C. Randall Mills
President and CEO, Osiris Therapeutics
I worked my way through college in the emergency room. It taught me a lot about life, death, and human suffering. Saving a
life or helping someone who is suffering is an incredible feeling; I wanted to find a way to do it on as large a scale as
When I accepted the position of CEO at Osiris, I was only 32. The company had been around for 12 years, but was really struggling.
I needed to change the culture, and fast. Unfortunately, that meant changing many of the people who had been involved with
the company for a long time. It was very hard, but five years later the transformation is dramatic, and the lumps are now
At Osiris, we've built a culture where patients come first, and we've accomplished much over the last year: We formed the
largest stem-cell partnership ($1.4 billion) to date with Genzyme Corporation; we created and sold our first commercial stem-cell
product line for $85 million in cash; and we won a $227 million Department of Defense contract. But I think my most significant
accomplishment is receiving the first-ever FDA expanded-access approval for a stem-cell therapy, providing life-saving treatment
to children who would likely otherwise die.
Being a pioneer can be hard. Every step we take—be it enrolling a Phase III trial or inking a billion-dollar distribution
deal—is the first of its kind. There are no precedents to follow. But I think this type of breakthrough innovation is most
valuable to the industry and to the patients we serve. Although the risks are high, when successful, a new segment of our
industry will be born.