Editor’s note: This story is part of our 2022 PharmaVoice 100 feature.
Jeanne Magram doesn’t care about titles — she just wants to make an impact. And she does.
As chief scientific officer at Celsius Therapeutics, Magram is leveraging the company’s human tissue-based platform to understand the drivers of disease and develop precision medicines for patients with cancer and autoimmune diseases. The company’s unique AI-driven platform analyzes single cell RNA sequencing to identify drivers of disease, which it then uses to develop therapeutics.
Since joining in 2020, Magram has helped push Celsius from early-stage discovery to preclinical development for its Crohn’s and Ulcerative colitis candidate, and soon for its solid tumor targeting immuno-oncology candidates.
Her ability to logically dissect AI and biology data and “distill it into an efficient, high-productivity drug-discovery engine” has been integral in pushing the company forward, one of her nominators says.
But Magram’s impact reaches far beyond the lab.
She is also viewed by her colleagues as an inspirational leader who helps others navigate their work and career paths behind the scenes. Magram works with her teams to create the vision for where they need to go and maps out the big picture for how to get there while at the same time, empowering them to solve challenges on their own.
“For people to continuously develop new skills and strengthen their critical thinking, they need to do the work and as they learn, they will likely make mistakes,” Magram says, noting that she tries to foster a culture of “learning” rather than just achieving.
She describes this style as a bit like “coaching.”
“I believe in the strength of others and enjoy when team members succeed and we are able to celebrate that success,” she says. “I have a direct style and meet with people often to ensure honest feedback, encourage continuation of positive approaches and when sharing critical feedback, [I ensure] it is constructive.”
“As I prefer to work face to face with others, current times require creative solutions, increased communication, empathy, active listening and continuously reevaluating what is working and what can be further improved.”
Chief scientific officer, Celsius Therapeutics
Throughout her three-decade career, Magram has mentored many scientists. On her desk, she has a book she received when she left Boehringer Ingelheim as the head of immunology research.
“Every member of the department wrote a page sharing how my leadership inspired them and words of advice for the future,” she says. “It is humbling and inspiring to think about the impact one can have on others, and, more importantly, how these words help me to continuously improve as a leader.”
Making a difference matters to Magram, who says if she were a brand, she would be Ben & Jerry’s, partly because she loves ice cream, but also because the flavors and names of their ice creams reflect a commitment to social responsibility.
“They do business in a way that benefits not just their bottom line but also those they do business with and their customers,” she says.