the way in which Cenduit’s R&D teams embed themselves into future products and service developments. He was instrumental in Cenduit’s Innovation Hackathon, which allows developers, product managers, and others to spend several days working together collaboratively to develop new technological innovations, several of which have become part of Cenduit’s product roadmap.
“Every day we run transactions that provide patients with medications that can improve their quality of life,” Sam says. “Doing our job better is what keeps me motivated.”
Drugs are coming to market faster and studies are getting more complex, and those who are developing clinical solutions must think two steps ahead. Sam says the industry needs to prepare for the future advancements needed to address rare diseases and other complexities not yet seen or realized across diverse therapeutic areas. He notes that anticipation, research, and being adaptable to this future are key.
A galvanizing leader, Sam says his job is to inspire and energize Cenduit’s global teams toward its goals.
“In this industry, we can achieve so much more together to solve problems and anticipate what the future holds through diversity of thought,” he says. “I want to be remembered as a leader who challenges and pushes others to follow their passions and catalyze a variety of perspectives and backgrounds.”
Colleagues admire his ability to create a sense of purpose and vision for the group, translate broad strategies into specific objectives, and allocate resources according to strategic priorities. He communicates directly with clarity, transparency, and honesty. Sam consistently delivers on commitments while upholding the highest standards of quality. He sets clear and high expectations and holds himself and others accountable for decisions and results achieved.
“I want to build, inspire, and continue to grow a global team of problem solvers, who are on a mission to develop technology and creative solutions that fundamentally change the way we approach digital healthcare,” he says. “The possibilities are limitless when everyone recognizes that they have the potential to be effective by tapping into their own passion — be that by developing an app, solving for a critical quality issue, or leading a new study build.”
Equally, Sam sees his role as not only making a difference in the industry but also to the lives of the people who work with him. (PV)
Rocking it for Digital Innovation.
Title: Partner and Chief Digital Officer
Company: Calcium USA LLC
Industry Awards: Elite Award Winner, Digital Crusader, PM360, 2019
Company Awards: Agency of the Year, Med Ad News, 2018
For many years, Don Feiler has been at the vanguard of helping agencies and marketers transform the way they think about targeting and reaching customers. His goal is to provide them with rich and relevant content that can be customized to their individual needs.
However, what truly distinguishes Don is his strategic digital thinking. For him, digital is much more than just a channel or platform; it’s a unique mode of content delivery that should be strongly allied with a brand or business strategy to deliver the transformative results agencies and their clients seek.
As chief digital officer at Calcium, Don remains at the forefront of discovering leading-edge technological solutions and making them actually work to help drive success.
“At Calcium, it’s my job to sort through all of the new technologies and channels and buzzwords and noise to find solutions that actually work, and work in a way that is on strategy to move the needle for our clients,” he says.
He understands that the pharmaceutical industry tends to lag behind the rest of the business world when it comes to digital communications. “Keeping our digital pros sharp, and selling robust, challenging projects to our clients is a big challenge,” he says.
One of the barriers is the regulation of life-sciences communications, he says, noting that it’s important to move these into the 21st century to give citizens valuable interactions that could improve overall health and quality of life.
“We need to find better ways to allow all parties, including patients and caregivers, to communicate in a modern modality,” he says.
Don began his digital and entrepreneurial journey in 1998 with the formation of Archetype Digital Solutions, a boutique graphics and digital services company. With Wyeth-Ayerst as his first client, Don grew the business to include digital support for Philadelphia-area pharmaceutical agencies, which involved building websites, intranets, online medical education offerings, interactive booth activities and kiosks, and early laptop-delivered e-details. He eventually merged Archetype Digital Solutions into the Star Group and assumed the role of executive VP, digital services, overseeing all of the agency’s digital work in CPG, professional services, life sciences, B2B, higher education, and automotive verticals.
Don believes in surrounding himself with smart people, placing them in a positive work environment with well-defined roles and responsibilities, and getting out of their way.
He measures success in human terms, saying when he sees a team member manage a difficult situation or overcome an obstacle to create great work, or step in unasked to help a colleague he considers these wins.
“If our people are consistently challenging themselves and cranking out personal best efforts, our work product will be consistently superior,” he says.
When challenges arise he strives to maintain an even keel, noting that people take their cues from their leaders. In his leadership role, he maintains a “not to worry, we’ve got this” posture, which he says is crucial to weathering challenging situations. He models advice from early in his career: don’t get too excited when things are going well, and don’t get too worried when things aren’t going so well.
Don says there’s nothing he would change about his path because without his past experiences he wouldn’t have the insights and learnings he has today. “It was a big step in my evolution when I stopped thinking about ‘what I would do differently’ and put all of my energy into ‘what will I do next?’” he says. (PV)
Connecting Pharma and Patients
Company: Real Endpoints
Community Awards: Downtown Community Enrichment Award for establishing and running tutoring program in Newark
Associations: Healthcare Businesswomen’s Association; B.I.G. Meeting for Women Entrepreneurs; DEEPC — tutoring program in downtown Newark
Patient-centricity is a hot topic now, but Susan Raiola, president of Real Endpoints, was a pioneer in the field long before the importance of hub and patient services were even on many people’s radar. Susan is on a life mission to help pharmaceutical manufacturers connect with their patients in a meaningful, real-world way.
With more than a decade of experience in the pharmaceutical industry, Susan has consulted for both large and small pharmaceutical companies and has assisted with the commercial strategy across multiple therapeutic areas, including immunology, gastroenterology, cardiovascular, oncology, as well as orphan diseases.
“We have witnessed exponential change within the healthcare ecosystem arena over the past 24 months related to access and reimbursement,” Susan says. “I am singularly focused on innovating on behalf of pharma companies and payers, with a particular concentration on the value proposition of products brought to market and how this impacts the lives of patients. Today, pharma companies need to think about so much more than the molecules they bring to market; they now must understand all of the wrap-around services that help make their medications effective.”
Real Endpoints is a boutique pharmaceutical services firm that solves some of the most vexing issues related to pricing and reimbursement, and linking pharmaceutical companies and payers in a holistic way. With her unique skill set and insights, Susan has become an invaluable contributor to in-line and launch success by helping pharmaceutical partners truly understand their patient populations and real-world needs as well as bringing them closer to other key stakeholders, such as physicians, office staff, and advocacy groups.
Living her mission, Susan has created a deep expertise in understanding the patient journey and helping pharmaceutical manufacturers shape and provide best-in-class services to meet the important needs of their patients. She is the go-to expert for pharmaceutical manufacturers to understand the must-haves of patient and hub services and how to gain the most value out of those programs while being a champion for patients.
Colleagues say she has an amazing ability to collaborate and she is able to bridge a range of functional teams.
“I try to inspire my teams by being enthusiastic and demonstrating a deep commitment to our mission,” she says. “I have found that positive energy, and a caring concern is returned exponentially.”
Susan considers herself to be part leader and part coach, modeling her approach after that of the Hall of Fame basketball coach John Wooden: “True success is attained only through the satisfaction of knowing you did everything within the limits of your ability to become the very best that you are capable of being.”
As a thought leader, Susan has developed several novel diagnostic assessments to help optimize the design of patient-support programs based on competitor benchmarking, key stakeholder insights, and assessments of customer unmet needs and pain points.
She truly believes that empowering others and helping them to grow makes the biggest difference in life. “Being a mentor is very important to me,” she says.
Watching Susan work so effectively with pharma clients to create successful results is astonishing, colleagues say. Companies will completely overhaul their patient support programs after getting recommendations from Susan and her team.
“As the pharma industry continues to evolve, I am motivated to support and drive that evolution, connecting the dots and providing excellent service to every customer with whom I come into contact, as well as patients and solving some of the varying issues in pharma,” she says. (PV)
Achieving Success Through Authenticity
Title: Chairman and CEO
Company: Equillium Inc.
Awards: Father of the Year from the American Diabetes Association, 2011; the Corporate Directors Forum Director of the Year Award for Enhancing Economic Value, 2012
Associations: Member of the Board of Trustees at the Keck Graduate Institute, at Claremont College; UCSD Rady School of Management, Dean’s Advisory Council; BIOCOM; San Diego Exploratory Foundation
Among circles of academics, researchers, investors, life-science peers and influencers, Dan Bradbury is an experienced and respected name that carries a lot of weight. As a leader who is committed to mentoring and knowledge sharing, Dan has continued to be involved in company creation serving as an investor, advisor, or director with more than 35 start-ups under his belt.
As chairman and CEO at Equillium, Dan leads a team with deep expertise that is developing therapies for severe immuno-inflammatory diseases where there is a significant unmet need. Equillium’s lead product candidate, itolizumab, targets T cell modulation, offering broad therapeutic utility in treating a diverse set of inflammatory diseases. Equillium is currently pursuing three disease indications for itolizumab, including acute graft versus host disease (aGVHD), uncontrolled moderate to severe asthma, and lupus nephritis.
The formation of Equillium came about when Dan was presented with the opportunity to acquire the rights to itolizumab, a therapeutic that uniquely targets the CD6/ALCAM pathway. He quickly assembled a leadership team comprised of industry veterans and guided the company through a successful IPO, all within a timespan of about 19 months.
Before Equillium, Dan was CEO of Amylin Pharmaceuticals, where he is credited with driving growth and steering the company’s eventual acquisition by Bristol-Myers Squibb for more than $5 billion. Thanks to Dan’s leadership, Amylin launched three first-in-class medicines, including the first once-a-week therapy to treat diabetes. However, the road was not always smooth. “In a two-year span from 2009 to 2011, I successfully managed Amylin Pharmaceuticals through a workforce reduction, followed by a proxy challenge, and a complete response letter from the FDA,” he says. Despite these challenges, Dan drove tremendous innovation in the space, including the successful launch of Byetta and Bydureon (exenatide).
Dan has been involved in several significant product launches, including the licensing of Exendin-4, the first GLP-1 receptor agonist in 1996 and he was a key member of the team that successfully commercialized Byetta in 2005.
“However, the biggest highlight of my career was the launch of Bydureon in 2012 when I was the CEO of Amylin,” he says. “Bydureon was the first extended-release, once-weekly, GLP-1 receptor agonist.” To this day, Dan keeps in his office a 3D model of exenatide binding to the GLP-1 receptor that his daughter made when she was an intern at Scripps Research Institute at the age of 16.
“She identified an additional bond that we hadn’t even discovered when I was at Amylin,” he says.
Developing medicines that truly bring value to people and change their lives remains his top professional priority.
Being in an industry that works toward developing life-changing new medicines is what gives him purpose.
He believes one of the biggest challenges facing the industry is how to fund innovation and how the healthcare system can make new innovative medicines widely available and affordable.
“There’s not a lack of innovative science, in fact, we’re in a golden age of biology,” he says. “The biggest challenge is how to enable wider access to these new medicines.”
Always calm and resourceful under pressure, Dan’s view is that any problem can be tackled with the right people around the table. His goal is to enable others to be successful, and he gives those around him the resources they need to reach their objectives.
These are lessons he took from mentors in his life, who have emphasized the importance of having a great team. One of the best pieces of advice he received was that it’s not important to always be the one who steps forward or makes the decision.
“My leadership style is to not tell people what to do, but to support others and ensure they have the resources to be successful,” Dan says. “When challenges arise, I try to clearly and openly communicate what the challenges are, and I try to keep people focused on the end goal — the importance of creating innovative medicines.”
Dan understands the importance and value each person plays in building a sustainable biotechnology business.
Having received great support in his career, Dan currently mentors several first-time CEOs, which allows him to share his experience and be involved in helping other people be successful.
“It’s satisfying when you give advice, and it works out with a great result for the company and for patients,” he says.
Success for Dan is measured in terms of happiness from achievements, whether it’s from the launch of new medicines or letters from patients received after a product has been approved.
“It inspires me to see Bydureon, which I was involved with since the beginning, positively impact countless lives, including a friend I’ve known for 20 years who still continues to use the drug,” he says. (PV)
A Purposeful Life
Change Agent. Passionate and Intense.
Donald A. Deieso, Ph.D.
Title: Executive Chairman and CEO
Company: WIRB-Copernicus Group
Industry Awards: PharmaVOICE 100, 2019 and 2016
Company Awards: 20 Innovators Changing the Face of the Clinical Trials Industry, CenterWatch, 2013; EY
Entrepreneur of the Year, finalist in New Jersey, 2010
Donald Deieso, Ph.D.’s intrinsic values of commitment, living a purposeful life, and contributing to mankind are evident to all who work with him. As executive chairman and CEO of WIRB-Copernicus Group (WCG), he sets an example for colleagues by displaying strength of character in daily behavior and applying values in times of challenge.
Dr. Deieso stands as a champion for patients. “I have enjoyed the opportunity to lead eight companies during my career,” he says. “While each has been rewarding in many ways, building the WCG family of companies has been the most gratifying. Improving the clinical trial process to bring new drugs to market has such a profound impact on so many lives. It is humbling to consider that the actions of WCG positively affect millions of lives through our involvement in each new drug or device. The scale of this endeavor exceeds what any single one of us can do. We set out to do good while doing well.”
In that regard, since the founding in 2012, the company has grown more than 15 times in size. But for those at WCG, under Dr. Deieso’s leadership this simply means helping many more patients enjoy better cures and interventions. “I am proud to be a small part of this great organization,” he says. “Success to me means fulfilling the important mission of WCG — improving the health of millions of lives who rely on us to make a difference. I constantly remind the WCG organization to never forget that they are servants to mankind. It is a sacred trust made with patients throughout the world.”
Dr. Deieso’s colleagues know he is invested in their success and development as patient champions. “Being a leader requires a deep understanding of psychology as applied to human nature,” he says. “Inspiring people to follow the mission of an organization and to align their interests to living a purposeful life is what separates leaders from followers. Doing this while respecting the integrity of each colleague and serving as a role model for their behavior is no small accomplishment.”
Colleagues say Dr. Deieso is always willing to roll up his sleeves and pitch in. “I bring together the brightest minds available and we tackle the issue as a team,” he says. “I expect those around me to provide the best of their thinking, and they deserve no less from me. I consider myself a ‘teacher for life’ — I am committed to contributing to the growth of those around me. Each employee and colleague at WCG is on a separate and important personal and professional growth journey. Those in senior management must accept the responsibility and the privilege of guiding and developing careers. I would like to be remembered as the mentor of a new generation of passionate, skilled leaders recognized for their commitment to improving global health.”
Over time Dr. Deieso has learned to appreciate the power of a collaborative management style. And his advice to young leaders is this: Find the best people, find people who are considerably smarter than you, find people who have energy, who are purpose-driven and trust them. Give them responsibility. Give them encouragement. Never allow them to become complacent. Hire talented people who are passionate about finding a better way to do things. And, most importantly, after choosing the right people, trust them, and they will show themselves great.
Everyone who is lucky enough to engage with Dr. Deieso is inspired by his passion for doing what’s right for patients. He sincerely believes the industry can, and should, do more to make the patient journey truly about the patient. “I want to be known as someone who has contributed to changing the practices of the pharma industry to achieve greater success in drug development,” Dr. Deieso says. “There are so many current practices that are limiting more effective clinical trial processes. These anachronistic and adverse practices remain in place because of the reluctance of some in the industry to take prudent risks aimed at improvement. As long as this negative bias to change remains, history will repeat itself over and over. Disruption of these practices must precede any real improvements.”
In addition to his leadership role at WCG, he serves as an operating partner and co-lead of Arsenal Capital Partners’ healthcare team, which affords him the opportunity to serve as chairman of a number of best-of-breed healthcare companies, including BioIVT and TractManager.
Dr. Deieso says the pharmaceutical industry is at an unprecedented time in its evolution; the rules and behaviors that proved successful during the past few decades are no longer sufficient to assure success going forward. “We need to find new solutions to old problems,” he says. “More than 70% of new drugs are coming from young emerging biopharma companies — some with fewer than 10 employees. That should be a wake-up call for the large biopharma companies — innovative and energetic cultures will always prosper.”
Dr. Deieso says as humans, making a difference in the world is our highest purpose, which reminds himself of each day. “I want the world to be better because I was part of it,” he says. “In the timeline of humanity, we are here for a microsecond of time — make the most of it.” (PV)
Cultivating Intellectual and Scientific Freedom
Antony Loebel, M.D.
Title: President and CEO
Company: Sunovion Pharmaceuticals Inc.
Industry Awards: Recognized for achievements in advancing new treatments for CNS disorders by the International Society for CNS Drug Development (ISCDD), which presented him with its Award for Leadership; PharmaVOICE 100, 2013
Associations: Board-certified psychiatrist; Clinical Assistant Professor of Psychiatry at the New York University School of Medicine; Fellow of the American Psychiatric Association (APA); Member of the American College of Neuropsychopharmacology (ACNP)
As the new president and CEO of Sunovion, Antony Loebel, M.D., heads an organization that has an ambitious vision to lead the way to a healthier world. Sunovion is among the fastest-growing pharmaceutical companies in the United States, and while that success is important, Dr. Loebel places the emphasis on a singular goal: continuing to transform patients’ lives. Dr. Loebel notes that bringing important new medical advances to patients is a challenging endeavor that benefits from the right culture and values within a company.
“One of our touchstones is to serve and create value for patients,” he says. “In my new role as president and CEO, I am focused on ensuring that we have the right intellectual and cultural framework to encourage and enable new ideas to come forward in a free-flowing manner. We strive to ensure that employees at all levels feel empowered to contribute to the fullest extent of their capabilities. At Sunovion, we encourage an environment of disciplined intellectual and scientific freedom while ensuring that we keep focused on the end goal of making our medicines and solutions accessible to patients worldwide.”
Under Dr. Loebel’s leadership, the global clinical development organization was formed to bring together Sunovion and its parent company Sumitomo Dainippon Pharma’s R&D efforts. “By leveraging our global strengths we now have an enhanced ability to bring forward new medicines in an expedited way to patients around the world,” he says
Dr. Loebel leads by ensuring the company has the right people with the right capabilities in place, then empowers them to pursue a project or program. “I set a tone and expectation that ensure employees understand that the quality of our work throughout the company is of paramount importance,” Dr. Loebel says. “In our complex ecosystem we are only as good as our weakest link. So we never stop getting better at whatever we do.”
Before taking the helm in April, Dr. Loebel was Sunovion’s chief medical officer, during which time he was named a PharmaVOICE 100 in 2013. He was instrumental in the development of Latuda, which became an industry-leading medicine for patients with bipolar depression. Before joining Sunovion, Dr. Loebel served in drug development and medical affairs roles at Pfizer.
He has pledged to build on a strong foundation in Sunovion’s therapeutic areas and position the company to help even more people living with serious medical conditions. “Our company recently announced that FDA granted Breakthrough Therapy designation to SEP-363856, a novel agent for the treatment of people with schizophrenia, which speaks to the different approach Sunovion takes to address the unmet needs of patients,” he says. “We are hopeful that this molecule will change and elevate expectations for the treatment of patients with schizophrenia and other serious mental health conditions.”
Dr. Loebel has a track record of leading the successful development of new treatments for patients with brain disorders, as well as bringing new innovation to research and development. In 2015, he was recognized by the International Society for CNS Drug Development for his leadership in the field. He has committed himself and his colleagues to reinvent neuropsychiatric drug discovery to be able to identify multiple new and effective potential drug candidates across a range of disease areas. As a result, several compounds with novel mechanisms of action have been identified by discovery and translational scientists at Sunovion and these are now moving through various stages of preclinical and clinical development. In addition, Dr. Loebel notes that new methods of diagnostic assessment, patient monitoring, and data analysis need to be constantly developed to keep up with the pace of scientific and clinical advance.
Dr. Loebel takes a collaborative approach to working with stakeholders to address complex problems. “We should focus on applying resources to basic research to uncover more about the underlying biology of the brain and to unlock more of the brain’s secrets. This is best done in a collaborative way involving academic, government and industry scientists and researchers,” he says. “Everyone benefits when we bring a diverse range of perspectives to bear so that we can learn from each others experience.”
Dr. Loebel brings a clinical perspective that informs how the company thinks about unmet medical needs and the positive impact that innovation can have. This helps motivate those around him to see work as a privilege and an opportunity to do great things in the effort to improve people’s lives.
“I love to see teams being inspired by the excitement of the science and our ability to bring to bear a depth of knowledge to answer questions that others may not have yet addressed.(PV)
Leading the Way in Oncology Clinical Trials
Michael O’Neal, M.D.
Title: Chief Medical Officer, Head of Oncology
Industry Awards: US – CACA Award, 2011
Associations: ACR, ASH, ASCO, AMA
Described by colleagues as a great listener, collaborator, and mentor, Michael O’Neal, M.D., gladly shares his vast knowledge — imaging and therapeutic area leadership in numerous areas such as breast, lung, and lymphoma cancer — with others who aspire to be involved in any aspect of clinical trials.
Dr. O’Neal has made immense contributions to the field of oncology therapy over his 30-year career.
As chief medical officer, head of oncology, at Bioclinica, Dr. O’Neal has worked on clinical trials that have contributed to more than 75 regulatory approvals during his 17-year tenure at the company.
Drawing on extensive clinical training in internal medicine and diagnostic radiology, Dr. O’Neal leads the company’s staff radiologists, oncologists, and clinical project management teams. He also oversees the oncology imaging core lab, which has helped assess drug efficacy and safety across thousands of clinical trials. Bioclinca provides expert independent review and scientific services to sponsors, ranging from large pharmaceutical companies to smaller organizations hoping to bring the next breakthrough cancer therapy to patients. In addition to oversight of imaging data in support of regulatory approval for oncology drugs, he has participated in protocol review, charter development, and independent review for more than 350 oncology clinical trials to date.
“I truly enjoy what I do and I believe our efforts have great value,” he says. “I hope that I inspire others who observe my passion for what we do.”
One of Dr. O’Neal’s greatest contributions is the development of a standardized approach that enables research sites to produce comparable study data across different countries, which is essential to successful clinical trials and regulatory approval.
Dr. O’Neal works closely with pharmaceutical company sponsors and their teams to ensure the latest industry criteria are operationalized so that imaging is performed according to the study protocol for every subject a site enrolls.
He brings clarity to sponsors’ objectives to drive their research forward. Clients recognize him as an oncology imaging authority who can help them navigate all phases of their oncology clinical trials.
Because of their large-scale and global nature, Dr. O’Neal says oncology clinical trials present unique challenges, making them difficult to manage. Additionally, differences in tumor types and mechanisms of action of therapies often require the incorporation of new complex assessment criteria as exploratory endpoints — an area in which Dr. O’Neal is an expert.
Early in his career, Dr. O’Neal was a radiologist in the hospital setting. But he viewed clinical trials as an opportunity to contribute to the field of oncology in another way.
He explains that moving into research has afforded him an opportunity to make a difference in patients’ lives on a global scale.
Many people describe Dr. O’Neal as a generous leader, who is willing to share his thoughts and ideas with everyone.
“Mentoring is important to me because I know that the success I enjoy is due to others having mentored me,” he says.
Dr. O’Neal is a key source of support to colleagues working to bring breakthrough knowledge to the industry.
Colleagues note he is highly collaborative and eager to share what he’s learned with teams of physicians, scientists, and specialists from around the world working toward a common mission.
“More ideas produce better solutions and I enjoy developing outside-the-box solutions,” Dr. O’Neal says. “The industry could benefit from increased collaboration and a common database to allow AI to augment imaging and decrease variability.” (PV)
Changing How Medicine is Taken
Amy Weinfeld Schulman
Titles/Companies: CEO and Co-founder, Lyndra Therapeutics; Managing Partner, Polaris Partners
Industry Awards: PharmaVOICE 100, 2019; Scrip Award Executive of the Year – For Small Cap & Private Pharma Companies Nominee, 2018; TedMed Hive Innovator, 2017; Xconomy’s Newcomer Award, 2017; 3 People to Watch in Kendall Square in 2016, STAT News, 2015; Scientific American’s Worldview 100 List, 2015; Top 15 Women in Biotech, Fierce Biotech, 2014; 50 Most Powerful Women in Business, Fortune Magazine, 2013; 100 Most Influential Lawyers in America, The National Law Journal, 2013; Top 50 Innovators, The American Lawyer, 2013; Margaret Brent Women Lawyers Achievement Award, American Bar Association, 2012
Company Awards: NEVY Award Nominee — Hottest Early Stage Startup – Tools & Tech, 2017
Associations: Senior Lecturer at Harvard Business School; serves on the boards of directors of Alnylam Pharmaceuticals, Blue Buffalo, Ironwood Pharmaceuticals, and the Whitehead Institute
With enormous energy and determination to see scientific advances achieved, as CEO and Co-founder of Lyndra Therapeutics Amy Schulman’s inspiring objective is to change how people take medicine.
Lyndra seeks to address compliance through a pipeline of therapies for Alzheimer’s disease, HIV, opioid use disorder, and schizophrenia.
Amy’s leadership has set Lyndra on an accelerated and exciting growth path. In just the last six months the company has released clinical data demonstrating for the first time that a once-weekly oral therapy can replace a daily pill, received patent approval for an ultra-long-acting oral drug delivery system, continued to grow its team, and boosted clinical, regulatory, and manufacturing capabilities. And to top it all off, the company raised $60 million in Series B funding.
For Amy, bringing together a team of diverse thinkers was a priority when she founded the company. She has fostered a culture where everyone is expected to work hard, step out of their comfort zones, and make a difference. Everyone can bring their best self to work every day without being asked to change, and she champions different points of view.
In September, Amy will become executive chair of the board, serving alongside current board chair Catherine Reynolds and other board members, such as Dr. Patricia Hurter steps into the CEO role.
Amy exhibits focus, grit, and determination together with an amazing ability to empower and lead a diverse and talented team. She is excited by work that is challenging enough to keep her fully present and engaged to solve problems.
“I seek to inspire others by rolling up my sleeves and pitching in, staying calm when others are frustrated or anxious, not worrying about what doesn’t matter, retaining curiosity, and maintaining an unwavering belief in getting it right,” she says.
Amy’s colleagues say she is empathetic, noting that she is ultimately about understanding people, whether they are a patient, caregiver, employee, or shareholder.
Amy’s direct communication style, ability to build confidence in others, and skill at resolving conflict through fearless conversation are perfect traits for guiding a dynamic start-up company. “I’m rarely fearful and almost never when others are,” she says. “Fearless is what it takes to survive and create durable value.”
She pairs this courageous leadership style with an incredible dedication to enhancing other careers. She is always happy to provide feedback, which is core to her mentoring style. In addition to mentoring those around her, Amy is a senior lecturer at Harvard Business School.
A high achiever, Amy also is a managing partner of Polaris Partners, which aims to accelerate the commercial and therapeutic potential of early-stage academic research. By partnering with passionate entrepreneurs with transformational science, Polaris fosters company creation and growth through an active investment model.
Amy’s leadership credentials are undeniable. When she joined Polaris, she assumed the role of CEO of Arsia Therapeutics, a Polaris-backed company acquired by Eagle Pharmaceuticals in 2016. As a managing partner, she also represents Polaris investments as executive chair of SQZ Biotech.
Before joining Polaris, Amy was the general counsel of Pfizer, led the Pfizer Consumer Division and was president of Pfizer Nutrition, where she was instrumental in the division’s sale to Nestle for $11.85 billion in 2012.
Throughout her career, she has followed a key piece of advice: Whatever you do, commit and do it well. (PV)
Champion of Excellence
Industry Awards: PRWeek’s Hall of Femme, 2018; PRWeek’s Champion in PR, 2017
Company Awards: MM&M Startup Guru, 2019; Best Large Agency to Work For, Holmes Report, 2019; Best Place to Work For, AdAge, 2019; Large Agency of the Year, finalist, Holmes Report, 2019; Best Large Agency of the Year, Nominated, Holmes Report, 2019; Outstanding Large Agency, finalist, PR Week, 2019; Best Large Agency to Work For, Holmes Report, 2018; Best Place to Work, MM&M, 2018; Top Places to Work in PR, PR News, 2018; Global Digital Agency of the Year, nominated, Holmes Report, 2018, 2017; Mid-Sized Consultancy of the Year, nominated, PR Week UK Awards, 2017
Community Awards: NorthShore Autism Circle, volunteer; PR Council’s SHEQUALITY Project, member; Gilda’s Club NYC 12th Annual Celebrating Women Luncheon
Associations: Association for the Multiple Impaired Blind, board member; Healthcare Businesswomen’s Association, corporate member; Public Relations Society of America; The LAGRANT Foundation, corporate member
Over the last 13 years, Jennifer Gottlieb has helped build W2O into the behemoth it is today. At the time she joined W2O, it was a $6 million biotechnology-focused, San Francisco-based start-up agency. Jennifer was brought on board to diversify and scale the business in terms of client mix, talent, offerings and global presence.
In partnership with Jim Weiss, founder and CEO (PharmaVOICE 100 — 2018), Jennifer expanded W2O’s footprint, which now includes 15 offices across the United States and EMEA, and grew the company to become a $177 million award-winning, top 10 healthcare agency. After holding many positions within W2O, among them chief client officer and chief operating officer, Jennifer was appointed president in 2018.
Today, W2O is one of the largest and most diverse agencies in the industry, with a roster of more than 150 healthcare clients spanning the entire healthcare ecosystem. Because of Jennifer’s outstanding leadership skills and deep knowledge of the healthcare industry, W2O continues to gain opportunities to represent many of the most important and innovative medicines on the market. The firm has been invited to participate in numerous new business pitches for marketing, communications, and digital assignments, with 10 AOR wins in 2018 and countless other assignments over the course of the year.
Jennifer has contributed to W2O’s success by devising leading-edge marketing solutions, nurturing new talent, and achieving networkwide synergy and efficiencies as the firm expanded by adding new offices and offerings. Over the years, Jennifer has worked to continuously scale W2O amid rapid convergence as data and analytics have become critical to ensuring clients have laser-focused strategies for maximum results, and digital has become the common denominator for all marketing and communications.
“I make sure we are always one step ahead as a firm,” she says. “Analytics and digital are the standard now. I also ensure that we, as a healthcare-focused agency, are using the most cutting-edge technology, such as machine learning and predictive analytics. These innovations have the ability to change the way we do business, change the way our clients do business and, most importantly, change the way people manage their health.”
Colleagues say Jennifer is a determined leader, and when she sets her mind to something, she makes it happen. She loves to solve problems, finding it exciting to look at every facet of a situation, know what the team needs to accomplish, and determine how to creatively solve the problem.
Jennifer is admired for her dedication to clients, especially when they face challenges in their business. Her style has always been to align the end-game deliverable with a strategy that includes well-timed communications and tactics that achieve clients’ goals.
Jennifer encourages her teams to take risks, supports them, and credits them fully for a job well done.
Making a difference in people’s careers matters to Jennifer, whether it’s helping them develop an innovative idea for a client or holding a one-on-one meeting to shed light on the evolution of their role. She is passionate about the people who make W2O what it is.
“It all comes down to seeing what you do every day, no matter how small or large, as important,” Jennifer says. “I encourage my colleagues to live in the moment and measure success by those moments.” (PV)
Putting Precision Medicine to the Test
Industry Awards: Business Person of Month, Business and Finance, 2019; Ernst and Young Entrepreneur of Year Finalist, 2018
Company Awards: First IPO of 2019 London AIM Market; Winner Made in N. Ireland, 2019; Sunday Times Tech 100, 2018; Small & Emerging Exporter of the Year Award at the Export Industry Awards in Dublin, 2017
Community Awards: Visionary Partner with UICC for World Cancer Day
Precision medicine relies on the right patient getting the right medicine at the right time. Peter Keeling, CEO of Diaceutics, is advancing that objective by helping patients access precision medicine drugs through better testing.
Diaceutics is a data analytics, and implementation services company that uses its massive global data lake — comprising data from more than 2,500 laboratories, including testing data on 110 million patients from 35 countries — to educate pharmaceutical clients on the global laboratory testing ecosystem and therefore ensure more people with life-threatening illnesses are given the right treatment at the right time.
Since 1995, Peter has been committed to demonstrating that better testing is equal to or greater in its healthcare impact than better treatment. His goal is to ensure the right business model and economics are applied to unlocking the potential to change disease outcomes faster. He founded his first company, Diagnology, in 1996 to support point-of-care tests for high-impact therapies. Raising VC capital for a diagnostics venture amid the dot.com boom was a huge challenge. Closing the company after seven years was the toughest professional challenge Peter has faced.
He founded Diaceutics in 2005 when precision medicine had not yet been widely adopted. At that time, pharma companies did not have large precision medicine teams and the industry was still focused on blockbuster drugs.
Patient testing was barely on the radar and when it was, adoption of better tests proved to be slow and inefficient. Patients all over the world were, therefore, missing the opportunity to be put on life-saving medication in time.
Peter’s leadership and unwavering commitment to making patient lives better was well ahead of its time. Today, more than 500,000 cancer patients have received better testing under Diaceutics’ model. Twenty of the world’s top 30 companies are Diaceutics’ customers and clients return 80% of the time.
In addition, Peter has turned the Diaceutics “better testing, better treatment” vision into a profitable business model, guiding it toward an IPO on the London Stock Exchange in March 2019; this was just the fourth Northern Ireland company to be listed on the LSE. Diaceutics currently operates in 17 countries and across three continents.
Peter believes better knowledge and better data are the drivers of better testing and articulating the gaps in patient care through evidence is an ongoing battle of harvesting and analyzing fragments of the diagnostic journey.
“We are getting there but patients are missing out on life-saving treatments because we have not yet finished that task,” he says.
He notes that if he could he would have the company sponsor the end-to-end commercialization of the next 10 cancer biomarkers to demonstrate Diaceutics can do this better in months not years. “Everyone will benefit at that point,” he says. Peter established the Precision Medicine Connective, a nonprofit organization that works with established patient advocacy groups to educate patients about better testing and help them become advocates for themselves.
Peter has created a culture in which his staff are free to explore outside-the-box solutions. Diaceutics has a Culture Club group, which is responsible for harnessing the passion of the team who bring richness and variety to the organization as the company grows.
Peter takes the time to support, motivate, and help people find their strengths and to develop their skills. He understands the importance of listening, saying that feedback comes every day from the bottom to the top of the company and from inside and out.
After 33 years in the healthcare industry, mostly in leadership roles, Peter has learned that being open, honest, humble, and transparent as a leader are qualities that his team has come to respect. “I understand my responsibilities as a leader of people and their lives and their families’ wellbeing and I try to ensure the right decisions are made for the business and all its its investors and stakeholders,” he says. (PV)
A Patient Support Rock Star
Andrea Heslin Smiley
Title: President and CEO
Company: VMS BioMarketing
Industry Awards: Hall of Femme, MM&M Magazine; PM360 ELITE, Master Educator Award; Chairman’s Ovation Award, Eli Lilly and Company
Company Awards: Great Place to Work-Certified; Top 100 Best Workplace for Women in America; Best Medium-Sized Workplace in America; Best Workplace for Giving Back in America; Best Women-Owned Companies, Working Mother magazine; Three time Inc. 500 Fastest Growing Companies in America; Growth 100 company, the Kelley School of Business Johnson Center for Entrepreneurship and Innovation; Fortune 500 pharmaceutical client Global Supplier of the Year
Community Awards: Gubernatorial appointment from Mitch Daniels to the Indiana Commission for Women
Associations: Board of Directors, Zyla Life Sciences; Board of Directors, Appian Rx; Board of Directors, Indiana Alzheimer’s Association; previous board activities, include Salvation Army, Lung Force Women’s Cabinet, Summer Stock Stage, Indiana Court Appointed Special Advocates (CASA), Indiana Commission for Women
Andrea Heslin Smiley is an industry visionary who has made an exponential impact on the healthcare ecosystem, empowering patients to live their best possible lives. She brings together the world’s leading biopharma companies, service organizations, and the government to create partnerships that solve real-world problems.
Andrea joined VMS BioMarketing in 2008 to lead the company’s strategic marketing and brand development business units, and within two years she was named president and CEO in 2011. “It is critical that we all identify opportunities for the company to innovate, evolve, and transform,” she says. “As an industry, we have access to almost unlimited data that illustrates where and when patients are adherent in their therapy or not. The challenge is to make sense of all this data so we can better motivate and inspire patients using personalized solutions that result in improved outcomes.”
Andrea inspires and enables others to innovate by ensuring they have the tools, knowledge, and a supportive culture — one that encourages curiosity, creativity, risk-taking, and challenging the status quo. “An unwavering focus on delivering results helps our team be emotionally connected to the importance of our work and lead us to turn good into great,” she says.
Once at the helm of VMS, Andrea decided the company’s sole focus would be patient adherence through personalized nurse-led education. Andrea made this the No. 1 mission of VMS by spinning off commoditized business units within her first year as president and CEO. This proved a wise move, as VMS BioMarketing programs have shown to dramatically enhance the patient experience while improving outcomes and adherence.
“This decision impacted every role across the company, but in doing so, we have been able to establish the company as a leading provider of personalized support programs using clinical nurse educators to help patients successfully start and stay on therapies after a prescribing decision is made,” Andrea says. “This laser focus on what we do best has enabled us to impact and make a difference to so many patients’ lives by providing them with the right support to achieve better health outcomes.”
With the immense growth in the development of specialty medicines today, Andrea also recognized an increased need for improved education within the HCP office setting between healthcare professionals and patients. As a result, VMS delivers peer-to-peer education programs for physicians, nurses, office staff, and other HCPs to help patients in dozens of disease categories. VMS also provides education and support for patients in clinical trials.
“I have personally experienced the struggles and challenges that patients and caregivers deal with on a daily basis — even minute by minute — to care for themselves and others,” Andrea says. “I have been a caregiver for family members with diabetes and Alzheimer’s. I feel very lucky that every day at VMS we hear stories about patients and families who have experienced the life-changing impact of programs that not only provide education but much-needed emotional support. People tell us that no one had ever taken the time to explain their condition or their therapy or provided the emotional support the way our clinical educators do. What could be better than working with these amazing people who change others’ lives?”
Andrea also is positively impacting the people who work at VMS. “We are like family,” she says. “We care deeply about each other the same way we care deeply about the purpose of our work. We celebrate together. We openly discuss and learn from our mistakes, and we push one another to be the best versions of ourselves.” (PV)
Patients, People, Performance
Company: Astellas US
Company Awards: Human Rights Campaign’s Corporate Equality Index Best Places to Work; Forbes America’s Best Employers; Corporate Knights Global 100 Most Sustainable Companies; Fortune Magazine 50 Best Companies Giving Back in the U.S.; Working Mother 100 Best Companies for Working Mothers; DiversityComm “Best of the Best” Employer; Wall Street Journal Top 10 Oncology Companies
Community Awards: 50 Best Workplaces in Chicago
Associations: Pharmaceutical Research and Manufacturers of America (PhRMA), board of directors; Chicago United, board of directors
Percival Barretto-Ko, president of Astellas US, has clear vision for his teams: be bold by being innovative in everything they do — from developing new therapies to serving patients better.
As part of his leadership mandate, Percival is committing the company to its three core values: patients, people, and performance.
The first pertains to discovering, developing, and launching life-changing medications. Percival says the company expects to bring four new products or product indications to the market this year. One of these is an FDA-designated breakthrough therapy called enfortumab vedotin as a treatment option for certain patients with urothelial cancer.
The second goal, Percival says refers to the continual commitment to development, engagement, and inspiration of the workforce. It also means building a diverse and inclusive workplace — an important area of focus for him.
“At Astellas, we’ve actively increased initiatives to create a more diverse and inclusive space, and we are proud of the culture we have built,” he says.
The third objective, performance, stems from the first two. “By effectively implementing priorities related to patients and people, the company’s performance will take care of itself,” he notes. “To ensure that we can benefit patients long into the future requires us to continue to be a vibrant, forward-thinking, and high-performance company.”
Percival is committed to balancing innovation with ensuring patients have appropriate access to medications, noting that innovation without patient access is meaningless.
“This balance is at the root of my goals as president of Astellas,” Percival says. “To achieve this, it’s important that we truly listen to patients, understand their needs, and ensure that our employees understand the journey that patients undertake.”
He says to achieve this goal, efforts include bringing patient stories to life internally, gathering employee insights, as well as working in partnership with organizations such as the Academy of Oncology Nurse and Patient Navigators (AONN+). For example, Astellas is working with AONN+ to create an acuity tool for oncology patients to help determine the level of support these patients need from their oncology team.
Since taking the helm at Astellas, Percival has challenged everyone in the organization to share their stories and their “why.” He says helping others understand the whys builds empathy, drives inclusion, and is critical to the company’s unique culture of purpose. And he openly shares his own story of being raised in the Philippines by a single mother and three older sisters, and how this impacted his perspective and personal journey with health and access to healthcare.
Colleagues say Percival balances his drive as a leader with a compassionate approach to talent management and expectations. He aspires to make his objectives clear both through communication and through example, modeling daily what he expects and wants to achieve in the workplace.
Percival’s career path has been built on broadening his reach and taking on responsibilities outside of his comfort zone as well as seeking roles that exposed him to healthcare systems outside of the United States, including those in Europe, Canada, and Latin America.
His leadership team says Percival’s style is rooted in respect, integrity, and ensuring there is clarity in purpose in everything the company does.
“Leaders need to have high expectations of their teams, but it is important that they do so with respect, civility, and kindness,” Percival believes. “Ultimately, kindness builds empathy, compassion, and a sense of purpose focused on the patients we serve, and for each other as an organization to drive our inclusive culture.”
He believes in giving back and is proud that Astellas employees have spent more than 107,000 hours volunteering in local communities.
“Recently, Astellas was also awarded a perfect score on the Human Rights Campaign’s Corporate Equality Index for the fifth consecutive year,” Percival says.
He is a mentor to about a dozen individuals, all of whom are in different stages of their careers. “I am a big believer in mentorship, as I myself have benefitted from it,” he says. “In fact, I continue to have mentors in whom I believe.” (PV)
A Focused R&D Leader
Elizabeth Ijeoma Onyemelukwe Garner, M.D.
Title: Chief Medical Officer, Senior VP, Research and Development,
Company: Agile Therapeutics Inc.
Industry Awards: Honoree, Executive Women of New Jersey, Salute to the Policy Makers, 2018
Company Awards: Abbott Excellence Award for significant contribution to Investigator Meeting Initiative, 2012; Abbott Excellence Award for significant contributions to FDA background package and supporting documents, 2011; 2011 Merck Women’s Leadership Development Program (WLDP); Key Talent at Merck, 2010; Special Achievement Award for contributions to Gardasil Advisory Committee Meeting and Approval, 2010
Associations: American Medical Women’s Association (AMWA); Executive Women of New Jersey (EWNJ); Healthcare Businesswomen’s Association (HBA)
Elizabeth Garner, M.D., wears a dragonfly pendant almost every day. Dragonflies, she says, symbolize transformation, adaptability, going with the flow, self-realization, and simple good luck.
But it wasn’t luck that led her to where she is today. It was sheer determination, a focus on excellence, and a can-do attitude. Those who know Dr. Garner say she is a brilliant mentor, teacher, and colleague; and as importantly, she is viewed as an exceptional leader.
As a highly regarded executive with an accomplished career across many facets of the industry, she has a distinguished reputation for developing novel therapies in women’s healthcare. Her experience includes serving at large pharmaceutical companies, including Myriad Genetics, Abbott Laboratories, and Merck Research Laboratories.
“I strongly believe that to be successful in any profession one must have a passion for the work,” she says. “You must also be determined to get past obstacles and challenges and remain focused.”
In Dr. Garner’s current position as chief medical officer, and senior VP, research and development, at Agile Therapeutics, she serves as a member of the senior management team providing strategic leadership on the company’s overall development strategy. She leads the research, pharmacovigilance, and medical affairs teams in the advancement of the company’s product pipeline. In addition, she co-leads the development and execution of the company’s regulatory strategy and is the clinical lead for all interactions with the FDA.
“I believe innovation does not always have to come in the form of a fancy new device or product,” she says. “Innovation is also about coming up with incremental changes to increase efficiency and productivity by paying attention to the details of how we get things done and seek out areas for improvement,” she says.
In 2018, Dr. Garner served in a crucial role in achieving a successful formal dispute resolution with the FDA, and she served a vital role during the company’s 2014 initial public offering helping to raise $49.7 million.
While at Merck, she was one of the key leaders on the human papillomavirus (HPV) vaccine program for which she was instrumental in achieving successful outcomes and obtaining FDA approval for a new indication for the vaccine. This medical breakthrough was for Gardasil, which is now a routine vaccination for young females and males in the United States for the prevention of certain cancers; the product is also approved in more than 122 countries worldwide.
Career highlights have included participating in the Merck FDA Advisory Committee meeting for Gardasil in Agile’s IPO. “Both were invaluable experiences through which I learned volumes over a short period of time and had to dig deep and persevere to achieve success,” Dr. Garner says.
Dr. Garner serves as an extraordinary role model to all members within the company as well as an inspiration to her staff in the advancement of their careers. She sets clear goals and expectations and serves to support all employees in the achievement of those goals.
She leads in a calm, inspiring, and genuine way, with completely open communication to management and all employees. She works hard to build a company culture that inspires employees to do and be their best.
“I inspire others by my passion for my work, my determination, my focus on excellence, and my can-do attitude,” she says. “Many times, I have seen my teams look at me in disbelief as I insist that we get something done that seems impossible and thoroughly enjoyed watching their amazement at their own accomplishment when they push through with me and succeed. People often don’t realize what they are capable of until they challenge themselves beyond what they believed to be possible.”
Dr. Garner describes her leadership style as collaborative yet decisive. “Although I tend to have strong opinions, I try hard to always have an open mind and to invite my team members to express their opinions,” she says. “I find that many of the best ideas come from my colleagues when they feel encouraged and empowered to work collaboratively with me rather than simply carrying out directions.”(PV)
Editor’s Note: As this issue was going to press, Dr. Garner was named chief medical officer for ObsEva, a women’s health company.
Setting Big Hairy Audacious Goals
Company: Alnylam Pharmaceuticals
Industry Awards: PharmaVOICE 100, 2018; The 11th Annual Myer Saxe Award from the Alzheimer’s Association, 2010; Alzheimer’s Association 2010 Century Award; Albert Einstein Award, 2008; Pharmaceutical Executive 45 Under Forty Five, 2008; Women Unlimited Inc. You Make the Difference Recognition
Associations: Acorda Therapeutics, board of directors; Karyopharm Therapeutics, board of directors — lead director; Alzheimer’s Association, Hope for the Harbor event committee; American Heart Association Heart and Stroke Ball 2020, Chair
For the past 16 years, Barry Greene has been the driving force behind Alnylam Pharmaceutical’s journey to becoming a leading biopharmaceutical company developing a new class of medicines. And under his leadership, Alnylam developed the first-ever FDA approved RNA interference (RNAi) therapeutic, Onpattro (patisiran), for the treatment of patients living with hATTR amyloidosis with polyneuropathy.
With an eye always toward doing what’s right for patients, Barry was instrumental in orchestrating value-based agreements for Onpattro with leading health insurers. He says creating these agreements for a new class of medicine required the company’s leaders to think outside the box, and ultimately the agreements garnered praise from payers, including Harvard Pilgrim Health Care, Express Scripts, and Aetna Pharmacy Management. So far, Onpattro has been launched in the United States and Europe, and received regulatory approval in Canada and Japan.
“Our intention is to bring innovation to all we do, even outside of R&D, including our unique approaches to value-based agreements, disease awareness and education programs, patient advocacy, and patient finding strategies,” Barry says.
As Alnylam continues to advance its late-stage pipeline products, Barry is spearheading the commercial U.S. and EU launch for givosiran, an investigational RNAi therapeutic in development for the treatment of acute hepatic porphyria (AHP) for which the company recently completed regulatory filings in the United States and EU. Additionally, Alnylam is advancing lumasiran, an investigational RNAi therapeutic for the treatment of primary hyperoxaluria type 1 (PH1) with results from its Illuminate-A Phase III pivotal trial expected in late 2019 and, if positive, the company will submit filings for regulatory approval starting in early 2020.
During his career, the 2018 PharmaVOICE 100, has had the opportunity to develop and launch several innovative, high-impact medicines. “They are each special, and hearing the stories of the patients they benefited is highly rewarding,” he says.
The company also is innovating diagnostic algorithms, healthcare provider education, patient advocacy and education, and use of digital in countries where it is permitted.
Alnylam’s journey has had its ups and downs, including two restructurings in its early years, but Barry has helped to steer the company through those challenges. Today, the company has more than 1,200 employees across North America, Europe, Asia, and South America. Colleagues say Barry’s inspiring leadership, denoted by a clarifying vision, mission, and clear goals and objectives, has been critical to Alnylam’s success.
Barry strives to be honest, crisp, and always supportive. He’s committed to making Alnylam a great place to work for all employees. His teams say he goes out of his way to connect with people at every level of the company, hosting new hire breakfasts and one-on-one meetings with employees to ensure they’re engaged and meeting their career goals. “It’s important to me to articulate strategy and remain content rich and avoid administrivia,” he says.
“I learned that if you focus on a shared vision and mission, operate under an aligned set of core values, set big stretch goals, and support each other, teams thrive,” Barry adds.
Barry focuses on what’s right for patients, always doing the right thing, embracing vigorous debate, driving politics out, staying positive, and setting big, hairy audacious goals.
As the co-executive sponsor of Alnylam’s diversity and inclusion initiative, Barry has spearheaded programs, such as unconscious bias training, to empower employees to act with an inclusive mindset. Alnylam also partners with organizations that promote D&I in its communities, such as Women in the Enterprise of Science & Technology, OUT Bio, Healthcare Businesswomen’s Association, Posse Foundation, and Wheaton’s Summit for Women in STEM. (PV)
Creating Marketing for the Future
Company: Carling Communications, a member of The Fishawack Group of Companies
Industry Awards: PM360 Elite Transformational Leader, 2019; Manny Awards MedAdvocate, 2019; MM&M Awards Jury, 2018
Company Awards: Board Member, The Fishawack Group of Companies
Community Awards: Carolina Club Leaders Inaugural Ambassador Corps
Associations: Healthcare Businesswomen’s Association; Junior League of San Diego
Time and again Sherri Wilkins, president of Carling Communications, has gained the respect of clients and her peers. Since Sherri became president in July 2018, she has helped diversify the agency’s client portfolio beyond the HCP ecosystem and is now actively facilitating high-value, high-impact consumer and digital conversations.
Sherri is excited to shape the next phase of growth for Carling. “We’ve improved employee retention rates — cutting voluntary exits by 50% — and I’ve worked hard to build a team of leaders who can help me reinforce a strong culture of transparency and teamwork across the United States and abroad,” she says.
But the transition was not always an easy process, Sherri says. When she became president, many team members had left for other industry jobs.
“Any mass exodus, regardless of the reasons behind it, can trigger real feelings of panic,” she says. “I am so proud of how far our team has come and how solid and sophisticated our business is today. As difficult as those initial months were, I believed in where I knew we had to get, and how quickly we needed to get there, and I’d do it all again.”
Sherri has worked hard to integrate the agency within the Fishawack Group while maintaining a strong sense of identity and culture. Under her leadership, the creative and client services teams are consistently challenged to produce work that makes clients feel heard and solves their business needs. Sherri is now highly focused on positioning the agency for its next phase of growth in the United States and globally.
She reminds her leadership team to evolve themselves at work through the core ideas of not shying away from situations and tasks that are a little scary or unknown. And along the way to learn, then teach, with the goal of replacing themselves, even if only theoretically.
“I think if you aren’t replacing yourself, then you probably aren’t teaching, and if you aren’t developing others, you’re probably not evolving yourself,” Sherri says. “That’s my personal philosophy anyway. We often toss around terms like scalable and sustainable as business entities, but those same principles need to apply to leadership equally.”
One of Sherri’s top priorities is to engage with every employee and to try to figure out a way to help them reach their full potential. Those who work with Sherri say one of her greatest strengths is bringing in the right people and trusting those around her.
“I believe the best way to inspire is to model the positive behaviors you expect from others that will make them — and you — a success,” Sherri says. “Demonstrating a commitment to each other is paramount, and this in turn helps us produce the best work with our client partners. I hope my people are inspired by my commitment to ensuring their work environment is strong, positive, solutions-oriented, and supportive.”
Sherri’s approach to leading the agency is simply a reflection of who she is as a person, and you can see that in her achievements outside the office as well. Her efforts to improve literacy in children and adults, and various volunteer activities with the Junior League and Habitat for Humanity earned her recognition by The Healthcare Marketer’s Exchange as a finalist for its Humanitarian Award.
“I’m pretty gregarious — definitely not bashful,” she says. “I am very social outside the office, and I am the same person who shows up to work as president, just with a twist. We spend more time at work than we do pretty much anywhere else, so you might as well show up with a smile on your face.” (PV)
Setting the Context for Success
Title: President and CEO
Company: Foghorn Therapeutics
Adrian Gottschalk measures success by looking at whether he and his teams have given their all in tackling the problem, persevered through the challenges, learned from their mistakes, worked with integrity, and had a positive impact on the patients they serve.
“If we routinely measure ourselves by these metrics, we will make a difference and, ultimately, develop very important medicines,” says the president and CEO of Foghorn Therapeutics. Foghorn discovers and develops new medicines based on insights into genetic mutations in the chromatin regulatory system, in other words the system that directs which genes our cells express and when, where, and in what order. Adrian has set the company on a trajectory to create novel therapies that can change the status quo of care and the lives of patients suffering from cancer and other serious diseases.
“By manipulating this system with our Gene Traffic Control product platform, we will change how genes turn on and off, he says. “Unlike approaches that edit genes, this novel way of thinking will alter what our DNA has in store for us — and rewrite destiny for millions of people living with disease.”
Adrian has built a successful, high-performing biotech company, with an outstanding culture centered around people, teamwork, scientific excellence, and new ways to think — on an immutable foundation of integrity and mutual respect.
Adrian says his job is to provide encouragement and push the team to think big. He says providing an environment for others to truly think and act creatively, take risks, and reward learning is key.
“Helping my team see the possibilities is perhaps my biggest contribution,” he says. “One of the most valuable pieces of advice I received came from a very good mentor and friend of mine, Dan Mangelsdorf, who said: context is definitive and leadership is all about setting context. I try to set the right context for my teams and remind ourselves that we are part of something much bigger than any one of us — making medicines for our fellow human beings.”
He says leading and building Foghorn with an ever-growing team of passionate collaborators over the last two years has been a career highlight.
He has an impressive track record of professional accomplishments, including building Biogen’s global commercial strategy group and ensuring a successful launch for multiple therapies. Additionally, he restructured the Biogen office in Japan and chartered a new path for the team’s structures moving forward.
Adrian is known for thoughtfully engaging with team members at all levels and career stages and providing them with constructive counsel and sound advice that they can apply throughout their careers.
Those who have worked with Adrian are impressed not only with what he is able to accomplish but how he is able to achieve that success. Adrian brings an incredibly intelligent, wise, thoughtful, and compassionate hand to any organization. He articulates a clear strategy and breathes a sense of purpose into priorities. No matter how busy everyone is, the team always comes first with Adrian.
“My goal is to treat everyone with dignity and respect and to appeal to the broader sense of purpose we all have — to make our lives mean something,” Adrian says. “And I believe that helping our fellow human beings is one of the greatest ways to make our lives matter. Hopefully, I lead by example on this and my actions inspire others to do the same.”
Adrian has extremely high expectations of what is expected from him, including transparency, clarity of purpose, advocacy, support, and partnership. Colleagues say they value his candid feedback and his ability to actively and genuinely listen to his employees, colleagues, and peers.
“My goal as a leader is to provide the vision and overall purpose and then get out of the way of my team,” he says. “I am there to support them, encourage them, and ensure they have the resources they need to do innovative and life-changing work.”
Mentoring and helping others develop is so critical for those who are privileged to be in leadership positions, Adrian says. “Discovering and developing medicines is the ultimate team sport and I imagine that the longest lasting legacy for any of us will be the people we touch. Helping to develop the next generation of leaders and innovators in biotech is one of the most important and best parts of my job.” (PV)
Bringing Innovation to Patients
Kevin Gorman, Ph.D.
Company: Neurocrine Biosciences
Industry Awards: Xconomy Awards San Diego, CEO, 2019; San Diego Business Journal — SD 500, 2018; Ernst & Young Entrepreneur of the Year San Diego, 2018; Ernst & Young National Entrepreneur of the Year, Life Sciences, 2018; The San Diego Union-Tribune — Leadership Winner, medium company, 2018
Company Awards: The San Diego Union-Tribune Top Workplace, 2018
When Kevin Gorman, Ph.D., became CEO of Neurocrine Biosciences in 2008, the company was going through a difficult period having faced a significant regulatory setback. Dr. Gorman relied on his Ph.D. in immunology and MBA in finance, as well as his comprehensive understanding of both sides of the biopharma business and clear-headed and rational thinking, to help the company navigate its challenges.
First, Dr. Gorman and his leadership team had to dramatically scale back the workforce — from more than 600 employees to just 67 — and they headed back to the drawing board.
By leveraging their in-house R&D expertise, the company was able to rebuild the pipeline with the discoveries of the molecules that would eventually become Ingrezza (valbenazine), the first FDA-approved treatment for tardive dyskinesia (TD), an involuntary movement disorder, and Orilissa (elagolix), the first FDA-approved oral treatment for endometriosis in more than a decade, which was launched by Neurocrine Biosciences’ commercial partner AbbVie.
“I am proud to say that today we are stronger than ever as a fully integrated company with more than 600 employees dedicated to developing life-changing new medicines for people with neurological, psychiatric, and endocrine disorders,” Dr. Gorman says.
He describes the approval of Ingrezza as a defining moment in his career. TD is a disruptive disease that affects an estimated 500,000 people in the United States and can negatively impact patients socially, emotionally, and physically causing them to feel embarrassed or judged by others, or drive them to withdraw from society and isolate themselves. The condition is caused by prolonged use of treatments that block dopamine receptors in the brain, such as antipsychotics.
Dr. Gorman is committed to advancing the therapies in Neurocrine Biosciences’ pipeline, with the potential to bring three new medications across four indications to patients with high unmet needs by 2020.
“What makes this job so inspiring is that we can say we brought a new therapy to patients — to our fellow humans — that will make a significant impact on their lives and the lives of those around them,” he says.
One of the core tenets of Dr. Gorman’s leadership is accountability. “I have deliberately cultivated an environment in which my colleagues are empowered to take risks and to explore new avenues without feeling they run the risk of being unduly blamed or penalized if an idea doesn’t work out,” he says.
His colleagues say Dr. Gorman is a solutions-oriented leader, who listens to and respects the opinions of his team members and allows them to use their collective knowledge to overcome a complex issue or determine an alternative plan. “I strive to be respectful of everyone’s individual opinions, expertise, and accomplishments by empowering them to bring new and unique ideas to the table each day,” he says. “I strongly believe that this approach fosters inspiration and results in the passion and tenacity to develop impactful medicines.”
He rewards integrity, transparency, and cross-functional collaboration and has put in place several initiatives that put employees at the center. “For example, we bring together all of the company’s employees to continue to drive camaraderie,” he says. “During this all-employee meeting, I, along with the entire management team, make a point of thanking the team for its hard work and highlighting the importance of life outside of work.”
He also has created an initiative to recognize key employees who have excelled in their field and are poised for advancement. Dr. Gorman notes that when you hire excellent people, remove obstacles and let them do their jobs, you see excellent communications and fast and better decision-making. This approach allows employees to follow their nose, adapt, and engage in healthy debates.
Beyond the office, Dr. Gorman is passionate about the education of young scientists and finding ways to better serve their academic advancement. “I support several local scholarships, offering undergraduates the opportunity to partner with graduate students or post-doctorates in the lab so they can understand what a career in scientific research entails and to encourage interest in the life sciences,” he says.
Dr. Gorman says the mentors in his life have taught him that you don’t mentor by merely talking to a person you need to let the person make decisions and experience the outcomes — both good and bad. “You learn best from your mistakes as well as reviewing the decision-making process that led to that outcome,” he says. (PV)
Leading With a Global Perspective
Susanne Schaffert, Ph.D.
Title: President, Novartis Oncology
INDUSTRY Awards: EURORDIS Company Award for Innovation in Rare Diseases, 2018; Women Worth Watching Award, 2015; Pharmaceutical Executive 45 Under 45: The Change Generation, 2008; Career of the Year, Handelsblatt, Germany, 2008
Susanne Schaffert, Ph.D., started with Novartis more than 20 years ago carrying a bag; today she is president of Novartis Oncology, a role she assumed at the start of 2019.
Susanne considers herself to be a trailblazer, having had to overcome a number of life and professional challenges.
“I have faced a lot of challenges — from losing my father at a young age, to being a woman in science when there were far too few of us, and later, needing to balance a career and family,” she says. “I had to be a pioneer in many ways and I am dedicated to clearing a path for others. My mentors have been so helpful to me throughout my career. And mentoring others, seeing them grow and stretch themselves have been some of the proudest, most rewarding moments in my career. I want to encourage more women to raise their hand to take on leadership roles and push outside of their comfort zone. Too often they feel the need to have everything worked out at work and at home before trying something new, which can be a disadvantage. Instead, why not imagine what the world could be like and change it. We’ve got to push past the doubt and have the confidence to be bold and try new things.”
Susanne is well-versed in trying new things. Following the Novartis acquisition of Advanced Accelerator Applications, she led the company’s integration into Novartis and served as its first president, helping the team successfully launch Lutathera in the United States and Europe.
Today, Susanne oversees a global business comprised of more than 7,000 associates in 85 countries dedicated to bringing transformative medicines and programs to patients.
“At Novartis Oncology, we’re reimagining cancer and blood disorders to help patients live longer, better lives,” she says. “There has been a lot of progress made already, but there is still so much more to do to help the 22 million people who are projected to die from cancer by 2030. There’s no single way to beat cancer, and that’s why we are pursuing multiple treatment approaches.” Novartis has four distinct cancer treatment platforms: targeted therapies, radioligand therapies, cell and gene therapies, and immunotherapies.
Susanne’s colleagues are inspired by her ability to be a bridge builder; she is lauded for her ability to find creative solutions to problems by bringing people together and facilitating effective collaboration. She is open-minded and a true believer that diversity is needed to deliver innovation. A working mom, Susanne knows the value of women helping women and she has mentored countless women in their pursuit of careers in the sciences.
Susanne believes a successful team is an “unbossed” team and is embarking on a new cultural journey for the organization. “We encourage our associates to embrace their curiosity and diverse thinking so they’re empowered to take greater ownership and collaborate across the organization to maximize their impact for patients, physicians, customers, and healthcare systems,” she says.
After several roles in sales and marketing, Susanne was named to lead the oncology business in Germany, then in region Europe, and ultimately to overseeing the oncology business worldwide. She also served as the global head of Novartis investor relations for three years. Her science background, coupled with her business acumen, enabled her to effectively explain mechanisms of action and research results to investors and analysts.
The role in investor relations, she says, was her most challenging. “My mentor at the time told me I should take the role because it would stretch me,” she says. “And he was right; the role pushed me out of my comfort zone. It was difficult, and it was probably the biggest learning curve I have had in my career. I’m grateful that I listened to his advice. I learned a lot in that role and it led me to my next roles.”
Another one of her mentors was David Epstein, former CEO and division head pharmaceuticals at Novartis, who encouraged her to take a critical role as head of marketing in Germany just as she was embarking on another life journey — becoming a mom for the first time. “David worked with me to find a way forward, and he is still someone I turn to for advice and support,” she says. “There were a few opportunities like this that really enabled my career.” (PV)
Reinventing the Aesthetics Industry
Company: Merz Americas
Industry Awards: Top Aesthetics CEO, Aesthetic Everything, 2019, 2018, 2017; Innovator in Dermatology, Cosmetic Surgery Forum, 2013; Top 25 DTC Marketer, DTC Perspectives, 2008; Excellence in Sales Leadership, PDI, 2004
Company Awards: Top Aesthetics Company, Aesthetic Everything, 2019, 2018, 2017
It could be argued that Bob Rhatigan is the father of modern aesthetics, leading the launch and rise of Botox. Today, as CEO of Merz Americas, Bob is once again upending the category, reshaping and expanding the market through creativity, innovation, and vision. Under his guidance, the company developed a real understanding of what people want from medical aesthetics treatments and what keeps them from pursuing their goals. As a result, he leads the company’s strategy and operations for the fastest-growing brand in the U.S. medical aesthetic toxins.
The first step was to erase the stigma often associated with medical aesthetics treatments. Next, he recognized that reaching a different type of consumer would mean adopting a different type of marketing. So he led Merz Americas to engage in partnerships with social media influencers across the country.
Bob has an uncanny ability to read consumer markets, identify trends, marshal his organization toward emerging or latent portions of those markets, and drive success.
When he joined Merz Americas, Bob instituted a new corporate motto: “How have you helped a sales rep or customer today?” He reached out to customers one at a time, asked them how Merz could do better and how he could personally help them. Not only did customers listen, so did the salesforce. He drove a culture change and successfully created a new customer-centric operating philosophy within Merz. He developed a fresh, thoughtful new structure for the sales team, gave each rep the opportunity and responsibility to work closely with his or her customers, and empowered everyone to find innovative ways to help make those clinicians successful. And he hired the most experienced and innovative leaders in the medical aesthetics and neurotoxin industries.
“My role is to inspire, enable, and lead the company with a clear strategy and to create a culture of accountability,” he says.
His leadership has energized Merz Americas, instilling optimism and drive throughout the organization based on a simple mantra: “Your success is our success.”
“One of my favorite sayings is ‘drive versus ride,’” he says. “It’s important to realize that you are in control of your own destiny. For example, at Merz Americas, we encourage each employee to sit in the driver’s seat when it comes to advancing initiatives and building value. This approach helped reduce employee turnover and increase results to the highest growth rate the company has seen in years.”
He publicly acknowledges and shares the company’s successes and has embedded this culture of recognition throughout Merz Americas. Bob operates with great humility; he is unfailingly fair and kind, and instills confidence in those around him. He has a unique ability to recognize the skills and talents of others and helps them to maximize their potential.
Over the years, Bob has developed and applied a set of simple management principles that provide a good navigational point of reference for him and the organization. He communicates clearly and precisely what his expectations consist of, then guides, advises, and mentors to achieve the desired results. He holds people accountable and gives praise for achievements and provides assistance when outcomes are not met. He is always willing to get in the trenches with his teams. He has earned respect and is a respected authority among those around him. “I aim to provide open and constructive feedback in a timely manner,” he says. “I encourage my leadership team to take the same approach with their direct reports.”
Bob is an ardent supporter of the company’s Merz Cares program, which bolsters nonprofit organizations aligned with its focus areas of women’s empowerment and veteran’s affairs. “These are causes I personally feel passionate about,” he says. (PV)
Improving the Patient Journey
Company: Foundation Medicine Inc.
Company Awards: No. 30 on Fast Company’s 2019 Top 50 Most Innovative Companies List, No. 1 in the biotech category
Associations: BIO, regulatory and pharmacovigilance committee, chair; Fast Company’s Impact Council, member; Genentech Access To Care Foundation, previous member; gPRIDE for LGBTQ community, Roche Genentech, previous member
As CEO of Foundation Medicine, Cindy Perettie has a passion to improve the lives of cancer patients and to make sure they have a seat at the table when critical care and development decisions are made. Her vision is for Foundation Medicine to continue to evolve from a highly successful genomic testing company to one that fully enables the use of molecular information across all oncology stakeholders to improve cancer care for patients.
“We live in an age of targeted therapies and breakthrough advancements in cancer care, and comprehensive genomic profiling testing and actionable insights from data can make a difference for many patients,” Cindy says. For example, using the company’s embedded patient model, all patients with metastatic cancer have access to comprehensive genomic profiling to help inform treatment options.
Cindy wants to ensure physicians, biopharma companies, and regulatory bodies can use data, both genomic and clinico-genomic, in partnership with Flatiron Health, for better decision making to improve outcomes for patients.
She is motivated by the stories from patients who have benefited from Foundation Medicine’s genomic tests and how they are making a difference in their lives. “I love hearing these stories and always look for opportunities to share them with my amazing team,” she says.
Cindy’s pedigree in oncology runs deep. She previously served as VP of Genentech’s HER2 bio-oncology franchise, which encompasses Herceptin, Perjeta, and Kadcyla. While at Genentech, she introduced eight new molecular therapies that drive improved patient outcomes compared with the standard of care. And while at Roche, she led global oncology, overseeing the group that managed the lifecycle of 21 late-stage medicines, which impact the lives of hundreds of thousands of patients every year.
At Roche, she was also part of a small team that worked closely with the CEO on the redesign of the company’s organizational structure, processes, and priorities to exercise agility and empower employees to execute on innovation.
“In a company of 40,000-plus employees, driving change management and culture was incredibly challenging,” she says. “I was honored to be part of this effort, as our work contributed to ensuring lasting improvements and efficiencies.”
Having a clear vision and an understanding of the end goal of the business helps Cindy make decisions. Keeping these mandates top of mind also helps her motivate her teams. Colleagues say she strives to remove any obstacles that get in the way of their ability to inform and improve the patient journey.
“It’s important to provide perspective on what you can control and what you cannot,” she says. “I also find that level setting expectations helps to instill a sense of motivation.”
Team members say she strives to help everyone enjoy their work by creating a culture of transparency and collaboration.
Success, Cindy says, is measured by the feedback she and her team receive from the community on how well they are delivering on the company’s mission.
“For my folks’ work to be recognized beyond the walls of our organization, in particular from patients and physicians, is the ultimate success metric,” she says.
Cindy says Sue Hellman, CEO of the Gates Foundation, taught her to always take a patients-first model to decision making, especially when faced with difficult choices. “Because Foundation Medicine is committed to using our molecular information platform to improve day-to-day care for patients, this advice has really helped guide my actions as CEO,” she says.
As a leader in a field typically dominated by men, Cindy cares deeply about the role of women in science and business. At Genentech, she ran a highly successful program for high-potential female directors, helping build their skills to move forward, and improving their executive presence, including engaging in difficult conversations, providing strategic oversight, and being a visionary. The program saw 85% of the participants promoted within two years.
Cindy is also passionate about the importance of STEM for women and girls. As part of Genentech’s commitment to LGBTQ efforts, including serving as an executive sponsor for Gay Out & Equal (gPRIDE), she participated in numerous diversity activities.
She is a mentor to several individuals, noting that someone once took a chance on her, and she feels strongly about doing the same for others. (PV)
Chief Problem Solver
Title: Executive VP, Chief Strategy Officer
Industry Awards: PM360 PharmaChoice Awards, Elite Strategist; Med Ad News Manny Awards, Most Creative Agency; MM&M Awards, Small Healthcare Agency of the Year; MM&M Awards, Gold Award for Best Use of Direct Marketing to Consumers
Company Awards: Lederle Laboratories Gold Cup Award; Wyeth Pharmaceuticals Presidents’ Achieving Excellence Award; Wyeth Pharmaceuticals Presidents’ Golden Circle Award
Drew Desjardins knows that taking risks is vital to building brands and if done right, there is a chance to change the face of healthcare.
In fact, Drew has made a career of inspiring risk and transformation. From sales rep to brand manager to chief strategy officer and executive VP at Dudnyk, he has turned his 25 years of industry experience into a role that allows him to serve clients, customers, and colleagues with groundbreaking strategic solutions.
Drew understands that the best innovative ideas are not always first in market, and are not about convincing someone to buy what you’re selling. Innovation is about driving the industry forward in a way that can yield actionable output and ultimately change lives.
Drew’s foray into pharma began in the field, carrying a bag in the Wild West era of pharmaceutical sales. He then transitioned into a marketing role, working his way from product manager to executive director on billion-dollar brands. An early proponent for optimizing customer engagement, he conceived the very first relationship marketing program in Wyeth Pharmaceuticals’ history.
Although originally hired to lead the client services department at Dudnyk, it was soon clear that Drew’s specialty was solving problems. His arrival helped transform the agency’s account-rooted model for strategy into a dedicated discipline. He built clear processes for extracting insights, thus ensuring consistent results for each account. His vision has paid off; with Drew at the helm of Dudnyk’s strategic ship, the agency has executed an unprecedented number of workshops for the last three years running.
“I get very excited about trying to solve problems in innovative ways, whether it’s by putting a new twist on an old tactic or by using technology in imaginative ways,” he says. “My goal is not about trying to be innovative for the sake of being innovative, but rather it’s about doing whatever is needed to solve whatever problems we are trying to resolve. Sometimes this requires a different approach. I feel that a big part of my responsibility is to create an environment where we can come up with novel solutions to our clients’ challenges together.”
Drew understands the challenges clients face and works tirelessly to provide the best possible solutions that will help them succeed in their business and shine in their role. He evokes a trusting, almost conspiratorial energy. He may have crossed over to the agency side, but he hasn’t forgotten what it means to have the weight of a brand launch on his shoulders. This balanced viewpoint gives him an intuitive sense of how to make that crucial link — explaining the agency’s choices through the lens of what the client is trying to achieve.
Drew says among the many industry challenges, he is deeply concerned about the steadily declining access to healthcare professionals. “I worry that as the population ages and more and more drugs are paid for by our government, that access and promotional budgets will become squeezed even more,” he says. “Consequently, our ability to champion the causes and advance the treatments of patients with rare diseases could be significantly compromised.”
As a manager, Drew leads by example. He expects excellence, and consistently models the behavior he wants to see from his teams. Over the years, he has learned the importance of regularly asking for feedback and tailoring his management style to get the best out of each person. “I try to share my vision for projects or strategies in detail — often role-playing the part of the customer or rep — and lead by example,” he says. “I try to empower people to use their natural abilities, clearing obstacles for them and putting them in a position to succeed.”
Drew takes his work seriously, but he doesn’t take himself too seriously. His fluency in corporate buzzwords has inspired countless affectionate jokes around the agency. A father of four daughters, he keeps his colleagues laughing with stories of teenage antics, school-age shenanigans, and what it’s like to be the lone male in a house full of women. (PV)
Title: Executive VP and Chief Commercial & Strategy Officer
Community Awards: The Ohio State University, Distinguished Alumnus Award, College of Public Health, 2013; Business Woman of the Year, Charlotte, N.C., 2004
Associations: Healthcare Financial Management Association (HFMA); Academy of Managed Care Pharmacy (AMCP); American College of Healthcare Executives (ACHE); Healthcare Businesswomen’s Association (HBA); Association of Clinical Research Professionals (ACRP); American Cancer Society — volunteer and sponsor; Cystic Fibrosis Foundation, Charlotte NC, — volunteer and former local chairperson
During her 25-year career, Peyton Howell hasn’t done it all, but she has mastered many diverse roles, all with the singular intent to improve the lives of patients. From her first job as a graduate intern for The Ohio State University Hospital, Peyton has been involved with almost every aspect of the healthcare industry, working with and advocating on behalf of life-sciences companies and patients facing healthcare access issues. She began as a consultant and then became an entrepreneur and founder of Lash Group, where she created some of the first patient access and reimbursement programs. She led Lash Group through the transition of being acquired by AmerisourceBergen and then took on corporate roles that included the acquisition of other specialty and pharma services business and eventually took on the role of an executive officer.
Peyton says leading entrepreneurial pharma service teams, creating and growing some of the first patient access programs, and taking Lash Group from a start-up to more than 3,000 employees are career highlights.
Today, she is applying that same passion and expertise to the life-sciences industry as executive VP and chief commercial and strategy officer at Parexel, helping pharmaceutical companies navigate the complexities of today’s challenging environment to deliver therapies to the patients who need them.
Peyton has a keen understanding for how all stakeholders within healthcare must work together to improve the outlook for patients, her colleagues say.
“My goal is to bring my passion and expertise in patient access to the life-sciences and drug development industries to speed the efficiency and effectiveness of bringing new treatments to patients,” she says. This includes creating a patient-first focus in all aspects of global drug development —─ from clinical trial design through to real-world evidence ─— to support patient access and reimbursement. After spending 25 years only on the post-approval side of the industry, Peyton says she is excited to now support innovation and bring a patient focus to all aspects of clinical research and drug development at Parexel.
In the short time she has been leading Parexel’s commercial strategy, which includes global sales, strategy, marketing, and Parexel’s consulting services portfolio, she’s led the charge to bring energy and focus to the company’s global team of more than 20,000 colleagues. One key accomplishment, occurring just nine months after she came on board, was launching a new biotech division as part of a new patient focused strategy. Peyton identified an opportunity among emerging biotech companies to bring a consultative, strategic account management approach to customers that includes leveraging Parexel’s unique regulatory and strategic consulting capabilities to help customers reach their drug development and commercialization goals quickly and cost-effectively. She also supported the introduction of Parexel’s Patient Innovation Center, which helps sponsors improve the patient experience in clinical research. The center was designed to reduce the practical, financial, and geographical barriers patients and caregivers often face.
Peyton is passionate about transforming drug development to include the evidence and health outcomes necessary for patient access and reimbursement of new patient treatments around the world. Colleagues say she is a creative problem solver who takes a bigger picture view based on her broad understanding of the healthcare industry challenges. She is determined to find a solution to rising drug development and patient affordability and access challenges and she constantly works to find better solutions that benefit patients.
Peyton always makes it a point to be available for young professionals to turn to, in both professional and personal settings and is highly engaged on Parexel’s initiatives to support diversity, inclusion, and workplace flexibility. She believes it is Parexel’s customer-facing employees that make the company successful, so she works to make all employees feel inspired, engaged, and appreciated for the impact they have on bringing new treatments to patients. As a result, colleagues say she has had an enormous impact on company culture. (PV)
Intellectually Curious. Enthusiastic.
The Continuing Inquisitivenessof a Physician-Scientist
Jonathan C. Fox, Ph.D., M.D.
Title: President and Chief Medical Officer
Company: Eidos Therapeutics Inc.
Awards: U.S. FDA Division of Cardiovascular and Renal Products Advisory Committee, industry representative
Community Awards: American College of Cardiology, Fellow; Young Investigator’s Award.
Associations: Sigma Xi Scientific Research Society, Alpha Omega Alpha Medical Honor Society, Molecular and Cellular Cardiology, American College of Cardiology
Jonathan Fox, M.D., Ph.D., is a one-of-a-kind physician-scientist, who is renowned for his intellectual curiosity and track record of success with cardiovascular medicines.
During his 15 years in big pharma, Dr. Fox was on the team that built the data set that helped Crestor establish itself as a best-in-class statin. He drove clinical development for the drug Brilinta, and chaired the podium at its advisory committee meeting, presenting the data that led to its FDA approval. He served as an industry representative to the FDA Cardiovascular and Renal Drug Products Advisory Committee (CRDAC), building relationships with key regulators and scientists that help him to this day.
His long history of cardiovascular clinical development gives him a strong foundation for advancing important new medicines, yet he maintains the ever-present curiosity of an academic scientist.
Dr. Fox says his biggest career highlight was his move into biotechnology, first as the founding chief medical officer at MyoKardia and today as president and chief medical officer at Eidos Therapeutics.
Dr. Fox says a whole new world of opportunity has opened based on the industry’s focus on developing targeted therapies for genetically driven diseases with known molecular targets and precise mechanism of action. “In this environment, we are working with lean teams of experts with ready access to top-level resources and we’re addressing important therapeutic gaps in the treatment of rare, under-recognized, and under-served genetic diseases,” he says.
Dr. Fox has been the driving force behind the development of Eidos’ small molecule, AG10, to treat TTR amyloidosis, a disease that causes a devastating cardiomyopathy that affects hundreds of thousands of people in the United States. He was integral to the company moving from IND-enabling studies through Phase III in less than three years.
What truly sets Dr. Fox apart in his role at Eidos is his focus on relationship building. He has spoken, at length with patients and disease advocacy organizations to understand what endpoints would be meaningful to them in a drug to treat their cardiomyopathy.
Through those conversations, he uncovered the information that, while a decrease in mortality is extremely important, a drug that can make everyday tasks less burdensome is also critical. With this information, he leveraged his relationships with the FDA to finalize the design of the Phase III program, establishing an initial approvable primary endpoint of improvement on a six-minute walk test after 12 months, followed by a longer-term all-cause mortality endpoint at 30 months.
Dr. Fox encourages his team to deconstruct complex challenges into the technical, environmental, and human elements to find solutions, and he recognizes that only when everyone shares the challenge and sets aside differences to work together can the challenge be solved.
“I tend to have a light touch in terms of management style unless firmer guidance seems like it might be helpful,” he says. “Collaboration, communication, and celebration help our people keep their eye on the prize.”
Dr. Fox’s colleagues are inspired by his “glass at least half-full” outlook and his focus on the big picture. He celebrates the team’s accomplishments and consistently reminds everyone that their hard work is about helping other people.
“In short, success is producing results that make a difference in people’s lives.” (PV)
Pure Gold: the Art and Science of Success
Daniel Gold, Ph.D.
Company: MEI Pharma
Associations: ASH, ASCO, the American Association of Immunologists (AAI)
When Dan Gold, Ph.D., was asked to step in as CEO to restructure MEI Pharma, he more than rose to the challenge. Dr. Gold shepherded the company through a transformational period and revived interest in drug candidates that had been overlooked. In the process, he has built a supportive, professional work environment.
MEI Pharma (formerly Marshall Edwards Inc.) had been struggling with under-capitalization and disappointing clinical results when Dr. Gold took the reins in 2010. He moved the company from Australia to the United States, staffed the team appropriately, and turned around its pipeline through strategic in-licensing of underappreciated molecules for the treatment of various cancers.
Dr. Gold has an extraordinary knack for uncovering overlooked drug candidates, obtaining them cost-effectively, and conducting necessary research to answer important questions and realize their development potential.
With a Ph.D. in immunology and 15 years of basic research experience, he successfully serves as the de-facto chief scientific officer for MEI in addition to his official capacity as CEO. Dr. Gold is applying his considerable skills as the primary evaluator of the science and technologies the company is interested in pursuing. Complementing all of this, is his knack for business excellence, which has allowed Dr. Gold to raise, secure, and conserve capital, convene the right people, and set his team on a path for success.
Curing cancer is a long end-game business Dr. Gold says, and he understands that patience and persistence are necessary virtues to navigate the ups and downs of drug development. For example, after a negative Phase II MDS trial with the drug pracinostat, Dr. Gold did not shut down the program as many advised. Instead, he encouraged the team to dig into the data to understand why it failed, while continuing to follow patients enrolled in a study assessing pracinostat in AML, disease closely related to MDS. His persistence was rewarded when pracinostat was granted with a break through designation by the FDA which helped secure a global partnership with Helsinn Pharmaceuticals for worldwide development and commercialization rights to pracinostat. For MDS, it turned out that many of the subjects were not able to tolerate the treatment, so they dropped out of the trial. With this knowledge, pracinostat returned to the clinic in MDS at a reduced dose, and early indications suggest this change allowed patients to stay for longer periods of time on the drug with hope that they will now derive beneficial effects.
Dr. Gold has a long resume of successes. His first role in the industry was as co-founder and chief scientific director of Favrille, which he considers to be a career highlight. He also was the first to successfully clone the CD3 epsilon gene in 1985.
As a leader, he believes in surrounding himself with talented, impassioned people and enabling them to perform to the best of their abilities. He trusts and positions his team members to succeed and then acknowledges their achievements.
“I challenge the people around me to think deeply about issues and then give them the autonomy to make a decision, using the best information on hand,” he says. “This allows people to confidently decide important courses of actions, without fear of taking the blame if it doesn’t work out. We all can then learn from the mistake and make the correct decision next time.”
He believes first and foremost in doing everything with integrity and he maintains an open mind, weighing both sides of an issue to make confident, well-informed decisions.
His team is inspired by Dr. Gold’s passion that the work they are doing significantly and positively impacts people’s lives. “If we perform well, we are doing good for countless cancer patients and their families,” he says.
In addition to his role at MEI, Dr. Gold serves on the board of trustees of Hope Funds for Cancer Research, which supports scientific research to address unmet medical need. (PV)
Paying It Forward
Industry Awards: EY NY Entrepreneur of the Year Finalist; Person of the Year by Saratoga Living Magazine; The Giving Circle’s Compassion Founders Award; Citizen of the Year by Saratoga County Citizens Committee for Mental Health; MedAdNews Industry Person of the Year
Company Awards: Number “Agency of the Year” Awards from all of the major healthcare publications; named INC 5000 Fastest Growing Companies list — seven years in a row; hundreds of creative awards over the years
Community Awards: Giving Circle’s Compassion Award; Albany Business Review’s Company of the Year; Heart Award, MedAdNews
At this point in Ed Mitzen’s storied career he has owned and led two health and wellness advertising agencies, including his current agency Fingerpaint, received every industry accolade, won multiple creative awards, so what’s left to do? For Ed, the answer is easy: pay it forward.
“My wife and I are currently building a homeless shelter for Saratoga County,” he says. “We are also trying to buy an old condemned church in Albany and turning it into a job creation engine for a very impoverished part of the city.”
He was recently recognized with the industry tribute of the Heart Award for his commitment to philanthropy and social causes.
“My philanthropic efforts have become such a big part of my life, and I’m grateful I am able to return to what I value most, which is helping others,” he says. “I am just finishing writing a book with Forbes called ‘More than a Number: The Power of Empathy and Philanthropy in Driving Ad Agency Performance.’ It’s a fun read that I would recommend to anyone in our industry.”
Ed reflected on his 25 years of experience running agencies to reveal what people need to know before starting a relationship with an ad firm. Ed provides helpful advice and warning signs of a good or bad ad agency, as well as the principles for creating a winning corporate culture.
Ed spends a lot of time thinking about what he can do for the Fingerpaint staff to make life exceptional.
“I want to have a company that every talented person in the industry is dying to work at,” he says. In fact, he says if he had unlimited resources he would pay for every employee’s rent or mortgage and then their kids’ tuition — talk about a life-changing benefit that would change peoples’ lives.
He has deliberately created a culture that brings out the best of the Fingerpainters, who are committed to executing meaningful brand experiences that are never paint by number.
In support of his teams’ efforts, Ed studies other industries to better understand how they are using technology and innovation to move their businesses forward. “This enables me to see what’s possible when companies don’t hide behind regulations’ limitations,” he says.
Teams operate in a title-less environment, so there are no hierarchies or fiefdoms to get in the way of generating great strategy and creative on behalf of their clients. “I get tremendous motivation by creating a positive culture for my staff,” he says. “I’m not in this game for the money. I want to leave a lasting legacy built on kindness and appreciation, as well as giving back to our communities.”
He is particularly proud that over the many ups and downs of agency life, he has never had to lay off a single person and while managing through economic highs and lows, he has always put his people before profits.
“My goal is to continue to build the premier independent health and wellness agency, while also taking exceptional care of my staff and our communities,” he says. “I try to lead from a position of empathy and kindness. My staff knows I will always be there for them, and in turn they give me their very best each and every day.”
Colleagues say Ed is the antithesis of a micromanager leader, something he also admits is one of his leadership strengths. “I hire people smarter than me and get out their way,” he says “I trust people to bring their ‘A’ game. And I leave my ego at the door and will take out the trash if it’s needed, which my staff sees and appreciates.”
Ed’s ego-less approach bleeds through to the organization’s structure, which includes integrated talent across offices in Saratoga Springs, N.Y.; Conshohocken, Pa.; Phoenix, Ariz.; and Cedar Knolls, N.J.
Ed is just as selfless in giving back to those who are looking for a mentor or guidance. “I try to be a mentor to anyone who asks,” he says. “Whether they are a high school student looking to study advertising in college, or a seasoned industry veteran who needs help with something, I will help anyone I can. My life has been exceedingly blessed, and I feel a responsibility to help others.” (PV)
Boldly Accelerating Access for the 5 Billion Patients in Need
Title: Global President, Emerging Markets
Awards: Annual Women Worth Watching Award, 2008; 2018 Auburn Seminary Woman of Moral Courage; 2016 Financial Times Top 100 LGBT Executives; 2015 Financial Times Top 100 LGBT Executives
Associations: Member of the Board of Gavi, the Vaccine Alliance; Catalyst Inc., advisory board
As global president of emerging markets for Pfizer’s biopharmaceuticals group, Susan Silbermann has established a bold vision to look past traditional models and strategies in order to improve and accelerate access to medicines for the more than 5 billion people in emerging parts of the world.
Under her leadership, the emerging markets business is innovating to partner with governments, non-governmental organizations, patients, and others to increase access to Pfizer’s portfolio in core therapeutic areas, including vaccines, oncology, inflammation and immunology, internal medicine, and rare disease, as well as anti-infectives and sterile injectables. The business is also developing programs and partnerships with nonprofit and other groups, such as Gavi, the Vaccine Alliance, and UNICEF, which are improving health and the quality of life in the poorest, underserved populations.
“For myself and my team, this means making bold moves, innovating, and not being afraid to question the status quo to impact billions of lives,” she says.
Before this role, Susan was the global president of Pfizer Vaccines, where she was responsible for the operational management and commercial development of vaccines that protect people at all stages of life and address unmet needs for serious and life-threatening conditions.
She led the launch of Prevenar 13 adult and Trumenba, the acquisition of Baxter Vaccines, as well as the establishment of a robust vaccines pipeline.
During her 30-year career, Susan says there have been plenty of times when she has been right and just as many when she was wrong. “I’ve learned from all of these experiences and had the courage to be authentic through each and every one of them,” she says. “I will continue to learn and honestly embrace who I am so that I keep growing, keep doing better, and hopefully inspire others to do the same.”
Access to needed medications globally is what matters most to Susan, who would like to see every person, regardless of their age, where they come from, or the size of their wallet, have sustainable access to the resources and treatments that they need to live a long and healthy life.
A strong believer in community, Susan says during a recent trip to Africa and in particular to the Korle Bu Teaching Hospital’s Sickle Cell Clinic in Ghana, which Pfizer has supported via a grant to its partner SickKids Foundation in Toronto, she witnessed how a network of physicians and volunteers are giving hope to many families through newborn screening, counseling, education, and care.
“When we work as a community committed to finding solutions, we can address many of the broader related health challenges, such as early screening to find these patients and begin managing disease, improving access to medicines and treatment, providing education, and even finding jobs for parents who need to work while also caring for their children,” she says.
An inclusive and professional leader, Susan is always happy to help others. She says a good leader works to understand each person as an individual and the part they play on the team, as well as their particular strengths and passions.
“When you can help people put those strengths to work, and they can see that what they are doing makes a real difference, their energy and commitment are unstoppable,” Susan says. “And, I’ve found that they, in turn, inspire others. It’s a true multiplier effect.”
She is passionate about diversity and inclusion and is the founding member and the first chair of Pfizer’s Global Women’s Council, helping to bring gender issues and career advancement to the forefront. She serves as a member of the Catalyst advisory board, and as the executive sponsor for Pfizer’s African American Leadership Network (PAALN). Her efforts can be directly linked to Pfizer having 32% women at the VP level and above. (PV)
Patients First, Always
Title: Chief Operating Officer
Industry Awards: Eisai Human Healthcare Award for Corporate Social Responsibility and Patients, 2012; Women in Industry Award; Corporate Reputation for Magnolia Meals Initiative, Wall Street Journal
Associations: Healthy Women, Vice Chair, board of directors
In every job she has held, Christine Verini has dedicated her life to making sure patients don’t wait for needed treatments. Through all of her diverse range of positions — from commercial and medical affairs on the pharma side to chief operating officer at the nonprofit organization CancerCare — she has never lost her passion or her focus on patients.
Christine’s knowledge of the cancer marketplace runs deep and she is an expert on some of the most difficult issues people with with a cancer diagnosis face. She is committed to sharing her insights with the hope that by being better informed, stakeholders can collaborate to solve these complex issues.
Fellow CancerCare board members say her experience as a creative thinker, a developer of people, and a mission-driven professional are the attributes that every organization looks for in a leader. Colleagues who have worked with her over the years all say she continuously strives to innovatively champion patient advocacy and support.
Cancer patients and their loved ones have certainly benefited in many ways from her leadership, background, and experience throughout her career. She is passionate about understanding the patient journey to ensure it is always at the forefront of everything she does.
“I understand that patients are active consumers in their care,” Christine says. “My role is to make sure patients and their families are proactive in not just their physical health, but their emotional health as well.”
For example, when she worked at Eisai Pharmaceuticals she helped create and launch Magnolia Meals, a program that provides meals at no cost to households affected by cancer. It was her desire to learn more about the practical needs of people impacted from a cancer diagnosis undergoing treatment that led her to realize there was an area of unmet need and it was out of this discovery that this amazing program was born.
Christine moved from the drug manufacturing industry and joined the team at CancerCare in 2015; she was appointed chief operating officer in 2018. In this role, she oversees the daily operations of the nonprofit organization and provides leadership to functional areas, including human resources, information technology, program marketing, facilities, financial assistance, and public relations. She leads the development and execution of organizational strategies and business plans, evaluates and revises processes, and acts as a company spokesperson.
CancerCare, which turned 75 this year, is a leading national organization that provides free, professional support services and information to help people manage the emotional, practical, and financial challenges that cancer presents. The organization’s services include counseling and support groups via one, online, and in-person; educational workshops; publications; and financial and co-payment assistance — all provided by oncology social workers and world-leading cancer experts.
Christine says her role at CancerCare is her proudest achievement so far in her career, and the most demanding. “Trying to help as many patients and families as possible is so rewarding, but also challenging,” she says.
Colleagues report that since coming onboard, she has helped strengthen the organization and contributed to the development of many important strategic partnerships and programs. She has used her business acumen to easily transition from the pharmaceutical industry to the chief operating officer position.
Her colleagues say Christine’s dedication to the cancer community is unwavering and her passion for advocating for patients and their families is inspiring beyond measure. (PV)
Did Someone Say Chatbot?
Title: Chief Experience Officer
Industry Awards: Multiple MM&M awards
Associations: Executive in Residence (EIR) Program – University of California, Irvine
Chatbots and Paul Balagot. The story goes at precisioneffect that Paul, who recognized the power of the technology, would propose a chatbot at every opportunity. Colleagues say they couldn’t get him to stop talking about them.
By the end of 2018, however, Paul’s drive pushed the agency to its strongest innovation year ever: AI technology infused into two branded patient chatbots, the first drug branded healthcare skill for Amazon Alexa, and a highly engaging Wii Fit game developed for HCPs.
Bringing that level of interactivity and authenticity into the highly regulated, highly conservative field of pharmaceuticals requires a substantially higher level of superhuman patience, planning, ingenuity, negotiation, and salesmanship. When his team members were struggling with navigating the complex world of voice assistant technology and natural language processing, he told them: If it were easy, everyone would be doing it.
“As chief experience officer, I’m responsible for driving innovation throughout the organization,” Paul says. “That being said, innovation comes from all areas of the organization and always starts with defining a true unmet need or problem that needs solving. We pressure test on the problem and use case before deciding to invest in solving it as it’s important for us that the innovations we develop have strong clinical and commercial utility.”
Paul reminds his team that by its nature, innovation means there are very few guidebooks or how-to documents to help. He recommends that they just roll up their sleeves and be prepared to be disappointed, exhausted, and, ultimately, completely thrilled when something works out.
His innovative bent does not stop at branded chatbots and Alexa skills. He continues to search for new ways to integrate AI, voice, and real-world evidence into everyday healthcare applications. Also, he and his team have pioneered many industry breakthroughs, including a black-box Facebook community, branded Pandora advertising, and podcast sponsorships for healthcare professionals.
“I measure success by assessing the amount of new ground I’ve been able to break both professionally and personally,” Paul says. “Life is dynamic and ever-changing and I believe one must continue to look for ways to expand their horizons and get out of their comfort zone to keep up with the pace of change.”
Paul’s unique ability to see new opportunities is grounded in his own somewhat differentiated education. At UC Irvine he received degrees in biology and drama, elevating his love for science and the art of storytelling. He capped that experience with a completely different turn when he was accepted into Johnson & Johnson’s information management leadership development program. Paul credits the program with accelerating his appreciation for technology and its vast applications in healthcare.
As a leader in precisioneffect’s West Coast office, he has created an environment that produces first-in-class quality communications and top-notch relationships, resulting in the company becoming the second-largest healthcare agency in the area.
He also spearheaded the agency’s internal team compliance program to ensure new and tenured team members were always up on the latest compliance trends, enabling clients to sleep better at night.
Paul leads by assisting others to find the answers themselves. He challenges his teams to rethink operations and consistently scale media and engagement to meet the needs of clients. He approaches problem solving with so much patience, composure, and focus that he creates a sense of assurance and safety even when facing steep challenges.
“I’ve learned that whatever obstacle or challenge life throws at you, you will often wind up ahead by embracing the challenge versus shying away from it,” Paul says. “By embracing obstacles, we are in a mindset of exploring what can be done versus what can’t. This mentality has served me well and opened up opportunities I didn’t expect.” (PV)
The Original Disruptor
Susan Dorfman, Ph.D.
Company: CMI Media
Awards: PM360 ELITE, HBA Rising Star, MM&M Innovation Catalyst; Co-author: Electronic Health Records: Strategies for Long-Term Success
associations: Edison Ventures Fund — Edison Director Network Member
Continuous iimprovement and disruptive innovation are central to Susan Dorfman, Ph.D.’s leadership style. As president of CMI Media, Dr. Dorfman pushes boundaries to ensure the company continues to be indispensable to clients in the long term.
Dr. Dorfman’s focus on the audience and what moves them — from the perspectives of behavior, psychology, and predictive analytics mashed up with unique vision and a disruptive mindset — has her consistently pushing the envelope to the benefit of the agency’s clients.
She has been instrumental in CMI/Compas’s growth as a leader over the past eight years. She draws on her diverse background, insights, and passion to bring new ways to engage with pharma’s most important audiences, and ultimately increase awareness of new products that will result in better health outcomes.
Before her recent promotion, Dr. Dorfman was chief commercial officer at CMI/Compas and played a central role in developing and launching industry-changing tools and processes. In the past year she led the launch of ByConsumer, a revolutionary way to market to patients and consumers via relevant, personal, and customized targeting solutions.
This success aligns to the impact she made with ByDoctor, which enables pharma clients to identify the most efficient and effective ways to reach healthcare providers. The two offerings have helped identify CMI as a leading force in pharma marketing.
In addition, she conceived and launched CMI’s Own the Audience program, where CMI takes full marketing responsibility for a pharma client’s brand. She looked at traditional approaches to engaging with HCPs, and rather than following the tried-and-true methods she tackled the challenge of engaging with low-see and no-see HCPs to understand what made them tick, overlaying the traditional nonpersonal promotion (NPP) outreach with deep data insights. Dr. Dorfman was so convinced this approach would work that CMI told clients the company would front the money for the initiative. Not only has this plan worked extremely well, returning an incredible amount on investment, but it has completely changed the approach to NPP.
She has dramatically scaled up the data and analytics team within CMI to extract more insights using AI and machine learning to help clients bring therapies to patients.
Dr. Dorfman believes in what CMI does, and says the results speak for themselves. “I work for the people who work for our company and no task is too large or small,” she says. “I love to learn; I never stop reading and I also never settle for no. I think this attitude is infectious and inspirational because it’s honest and is built on proof and the trust of the people with whom I work.”
Colleagues are inspired by Dr. Dorfman’s adoption of CMI’s mission, her attention to people — team members and clients — and her visionary approach to offerings. She believes there is no challenge that can’t be solved. And by working closely with top industry minds, she and her colleagues don’t fear obstacles and are motivated to overcome them. “Seeing CMI deliver on our mission year after year with growth and scale has truly made coming to work an incredible honor and adventure,” she says. “My goal is to lead our organization forward to dream the unthinkable, build the unimaginable, and deliver the unexpected.”
Dr. Dorfman was recognized in 2008 and 2009 as a PharmaVOICE 100 for her mission-driven style. Colleagues say her kindness and passion make her a true beacon of inspiration to all future leaders. (PV)
Doing Something Great
Jeffrey D. Erb
Title: Global President of Engagement
Company: McCann Health
Industry Awards: MM&M 2019 Top 10 Innovation Catalyst; PM360 2018 Most Innovative Company; MM&M Health Influencer 50; DTC Perspectives Innovator of the Year; PM360 Elite Transformational Leader; Healthcare Marketer’s Exchange Humanitarian Organization of the Year Special Jury Prize; Ben Franklin Award, Most Innovative New Company
Associations: Point of Care Communications Council; Volunteers of America; Food Bank for NY City; Pajama Program; Ad Club of New York, Brain and Behavior Research Foundation
Having recently joined McCann Health to lead customer engagement globally, Jeffrey Erb is building upon the success he had in establishing HealixGlobal within IPG Mediabrands. In less than three years of its launch, HealixGlobal achieved aggressive revenue goals and more than doubled in size, while continuing to bring innovation to the highly regulated, and often slow to adopt, healthcare industry. And that was, in large part, due to the vision and passion of its president, Jeffrey Erb.
Jeff focuses on being collaborative and looks for his team to work in partnership with him toward the organization’s strategic goals. Colleagues say his transparency and open communication about the strategic direction of the agency keep them all aligned on the same objectives. He makes his team feel like they have a stake in the organization and are valued no matter what seniority or tenure they have. Jeff empowers his teams, which allows them to be innovative, build new skill sets, speak up with ideas, and bring their passion into their work. He is the type of leader others want to be.
Jeff’s philosophy is that the best way to build a great organization is to empower people, and to ensure that they do not feel like an employee, but rather that they are part of a larger whole. After all, he says, people spend 80% of their waking lives at work, and that environment should not be dictated to them, but rather it should be cultivated and grown based on open collaboration.
“My leadership style is one of transparency, honesty, and approachability,” Jeff says. “I meet with every single person who joins the company and I make an effort to take people out to lunch on a one-to-one basis as frequently as possible.”
Colleagues say the agency’s open culture is a direct result of his leadership style. During a recent employee survey, the open-ended responses reflected how much this culture is valued. In short, employees love it.
On the innovation front, Jeff has incorporated psychological and behavioral data to improve media targeting and engagement for healthcare providers and consumers, something that has been elusive. He is responsible for bringing high levels of qualitative and quantitative analytics to the forefront of the creative and media planning process through the development of HealixGlobal’s proprietary analytics tools, Synapse and DNA.
Synapse is a behavioral engine that evaluates motivations behind why people interact with media. DNA allows the agency to layer traditional qualitative marketing data with the psychology of human qualitative engagement. Together, the tools provide valuable insight into why people engage with communication programs the way they do — all anonymously and within HIPAA guidelines.
“I have an entrepreneurial spirit and enjoy coming up with new approaches and solutions to problems,” he says. “I tend to find it hard to relax, as my mind is usually spinning on a new way of tackling things. I don’t think I’d make a good retiree.”
Jeff has a natural desire to keep the industry moving forward and improve how brands connect with healthcare providers, patients, and caregivers, which is reflected in the groundbreaking solutions he creates to address the market’s needs. “I enjoy pushing people to think outside of the box, to come up with new approaches, and then applying these ideas to healthcare,” Jeff says. “I am the driver of this process.”
Jeff’s motto, although already taken by Nike, is the way he lives his life: Just Do It. “I don’t wait around for others to provide opportunities for me, I create my own opportunities. To be successful you have to work as a team, drop your ego, and make things happen. You make an impact by just being the best version of yourself you can be.”(PV)
Editor’s Note: As this issue was going to press, Jeff was named global president of engagement at McCann Health.
Pushing the Boundaries of Science
Pablo J. Cagnoni, M.D.
Company: Rubius Therapeutics
Associations: ASCO, AACR; CRISPR Therapeutics, board of directors; Tizona Therapeutics, board of directors, and Tango Therapeutics, board of directors
Rubius Therapeutics is developing an entirely new class of medicines, Red Cell Therapeutics, or RCTs, and CEO Pablo Cagnoni, M.D., is leading the charge. The relatively new biopharma company is focused on genetically engineering red blood cells to turn them into medicines for metabolic disorders, cancer and autoimmune diseases. The goal of these medicines is to be more efficacious and carry fewer safety risks than other gene and cell therapies.
“We’re going to change medicine for patients, by focusing on patients, while working with integrity and pushing the boundaries of science by creating an entirely new class of cellular medicines,” Pablo tells his team.
Pablo has significant experience working with innovative medicines. For the past 20 years he has been committed to advancing the development of breakthrough treatments for people with cancer and other diseases. He has played a key role in the development, approval, and commercialization of more than 20 life-changing treatments, including Tasigna, Afinitor, Kyprolis, and Tarceva.
Before joining Rubius, Pablo most recently served as president and CEO of Tizona Therapeutics, a privately held biotech company focused on developing next-generation immunotherapies for the treatment of cancer. Before Tizona, he served as president of Onyx Pharmaceuticals, where he had global strategic oversight and accountability of the business from early product development to commercialization of the company’s portfolio. At the time of his departure, Onyx was on track to deliver yearly revenue in excess of $1 billion and had more than 800 employees.
He has also authored more than 50 publications, numerous book chapters, and has lectured extensively in several areas related to clinical oncology and drug development.
When Pablo joined Rubius in June 2018, he led the IPO team that successfully took the company public, just one month later. He has grown the company from 50 to 250 employees while advancing and building the pipeline. Pablo hit the ground running, colleagues say, immersing himself in the company’s vision, mission, pipeline, data, and strategic plan.
In addition to his oncology and innovative biopharma expertise, Pablo is an inspiring leader, solid communicator, and charismatic professional. He calls his leadership style inclusive but decisive. “I believe in creating the right culture, hiring and inspiring the right people, and advancing science-driven decision making that puts patients first,” he says.
Colleagues say he is the perfect leader to oversee such an ambitious approach as RCT. He inspires confidence as an oncologist and experienced industry leader. He is patient focused, a great communicator, and readily addresses issues and solves problems by engaging his team. He believes in the value of company culture and leads with a touch of humility. Colleagues admire his courage and decisiveness to make hard decisions when sometimes the choice is unpopular, but it is the right thing to do. He has compassion for people, which shines through in his interactions with employees, patients, and patient advocacy organizations. And he has a sense of urgency to deliver new medicines to patients as quickly as possible. He reminds his teams that they can always be doing better, and they actually want to do better, to try harder, and to do it with integrity under his leadership.
Pablo’s focus on patients was on display during an “all-hands” meeting, so that all employees could hear directly from the head of the National PKU Alliance patient advocacy organization. Phenylketonuria, or PKU, is the disease that Rubius’ lead product is being developed to address.
In the company’s newly designed office space, Pablo was assigned an office, but forwent the formality and he moved into the open seating area to be in contact with employees; his office is now used as a conference room.
Another remarkable testament to his leadership is that employee turnover in 2018 was less than 1%. This is truly remarkable — if not unprecedented — in the Cambridge/Boston area where biotech scientists are so heavily recruited from one company to another.
Pablo lists the development and approval of numerous life-saving and life-changing medicines; his part in the first industry business development transaction for CART cell therapy at Novartis; and Rubius’ recent IPO — the largest in history for a preclinical stage company — as career highlights.
“I want to look back at my career and know that I have done everything that I possibly could to change and extend the lives of patients with cancer and other debilitating diseases,” Pablo says. (PV)
Moving the Business of Medical Media Forward
John F. Donovan
Company: Compas Inc.
Industry Awards: CFO of the Year Philadelphia Business Journal, 2016; Elected to the NJ Tech Council CFO Hall of Fame 2016
Community Awards: Elected to the Delaware Valley Irish Hall of Fame, 2011
Associations: Secretary/Treasurer and Past President of the Irish Memorial Inc.; Director Emeritus and Past President of The Friendly Sons of St. Patrick
As chief financial officer, John Donovan has played a massive part in the continuous goal-breaking growth at CMI/Compas. Now as president of Compas, he aims to guide the agency to the next chapter of growth and innovation.
By focusing on relationships with media suppliers, as well as with clients, John has led Compas to be the innovative agency it has grown to be: delivering a new level of media management services, including the highest standards in accountability and transparency, in the most cost-effective manner. His endorsement of a “performance-based” model for sharing savings with clients has demonstrated Compas’ ability to fully stand behind its services and solutions.
John says his recent appointment to president of Compas is the culmination of his professional goals after serving in several financial and managerial positions over a 40-plus year career, 23 of which have been in the pharma industry. His role is to find more efficient, accountable, and innovative processes to effectively manage clients’ media investments and deliver the greatest overall value and return.
In fact, if John had unlimited resources he would provide the entire industry with better technology to eliminate the waste and fraud that is prevalent in digital advertising.
“Those savings can be reinvested in such things as new drug discovery, better compliance, and better outcomes,” he says.
John is not afraid to take risks when decisions are anchored in robust analytics from his team. With this mindset, he has been able to transform the client-agency relationship in an environment defined by extreme regulation and cost pressure. His superior negotiation skills have resulted in millions of dollars in savings, reduced risk, and increased profitability for the agency.
In 2016 when Compas sister agency CMI Media was acquired by WPP, John played a huge role in its success, serving as point person through the diligence and contract review processes.
Colleagues say he is a trusted mentor for many, lending his time, an ear, or financial advice whenever needed.
Colleagues also say John leads with integrity and principle. He pushes and strives for the organization to innovate but does so in a manner that is always consistent with the company’s values.
John says his style is to lead by example. “I learned this from my father,” he says. “Actions speak louder than words. Demonstrating a strong work ethic, a passionate belief in the mission of the company, and doing the right thing for clients, suppliers, and co-workers can be extremely gratifying and rewarding.”
One thing that stands out about John that shows who he really is is his respectful interactions with suppliers. Suppliers are treated the same way clients are. Negotiations are not an opportunity to get the most out of the other party; they are an opportunity to make sure everyone is getting what they need and want. He established guidelines and policies that dictate that everyone at CMI/Compas treats suppliers with the same respect.
In fact, Compas has a dedicated team that focuses on supplier relationships. And as a result, the company has strong relationships that greatly benefit clients.
Colleagues say he is a go-to person for all departments across the more than 500 people at CMI/Compas. He is completely approachable and extremely knowledgeable in all facets of the pharma industry, as well as the CMI/Compas business.
When challenges arise, John says, he aims to be calm, positive, and helpful. “I’m willing to roll up my sleeves and work alongside those around me,” he says. “I break the challenge down into manageable chunks and create small wins until the challenge is solved.”
Those who work with John say he is a great mentor and an essential leader. “I think it’s important to pay it forward,” he says, “I think it often makes the road traveled less bumpy.(PV)
Driving Transformative Changes
Doug Williamson, M.D.
Title: Chief Medical Officer and VP, US Medical
Associations: PhRMA Research & Development Leadership Forum; MAPS Executive Forum
When Doug Williamson, M.D., was a child he wanted to be an astronaut to explore parts unknown within our galaxy. As he grew older, he changed course and decided he wanted to explore the parts unknown in an area that is extremely close and personal to each of us: the mind. He became a psychiatrist and committed himself to tackling the challenge of brain disorders. “I have a passion for confronting unsolved healthcare challenges in an area where science isn’t making fast enough progress: neuroscience,” he says.
Today, as chief medical officer and VP, U.S. medical at Lundbeck, Doug is helping the company achieve the goal of restoring brain health, so every person can be their best. He launched an ambitious transformation project — a new operating model that elevates Lundbeck’s U.S. medical group from a supportive role to a more proactive and strategic business-critical role.
At the core of the transformation project is the development of several new capabilities that will better enable his team to proactively leverage strategic insights to drive the U.S. business. Lundbeck’s U.S. medical group is well on its way to becoming a well-integrated, data-driven department that generates strategic knowledge in support of the patients the company serves and the business.
The cross-functional operating model introduced by the project gives medical professionals a seat at the table, ensuring the overarching strategy for products incorporates medical expertise and insights and is firmly rooted in unmet patient, prescriber, and payer needs.
He believes in the power of working collaboratively across teams, functions, and geographies to do more for patients, customers, and the company. That’s why he is championing a variety of cross-functional collaborations between Lundbeck US and its global headquarters in Denmark, including efforts to inject regional perspectives into global research and development decisions. Raising the needs of prescribers and patients from across all regions helps Lundbeck more completely meet the needs of its customers.
Doug encourages his team members to focus on what they do well and use their expertise to help more patients, and U.S. medical colleagues actively pursue collaborations with other companies, academic research institutions, and nonprofits in a variety of pre-competitive, patient-centric collaborations. A recently announced collaboration is aimed at identifying biomarkers for schizophrenia; and a first-of-its-kind precompetitive, public-private collaboration is working to incorporate patient/caregiver-rated endpoints into development and approval of new Alzheimer’s treatments.
Doug says while setbacks and challenges are endemic to neuroscience research, there are no “failures” in brain research and there is no such thing as wasted time. “For every study that doesn’t work out or every new drug that doesn’t meet its end points, we learn something that moves us forward,” he says. “By reminding ourselves that there is always something to be learned and applied toward our next step forward, we work to keep everyone motivated and focused on the important job of restoring brain health.”
Doug works to unite his team to achieve a common purpose: restoring brain health. “I try to create an environment that allows creativity and innovation to thrive,” he says. “I am always cautious about innovation for innovation’s sake; innovation should usually be the answer to a problem, not another question.”
Doug actively works to reject the “leaders are the experts” notion and succeeds in building a team where everyone is encouraged to bring their talents and ideas forward so that they can bring transformational therapies to those living with some of the most complex diseases.
He is committed to career development and he actively works to promote those who live out Lundbeck’s purpose and beliefs. In the past two years, Doug has promoted 18 employees on his team of 95. Of the promotions given, 72% were obtained by women. His dedication to his responsibility in fostering a collaborative, inclusive environment that promotes those most qualified, helps build the highly stable and motivational environment in which his employees feel empowered to make smart decisions. “I try to focus on what we’re trying to achieve and why it’s important, and then challenge us to find a way to get there together,” Dr. Williamson says. (PV)
Innovating with a Mission
Christopher J. Schaber, Ph.D.
Title: Chairman, President, and CEO
Company: Soligenix Inc.
Industry Awards: Chairman of BioNJ, 2019; Finalist for the EY Entrepreneur of the Year award, 2018
Company Awards: Corporate LiveWire Healthcare & Life Sciences Awards, 2016; Excellence in Developing Treatments for Rare Diseases, 2016
Associations: Board Member and Chairman, BioNJ; Corporate Council Member National Organization for Rare Disorders (NORD); Member of Emerging Company, Rare Disease, Regulatory and Biodefense Committees — Biotechnology Innovation Organization (BIO); Member of Rowan University Entrepreneurship Advisory Council; Member of Rutgers University Industry Advisory Board; Member of NJ Research, Innovation and Talent Working Group (advisory group to NJ Governor Phil Murphy)
Over a 30-year career, Christopher Schaber, Ph.D., has been dedicated to developing drug therapies to treat rare diseases and areas of unmet medical need.
By collaborating to bring to market two neonatal drug therapies for orphan diseases, which have had a positive impact on saving lives. The first is a novel pharmaceutical gas, called INOmax (inhaled nitric oxide), for pulmonary applications in newborn infants. The second is a synthetic surfactant technology, Surfaxin (lucinactant) to prevent and treat respiratory distress syndrome in premature infants.
He has created a novel business model at Soligenix to fund development efforts that bridge both therapeutic indications and medical countermeasures (MCMs). Over the last several years, Dr. Schaber has led the charge in raising significant capital on the open markets as well as identifying, writing, reviewing, and/or submitting multiple government grants and contracts that have resulted in awards of more than $70 million that provided major financial assistance in advancing the company’s rare disease pipeline. He understands that raising capital for clinical biotech is oftentimes challenging, especially when the pipeline’s value is not fully appreciated or recognized.
“I have to continue to be creative, positive, and always keep the main goal of our team’s hard work at the forefront of my mind,” he says. “For me it is always, first and foremost, helping patients. In the biotechnology industry there are always obstacles, and in drug development there are more failures than successes; therefore, it’s crucial to be prepared, anticipate success, plan for failure as well, and develop potential contingencies/scenarios that will allow you to move forward.”
Dr. Schaber believes that any detours, setbacks, or failures that he has experienced along his career provided tremendous life experiences that helped shape the type of person and leader he is today. And he draws on good advice he received in his career: do what you love for as long as you can; stay focused; always challenge yourself to improve the way you do things; and when you get knocked down, always get up. “I try to avoid getting too high with the highs or too low with the lows,” he says.
Today, Dr. Schaber and his team are overseeing two pivotal Phase III clinical programs, one of which is to determine the efficacy of SGX301 (topical synthetic Hypericin) and fluorescent light irradiation for the treatment of cutaneous T-cell lymphoma (CTCL) and a study of SGX942 for the treatment of oral mucositis in patients being treated with concomitant chemoradiation for the treatment of squamous cell carcinoma of the head and neck.
Dr. Schaber also leads the charge within his organization to work with and provide support to advocacy organizations, be it in his role as a member of the corporate council for the National Organization for Rare Disorders, his time on the board of the Alliance for Biosecurity, or serving as board chair of BioNJ. He also collaborates with smaller rare disease patient advocacy organizations, such as the Cutaneous Lymphoma Foundation, and he is active in academia, fostering and advising on entrepreneurship with multiple universities, including Rowan, Rutgers, and Temple.
He always makes sure the contributions of his employees are recognized. Employees say Dr. Schaber leads by example and truly cares and that he has positioned the company to look out for them and their well-being.
He takes time to mentor others, saying it’s important to grow the next generation of leaders and drug developers. “I love working with bright, passionate people,” he says. “I remain committed to having a positive impact on patients’ lives while educating and guiding tomorrow’s leaders. (PV)
Rising to the Challenge
Title: President and CEO
Industry Awards: Women’s Fund of New Jersey as a Woman Advancing Science; NJBIZ New Jersey’s Best 50 Women in Business; Honored by the New Jersey State General Assembly in commemoration of Women’s History Month as a Woman Advancing Science; PolitickerNJ’s Health Care Power List; World’s 100 Most Influential People in Biotechnology by Scientific American Worldview; ROI-NJ’s Influencers Power List ; HudsonMod Magazine’s list of Women in Power; New Jersey’s top CEOs by COMMERCE Magazine; New Jersey’s Top 25 Leading Women Entrepreneurs & Business Owners by Leading Women Entrepreneurs; named seven times to the NJBIZ Power 100, a listing of the 100 most influential people in New Jersey business; named twice to the NJBIZ Top 50 Healthcare Influencers
Company Awards: New Jersey Inventors Hall of Fame Award, from the New Jersey Institute of Technology
Community Awards: Woman of Achievement by the Mercer County Board of Chosen Freeholders; Anchor House Volunteer Award; New Jersey Society of Association Executives Points of Light Award; New Jersey Society of Association Executives Executive of the Year Award; Community Spirit Award from the New Jersey Council of Community Colleges
The most empowering and impactful professional advice Debbie Hart ever received was: “Just be yourself.” She holds that advice close as she works hard to move the needle of care for patients in need and to empower and encourage others to move their needles as well. She describes rising to and working with her team and members to conquer the challenges facing the biopharma industry as one of the most exciting parts of what she does.
Under her leadership as founding president and CEO of BioNJ, Debbie advocates on behalf of the industry to bolster medical innovation, support the discovery and development of new therapies and cures, and ensure patients have access to the right medicines and treatments at the right time.
What she has achieved has garnered the attention of other biotech organizations, and she was recently invited to address the board of another biotech state affiliate. “This was incredibly humbling that our industry colleagues thought that we might be able to share something of value,” she says.
This past year, Debbie was named by N.J. Governor Phil Murphy to the reinstated New Jersey Commission on Science, Innovation and Technology and she was elected as chair of the state’s bicameral, bipartisan biotechnology task force, where she spearheaded a white paper urging state government action to help the biopharma industry. Many of the task force proposals have either been adopted or are working their way through the legislative process. The governor also appointed Debbie as co-chair of the New Jersey Higher Education Strategic Plan Research, Innovation and Talent Working Group, where she continues to impact research, innovation, and collaboration among the state’s academic institutions and industry with the goal to positively impact research at New Jersey’s academic institutions and the opportunities for STEM students and professors at New Jersey institutions.
As a result of her tireless efforts to advance medical innovation and make a difference for patients around the world, Debbie was named one of the world’s 100 most influential people in biotechnology by Scientific American Worldview. In addition to BIO President and CEO Jim Greenwood, Debbie was the only trade association executive named to the list and one of only 26 prominent women within the biotechnology industry to be included.
Colleagues say Debbie leads by challenging herself and others to do better, and her innovative approach to problem-solving inspires them to also think outside of the box. “I am candid about what works and just as candid about what doesn’t,” she says. “I believe giving people the gift of feedback allows them to adjust course to be their most successful selves. I try to create a supportive environment where my team can make mistakes and grow and succeed and, most importantly, have fun.”
Success, she says, is measured one person at a time, whether it’s supporting someone in a job transition, helping an entrepreneur find funding, or connecting with a potential partner. “The key for success is answered by the questions: ‘How many people did I help today and did I make a difference in someone’s life?’” she asks. (PV)
Digging Beneath the Skin’s Surface
Stuart Daniel Shanler, M.D.
Title: Chief Scientific Officer
Company: Aclaris Therapeutics Inc.
Associations: American Academy of Dermatology, fellow; American College of Mohs Micrographic Surgery and Cutaneous Oncology, fellow; American Society for Dermatologic Surgery, fellow; American Society for Lasers in Medicine and Surgery, fellow; Noah Worcester Dermatologic Society, elected Board of Trustees 2013; Society for Investigative Dermatology, sustaining member; Women’s Dermatological Society, member; National Rosacea Society, member; Dermatologists in Industry Association, member
Stuart Shanler, M.D.’s career can be defined in many ways, but the three adjectives that best describe him are: creative, tenacious, and zealously intellectual.
A Mohs surgeon and board-certified dermatologist, Stu theorized that alpha-agonists, specifically oxymetazoline, might address the most common symptom of rosacea: persistent facial redness. He taught himself about intellectual property and filed a patent for the treatment of rosacea. In 2009, he left private practice to co-found Vicept Therapeutics and filed an IND to develop a new medicine based on his discovery. He shepherded the treatment, now Rhofade, from conception all the way through FDA approval and commercialization.
The transition from being a full-time clinical practitioner to being chief scientific officer of a privately funded specialty pharma startup was a huge challenge, but Stu’s indomitable spirit was up to the task.
He and Cofounder Neal Walker built a team with the depth of expertise needed. And along the way, he expanded his formidable intellectual capabilities to include an understanding of drug formulation, clinical trial design, and FDA regulations.
Vicept was ultimately sold to Allergan. And in 2012, Stu cofounded Aclaris Therapeutics and became its chief scientific officer. He his committed to identifying promising new technologies, particularly for patients with difficult or underserved diseases.
At Aclaris, he continues to find medical applications for topically applied high-concentrations of hydrogen peroxide, for which he is known as a world expert. “For me, this often involves working with everyone from a solo inventor who may have a promising technology to interdisciplinary teams evaluating the pharmacologic potential of the drug candidate, the pathophysiologic mechanism of the disease, the commercial viability of such a product, etc.,” he says. “Though my title is chief scientific officer, I often feel that I am really more of a chief utility officer.”
One of his chief roles at Aclaris is to identify areas of unmet need and promising ideas or technologies. In addition, having developed a significant level of expertise working with intellectual property, he serves as an interpreter between the bench/preclinical researchers, formulators, and clinical researchers/clinical team, and the legal team to assure that the essence of the innovations are appropriately understood, disclosed, and filed.
Colleagues describe Stu as a problem-solver who is always ready to help them analyze situations and find solutions to all sorts of challenges. He is able to communicate at an in-depth level with people across all parts of the business — from research, drug development, clinical to commercial operations. Stu is as comfortable speaking with investors as he is with researchers.
Stu’s teams say he leads by example, demonstrating dedication to his work, a willingness to accept new challenges, and an ability to confront difficult problems head on. He understands how important it is to be the calm, rational voice in the room and to organize people and solutions.
“That said, the problems we deal with are often complex and require a multidisciplinary approach, and I think it is both reassuring and inspiring to work with a leader who appreciates that recognizing sometimes that outside expertise is needed and this is not a sign of weakness, but a sign of strength,” he says.
“As a practicing physician for almost 20 years, I have a personal connection to the work we do and how it can affect patients on an individual level.” (PV)
A Humanity-Driven Focus
Company: Ferring Pharmaceuticals Inc. (US)
Industry Awards: Eyeforpharma Board of Expert (2002-2003)
Company Awards: Sales Manager of the Year (Europe, P&G, 1995)
Community Awards: Hall of Fame, Business School ISC (Institut Superieur du Commerce de Paris), 2019
Associations: Event Co-Chair, Community Hope; Co-Gala Chair, Morris County Chamber Cabinet Member
As CEO of Ferring Pharmaceuticals, Paul Navarre has committed the company to developing disruptive, cutting-edge treatments and technologies for patients.
When he joined Ferring in 2017, the company’s main challenge was to create an innovative, strategic portfolio. “Since then, we’ve made tremendous progress,” Paul says. “We clarified the strategy and developed an exciting pipeline. This is translating into high single-digit top-line growth for 2019 and the very real prospect of doubling our sales in the next five years.”
He has been tireless in his efforts to grow the organization, working to broaden the company’s pipeline portfolio to include potential breakthrough treatments in new disease areas, including microbiome and uro-oncology, while at the same time building on the company’s leadership and deep legacy in women’s health and reproductive medicine.
Paul helped drive the strategic acquisition of microbiome pioneer Rebiotix, which developed RBX2660, an investigational compound with the potential to be the world’s first approved human microbiome product for the prevention of recurrent clostridium difficile infection (CDI). CDI is an infection that affects more than 500,000 people and causes about 29,000 deaths each year.
Paul has a deep understanding of the need to remove the stigma around infertility and engage women in healthy, fearless conversations.
In support of last year’s National Infertility Awareness Week in April, Ferring launched the #TalkAboutTrying campaign to raise awareness and empower women and couples to seek help sooner. The impactful campaign continues to encourage people to share their personal experiences on social media as a way to provide inspiration and support to those who are going through similar struggles.
Additionally, Paul is leading the commercialization efforts in the United States for a novel gene therapy in development as a potential treatment for patients with high-grade non-muscle invasive bladder cancer (NMIBC), who are unresponsive to Bacillus Calmette-Guérin therapy.
With a focus on transforming the company’s culture and motivating Ferring’s employees, Paul has set the organization on an ambitious trajectory to achieve its goals while maintaining a “people-first” philosophy that extends to employees, patients, and partners.
“I want to work with my team to develop an ever more impactful organization that creates valuable solutions for patients, physicians, and our shareholders,” he says. “I want to help the people around me to become better and happier in their roles knowing we are helping people to live better lives.”
His steady leadership and guidance helps team members overcome issues by remaining calm and positive. He inspires those around him to stay focused on what needs to be achieved and what can be controlled.
Paul is credited with creating an atmosphere of purposeful thinking, high-energy, and enthusiasm for what’s to come. He believes in always focusing on the end customer, managing through people, and staying true to who he is.
“I believe in people and I share my confidence with those I manage,” he says. “Authenticity is critical.”
Mentoring is important to Paul, who acts in this role as an official and informal mentor to several people.
“I always say yes when someone I know asks for my help,” he says. “This can be very demanding, but it also helps to keep my energy up. I like to give, and I receive a lot in return when I do.”
One of Paul’s main goals is to bring humanity back to healthcare and he has made this a focus of his speaking engagements at conferences.
“We need to make sure that we — all stakeholders — truly focus on helping patients rather than maximizing profits,” he says. “I am not opposed to doing both, but I am committed to putting humanity first.”
Paul supports several charities, and one of his favorite philanthropic causes is Ephata. “These are Catholic sisters helping young kids in Madagascar with eye diseases,” he says. “They educate them to become independent. Whatever you give them makes a huge difference.” (PV)