Robin Robinson, Kim Ribbink, and Taren Grom, Editor
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Business Intelligence Meets Clinical Data
Driven to innovate by Inefficiencies
When problem solving, Will Cheung takes a step back to look at the big picture and identify common themes to see what clicks.
He challenges traditional project plans and digs deep to create customized, customer-focused approaches.
In his role as director of customer solutions at Comprehend Systems, Mr. Cheung is always seeking ways to drive the clinical research forward and challenges CROs and sponsors alike to try new approaches and do things differently. He is dedicated to delivering modern technology to the industry in a manner that caters specifically to client needs.
Mr. Cheung has always had an interest in and talent for computer engineering, in particular how programming and technology could be applied to solve critical business issues.
He began his professional career in business intelligence consulting in retail sector for a software company, where he sought to solve customer challenges with tools that drive metrics, add value, and improve processes and efficiencies.
Mr. Cheung then spent several years in leadership roles at big name consumer-focused companies, including Blackhawk Network, Netflix, and Facebook, not only to solving data challenges but also presenting and executing ideas that had huge impact to the organizations.
When he joined Comprehend in 2012, he quickly realized that the life-sciences industry was lagging technologically behind other markets, and saw tremendous potential for filling a critical gap through cloud-based clinical data insights technology.
With his business intelligence background, Mr. Cheung helps lead the Comprehend team in revitalizing the industry by shifting sponsors and CROs away from cumbersome data warehousing tools. He is driving the industry forward by working with customers to customize performance metrics and analytics at a time when drug and device developers are struggling with unprecedented volumes of data.
Like his colleagues and former PharmaVOICE 100 honorees Rick Morrison and Jud Gardner, he practices the mantra of one size does not fit all, and works with customers to customize the best solutions and strategies to meet their individual business objectives.
Mr. Cheung is technically knowledgeable, aware of the business landscape, and very sensitive to the needs of customers.
CROs and pharma companies are bound to tight controls regarding data security and user access, and Mr. Cheung understands and manages these challenges with a respectful, intelligent approach.
He easily builds trust with life-sciences companies by empowering them to solve problems and bottlenecks in drug or device development. Being able to solve problems for customers, and seeing them happy with better and more efficient processes is why he goes to work each day.
He helped navigate a small CRO from system configuration through training and into the launch of its first two studies, always happy to answer questions about how to create all manner of graphs and reports. And he quickly responds to changes in customer needs.
It’s the type of work that requires creativity, a technical mastery of the product, and the ability to communicate effectively and patiently with customers — all attributes that Mr. Cheung possesses.
Working for a small start-up with limited resources involves a constant balance of ensuring customer success and hiring the best industry experts to keep up with expanding customer base. Mr. Cheung and his team not only create dashboards on Comprehend’s analytics platform, but also provide extremely valuable services and support to empower customers to explore their own data.
Mr. Cheung inspires his team by empowering them with the freedom and responsibility to do anything they feel is right that will benefit the company and customers. Because his team also works closely with engineering team, he ensures that his team members are responsible and accountable to the overall well-being of the cross-functional teams.
“I believe in giving the right context and vision, and setting people up for success,” he says. “Without context, it’s almost impossible to get others to understand what you’re trying to achieve and make them your champions. By providing the right vision, it will align their goals with yours, and it will also give them the tools that will make them successful.”
He maintains that as a leader the focus must be to recruit and retain talent, and everything else will fall in place after that.
Getting to Know…
Title: Director of Customer Solutions
Company: Comprehend Systems
Education: M.S., Computer Engineering, Carnegie Mellon University; B.S., Computer Engineering, Carnegie Mellon University
Family: Wife; daughter, 3; son, 18 months
Hobbies: Basketball, squash, guitar
Tweet at: @willcheung
Social Media: LinkedIn, Twitter, Facebook, Google+, Instagram
Turning a Vision into Solutions
Driven to innovate by Impact
A self-described tech geek, Michelle Marlborough has been at the forefront of transforming clinical trials with innovative technology and analytics.
As VP of product strategy at Medidata Solutions, she leads the team responsible for designing a platform of cloud-based solutions that is modernizing drug development and helping life-sciences companies bring needed therapies to patients faster and with lower cost and risk.
An industry thought leader, Ms. Marlborough is a passionate proponent of the role technology can play in improving clinical research.
Ms. Marlborough has long understood the value technology brings to drug development and its potential to make clinical trials run better, smarter, and safer. For more than seven years, she worked at major pharmaceutical companies, experiencing firsthand the burden data managers struggle with because of outdated processes and systems. While considering how to conduct a very large and complex trial more efficiently, Ms. Marlborough came across Medidata Rave, a single system for clinical data capture, management, and reporting, and immediately recognized its potential to modernize clinical development.
In 2005, based on a desire to address industry pain points caused by cumbersome and costly clinical trials processes, Ms. Marlborough made a career-changing decision and joined Medidata Solutions. She jumped at the chance to work for a company that was challenging industry norms with new ways of thinking about and using innovative technology.
She describes her role at Medidata as her dream job.
“The opportunity to see all of the technology designs come to life and oversee the talented people who are making this a reality is pretty incredible,” she says.
As one of the first 10 Medidata employees in the United Kingdom, Ms. Marlborough began helping the company’s first European customers implement the Medidata platform. She quickly understood that there were even broader ways to plan and manage studies from end to end and that a unified system could make this happen. She began working on new workflows to take a study from concept to conclusion with one technology, something that was impossible to do with separate legacy systems and processes.
From the get-go, Ms. Marlborough has helped Medidata tackle new challenges. She has pushed clients to think differently about how to approach protocol optimization and was instrumental in showing them that protocol complexity could catalyze a better way to think about trial design, as well as the implementation and management of studies.
Today, she has overall responsibility for product strategy across the entire Medidata Clinical Cloud, a cloud-based platform for clinical development.
Ms. Marlborough works with a development team of more than 200 people, with Medidata’s Head of R&D Andrew Newbigging and Medidata’s President Glen de Vries creating new modules and capabilities across the clinical development process with the right functionality, the right user experience, and the right data-driven analytics that will be the foundation for clinical trials of the future. And that foundation is all about bringing the voice of the patient into clinical trials, something Ms. Marlborough is passionate about.
In fact, her team recently won the Patient Engagement App Challenge at this year’s Partnerships in Clinical Trials conference for an app prototype that has the potential to positively transform the clinical trial experience for patients. The prototype is designed to educate, engage, and empower study participants.
Her peers say her ability to quickly transform her vision into viable solutions is a testament to her deep understanding of this space and her determination to continue to change the face of life sciences.
Ms. Marlborough motivates her team through hack-a-thons, the Medidata R&D Oscars, and other informal events she organizes.
A mentor to many, Ms. Marlborough helps employees recognize their own potential by giving them the space and freedom to take on new challenges, be resourceful, and forge their own paths by doing what they enjoy.
“I believe that if you create an environment that brings together experts from different areas and who are willing to take risks as a team, the results will be quite powerful,” she says. “It’s important to establish shared goals and the belief that you’re in it together. At Medidata, we know that creativity doesn’t happen on-demand. Developing cutting-edge technology takes great minds, and talented people do great work in a collaborative environment.”
In addition, she believes that showing others that you are passionate about what you do makes a big difference.
“Passion inspires energy that keeps people going and makes their work meaningful,” she says.
Her passion for science and technology extends beyond the workplace; Ms. Marlborough is a strong supporter of the Young Scientist Foundation (YSF), which enables young people to discover their passion for science, while nurturing them as they obtain the knowledge needed to excel in biomedical research.
Having lost a close friend to leukemia, Ms. Marlborough is also committed to the Leukemia & Lymphoma Society.
“I love the fact that the society raises money by helping people do things they never thought would be possible,” she says. “In the last five years, I’ve raised more than $18,500 by running marathons and half marathons with Team in Training.”
Getting to Know…
Title: VP, Product Strategy
Company: Medidata Solutions
Education: B.S., Biology and Mathematics, Coventry University
Family: Husband, John; two daughters, Eleanor and Elizabeth
Hobbies: Knitting, reading, and running
Bucket List: Travel the Trans-Mongolian railway; go into space; complete a triathlon; attend a course at the Culinary Institute of America; build a tree house, and then a real house; learn to make whisky
Awards/Honors: 2014 HBA Rising Star
Associations: Healthcare Businesswomen’s Association
Tweet at: @protocolqueen
Social Media: LinkedIn, Twitter, Facebook, Google+
Connecting Health and Technology
Driven to innovate by Passion
Taking a big-picture perspective, Andrea McGonigle is leading a team at Microsoft that is responsible for looking at health holistically. This includes driving initiatives among the diverse teams that intersect the health world, namely: plans, providers, health and human services, as well as life sciences. At all times she maintains a concentrated focus on the patient and all the surrounding services and devices a patient needs.
Gonigle ensures that Microsoft’s work maps to industry developments, such as more cross collaboration and a desire to drive down the cost of health while improving the quality of care.
An established thought leader in patient engagement and cloud compliance, Ms. McGonigle helps provide the tools and platforms that support these areas in the commercial practices of pharmaceutical companies as well as across the healthcare ecosystem.
Ms. McGonigle continues to be a leading author on the Microsoft in Health blog, where she frequently writes about trends in health IT and innovative work in pharmaceuticals and biotechnology, and she regularly comments on these topics in the media.
She also produces the daily paper The Microsoft Life Science Daily, which focuses on technology and life sciences, and serves as an industry thought leader in the social media space, engaging with her 1,400 plus Twitter followers on a daily basis.
Making a difference motivates Ms. McGonigle, who says the projects she works on are having a positive impact on the industry.
“I received a welcome pack from HR when I joined Microsoft that included a note that stated, ‘Never forget that this very day holds untold possibilities for you, our customers, and Microsoft,’” she says. “I was motivated by this message. It is sitting on my desk next to my computer so that I see it every day. It does not matter if it is collaboration, compliance with the cloud, or clinical trials, technology is the enabler and I feel strongly that Microsoft is the player that will make the difference in this space and I can make an impact.”
As a manager, Ms. McGonigle scores highly in team satisfaction feedback, with her employees confirming that hers is a highly collaborative and successful style.
From her team to her partners and customers, all of those who work with Ms. McGonigle agree that she is strategically engaged and working to develop and scale solutions that span the entire health market.
Leadership comes naturally to Ms. McGonigle, who as the oldest of five girls grew up taking charge, making decisions, and leading by example.
She inspires by being true to herself, always remembering she is a mother, a sister, a wife, a friend, as well as a leader, a visionary, a mentor, and a coworker.
“I try to remember that I am all those roles and try not to over identify myself with any single one,” she says. “No matter what role I am doing, I try to really be in the moment and focus on doing that one role very well.”
She motivates her colleagues by creating a culture of trust and teamwork.
“I try to lead by example and take great interest in the career development of any of my direct reports,” she says. “I reward and acknowledge great work and always try to tie any actions back to our mission. I also surround myself and my team with people who are passionate about the industry.”
Beyond Microsoft, Ms. McGonigle was recently named to the Drexel University MIS MBA program advisory board. In this role, she provides guidance to the professors and the programs and serves as industry executive sponsor on various class assignments.
She continues to be passionate and support women in careers of healthcare and pharmaceuticals through her work as a founding member of the executive advisory council for Women in Healthcare and Life Sciences (WIHLS), which provides mentors for women at all levels of the industry.
It had been her goal to establish the organization as a place to encourage women to join the science and technology field, and over the past year WIHLS launched ScienceRunway (www.thesciencerunway.com), which is a website, created by high school girls for high school girls to see women in the health, life-sciences, and technology fields to inspire them to become part of the industry.
In addition, Ms. McGonigle serves as a board member for the Leukemia & Lymphoma Society, Eastern Pennsylvania Chapter.
“The amazing work that is being done in R&D as well as the patient services programs is inspiring,” she says. “I find it so rewarding to be a part of an organization that is helping patients and pursuing a cure.”
As for that defining career moment, it’s hard to top a story that connects early childhood with professional accomplishment. For Ms. McGonigle that came when as a partner manager for Microsoft’s Life Science business, she had the opportunity to meet with the Taesaoch or Prime Minister of Ireland, Enda Kenny. Many years earlier, when Ms. McGonigle was a young child, her parents took the brave step of relocating the family from Belfast, Northern Ireland, to the United States. Meeting Prime Minister Kenny took Ms. McGonigle full circle.
Getting to Know…
Andrea Leonard McGonigle
Title: Managing Director, Life Sciences
Education: B.S., University of Phoenix
Family: Husband, Anthony; two children, Haley, 12, and Patrick, 8
Hobbies: Kids sports every season from soccer to baseball/softball, technology, redecorating and remodeling houses
Bucket List: Write a book called Mother’s Day based on her mother’s life, meet Oprah Winfrey
Awards: PharmaVOICE 100, 2013, Microsoft’s Industry Partner Account Manager of the Year, 2011, Microsoft Public Sector Red, White and Blue Award, Microsoft’s Silver Star Award, Merck Award of Excellence, Merck Team of Year Award — Rosetta Bio/San Diego
Associations: Executive Advisory Board for Women in Healthcare and Life Sciences
Tweet at: @andreawork
Social Media: LinkedIn, Twitter, Facebook, Pinterest, Instagram, foursquare
Veteran Solution Provider
Driven to innovate by Customers
Donald Soong, VP of strategic solutions at Cegedim Relationship Management, is a recognized industry veteran and expert at delivering sales, marketing, compliance, and transparency solutions to life-sciences companies.
A true technology leader, he is as knowledgeable about the regulations and user needs underlying the software his group is responsible for creating as he is about the technology itself, and his approach is always customer-focused. During software design strategy meetings, he always reiterates that the solutions provided to clients should be user friendly and not over-engineered. His deep understanding of client needs helps steer the products toward satisfying customers.
Mr. Soong, who has worked more than 25 years in this space across 3 companies Dendrite, Software Associates International(SAI) and now Cegedim. He started his career at Dendrite — now Cegedim — in 1988 as managing the development of CRM solutions for pharmaceutical companies. He has been instrumental in the success of the company since day one, significantly contributing to the industry as well as the company by providing cutting-edge and forward-thinking solutions in all areas tied to compliance, from sampling to regulatory to MDM, from spending and transparency reporting to the Sunshine Act, which colleagues say he knows better than anyone on the planet.
In his current position, Mr. Soong is responsible for all aspects of product management of master data management and compliance solutions. Over his career, he has worked with many of the top 50 pharmaceutical and medical device companies to drive the strategy for cloud solutions to support U.S. and global aggregate spend and disclosure covering payments and samples.
One of his biggest achievements came early on in his career and it was the first time he was able to deliver and directly impact the successful operations of a life-sciences company. It was in the early 1990s, when he led then Dendrite’s CRM implementation for Pfizer as the company expanded its field salesforce.
Today, Mr. Soong says the key to success is to remain nimble and client-oriented, which can be a challenge.
“We have focused on staying very close to clients to make sure that we understand their needs and can deliver innovative solutions in a short timeframe,” Mr. Soong says. “The decision-making process is streamlined and I, along with the development leadership team, can make quick adjustments to the roadmap to focus on what is needed to deliver the best solutions.”
Colleagues say his personal style is very open and he puts his direct reports at ease, encouraging an environment where innovation is promoted and mistakes are not penalized.
He can instinctively recognize what each individual on his team needs to succeed and then he provides it to him or her. Mr. Soong leads with a free hand and empowers his teams to develop products with competitive edge that satisfy the business needs of the industry.
His most impressive trait, however, is his approachability. He is unfailingly courteous and willing to listen to ideas from all sides.
According to Mr. Soong, there are two major factors for motivating a high-performance team.
“First, be energized and passionate about what you do and believe,” he says. “When team members see the energy and enjoyment working toward a common goal, it’s infectious. Second, because each individual is different, it is key to know each individual’s strengths, concerns, and aspirations so I can effectively provide him or her with the right path and support to perform at their best.”
Getting to Know…
Title: VP, Strategic Solutions
Company: Cegedim Relationship Management
Education: B.S., Computer Science
Family: Wife, Lynda; sons, Ryan, 17 and Brandon, 15; daughter, Caitlyn, 12; and dog, Stormy
Hobbies: Golfing, skiing, fishing, gardening, and spending time with the family
Bucket List: Walking the Appalachian Trail, playing the Island Green at the TPC Sawgrass, visiting the Great Wall of China
Tweet at: @Don_Soong
Social Media: LinkedIn, Twitter
Nothing Is Impossible
Driven to innovate by NO
If Dan Goldsmith had more time, he’d read all 141 issues of the original X-Men comic book series, and if he could be a super hero, what he would love most is making entrances accompanied by his own theme music. In real life, deploying new technologies on a global scale is his super power, as well as helping some of the world’s largest life-sciences enterprises make sweeping business changes by leveraging emerging technologies in innovative ways.
His inspiration to innovate stems from his X-Men mentality: nothing is impossible.
“I’m most driven by the things that people tell me I can’t do,” he says. “That’s what makes me strive harder. No is simply not a word in my vernacular, and this is a mindset I actively cultivate within my team as well.”
To motivate those around him, Mr. Goldsmith pushes the envelope in terms of creativity and attacks seemingly insurmountable challenges head on. He encourages others to find their own voice and passionately push for their ideas. This not only encourages out-of-the-box thinking, but also energizes the whole team and fosters intelligent dialogue for better results, he says.
“I believe that helping others extend beyond their perceived limitations produces innovation,” he says. “In technology, some people overuse — even misuse — the word innovation, but when mentors challenge individuals to think differently, to go against the grain, and to speak their mind, that’s when genuine, industry-changing advancements result, and that’s what I’m always driving toward in my professional life.”
With close to 20 years of experience implementing commercial strategies across the industry, he has spearheaded the development of leading solutions in the areas of sales, mobility, medical information, master data management, digital channel execution, and marketing.
Before joining Veeva, he was the architect of breakthrough applications based on some of the industry’s first customer relationship management tools and implemented global CRM and master data management solutions for pharmaceutical leaders that include Merck, AstraZeneca, Pfizer, Novartis, Amgen, Johnson & Johnson, Eli Lilly, and Sanofi.
As Veeva’s general manager in Europe, Mr. Goldsmith helped establish the company as a market leader and most recently, he led the development of Veeva Network, the industry’s first and only cloud-based customer data master solution that offers data, software, and stewardship services. With Veeva Network, he saw an opportunity to harness the accessibility of the cloud and bring life-sciences companies together to solve one of their greatest challenges: obtaining a complete view of the customer.
“I’ve watched companies struggle to cobble together a complete customer view for years, so being able to solve this problem was particularly exciting and just as rewarding,” he says. “I’ve spent my career being fascinated by how technology can change the way companies do business; in the case of life-sciences companies, it’s gratifying to help them in their mission to improve and extend life. This is why launching Veeva Network has been one of my greatest career highlights.”
With Veeva Network, the company is leveraging modern technology to solve a pervasive industry challenge: obtaining and maintaining a complete, timely, and accurate view of ever-changing data on doctors.
“Life-sciences companies need the most up-to-date data, including hospital affiliation, specialties, and license information, to make better business decisions and ensure compliance,” he says. “Having immediate access to the right information at the right time has a profound impact on the industry as a whole.”
Network contains customer demographic and affiliations data from hundreds of authoritative sources, and brings life sciences companies together in the cloud to submit further updates to customer information. Veeva data stewards verify all new data, ensuring proper governance and safeguarding data integrity. Thousands of sales reps every day also contribute updates to the master data repository to create a shared network that gets better and better as more people join. And with expansion into Europe and Japan planned for the second quarter of 2015, Veeva moves closer to its goal of having a single, global database of all of the world’s healthcare professionals and organizations to complement its single instance, global customer master application.
“With a single, global solution in the cloud, companies can gain complete visibility into customer data across geographies, eliminating the intense effort needed to maintain multiple disparate systems over time,” he says.
The idea of sharing data between companies was unheard of in the life sciences, but Mr. Goldsmith brought the goal forth and made it happen.
It was not without challenges, but what X-Man worth his theme music can’t meet a few challenges?
Getting to Know…
Title: General Manager, Europe
Company: Veeva Systems
Education: B.S., Mechanical Engineering, University of Rochester
Family: Wife, three daughters
Hobbies: Road biking, skiing, photography, and traveling
Bucket List: Biking across the U.S.; skiing in Europe, and traveling throughout Europe with his family
Awards/Honors: IBM Excellence Awards, a Siperian Masterpiece Award for Best MDM Implementation, Merck Vendor Excellence Award, Eli Lilly Client Partnering Award
Social Media: LinkedIn