Emerging Pharma Leaders 2010 - Pharmaceutical Executive


Emerging Pharma Leaders 2010

Pharmaceutical Executive

President and CEO, Lannett Pharmaceuticals

Lannett Pharmaceuticals president and CEO Arthur Bedrosian has had a lot of bosses in his lengthy career—mostly good, with a few not-so-good.

Bedrosian keeps a list of quotes to live by, and at the top is one that inspired his own management style: "If you decide to be a boss, be the boss you wish you had when you were an employee." And while common sense would dictate this only works in a small setting, Bedrosian begs to differ. "I'm convinced that you can do that if you have 60,000 employees, because having a family atmosphere, having respect for your employees, comes from the top down."

Bedrosian's first ambition was a bit more prosaic than becoming CEO of a pharma company. "By the time I was 16, I decided I wanted to be rich," he says. And so he became a lawyer, working at a Greek shipping company to pay his way through through law school. His legal skills come in handy now—he uses them to navigate the ever-roiling regulatory waters at FDA.

After finishing law school, he found himself with an offer from a generics drugmaker in the south Bronx—as a sales rep. That was in 1968. Even then, Bedrosian had the telltale drive of a future leader: "I certainly didn't know how to make drugs back in 1968. I could barely sell them. But I decided I wanted to own a drug company," he says. The Bronx generics maker was founded by Edwin Cohen, who went on to start Barr Laboratories. Aside from being a mentor, Cohen proved to be a gateway to other invaluable connections, like Biocraft founder Harold Snyder and Apotex founder Barry Sherman.

When former CEO William Farber brought Bedrosian onto Lannett's board, he did so with the purpose of putting Bedrosian in a position to turn the company around. After a short trial run as VP of business development, Farber put the president position out there—though not without some trepidation. Bedrosian had a simple argument for his appointment: "While I assured him I knew what to do, I also told him, 'Look, first of all, you can always fire me, and number two, I never failed at anything in my life.'"

He certainly hasn't failed at Lannett: Net sales increased from $72 million in 2008 to $119 million in 2009, and gross profit grew three sizes that year to $45 million. (When Farber offered him the CEO spot in 2006, it was a $10 million company.) And rather than continue to fight for general generic market share, Bedrosian is steering Lannett towards vertical integration, concentrating on controlled substances.

But Bedrosian also has a loftier goal than dominating the controlled substances market: "In ten years, I'll be acquiring Teva."

Vice President, External Supply, GlaxoSmithKline

The pharma industry is very different from the one I joined almost 15 years ago. Obviously, the industry has consolidated and the commercial business model continues to change. Economic pressures are great on our industry, and we are challenged not only with delivering high quality, novel medicines, but ensuring access to these medicines across the globe. Affordable access to medicines is a key business requirement in the evolving global economy. When I joined GSK we were a western centric Big Pharma company. Today, globalization and a strong vision by our CEO are transforming GSK into a global, diverse healthcare company.

GSK is a company that believes in developing leaders. With that in mind, I accepted the role leading the External Supply organization, which moved me away from procurement and into an area where I could grow professionally while delivering a significant change program within manufacturing. This challenges both my leadership as well as technical skills, while allowing me to deliver valuable services for the organization. I'm proud to lead a team that is developing a flexible, responsive manufacturing capability. We are actively managing our network of external suppliers and are intent on selecting partner companies that can grow and develop along with GSK.

A good leader is someone people are willing to follow. Vision, compassion and strength of conviction are key attributes of a successful leader; however, they are only a means to success. Along with that leadership role comes a great responsibility to cast a positive shadow.

VP, Government Affairs, EMD Serono

Industry dynamics have shifted dramatically. We now see a greater focus on health outcomes; more competitors in the biotech space; an increase in government oversight; an increasing focus on value; an increased global reach of policies. Therapies have become more complex and pharma issues more politicized. There is more focus on patient solutions.

Our government affairs team is one of the highest-caliber teams I've had the honor to work with, and everyone brings a different yet equally valuable expertise to the table. Our strategy is sound, our goals are aggressive and clear, and our voice is being heard.

My responsibility is to predict shifts in business environments that affect operations, then encourage innovation and drive access for patients. We are focused on bringing good public policy to inform public decision-making. This creates a win-win for all stakeholders.

Next generation leadership is critical. By having a sound strategy for succession, the leaders of tomorrow can embrace the mission of a business. This model creates an opportunity for future leaders to prepare for change to drive the organization forward. This creates an open environment that fosters new thinking across disciplines.

Vice President, Business Development, Achaogen

My job as a manager is to make sure everyone understands that they have a valuable role to play, that they are excited about it, and that they know why we think it's valuable. I learned a long time ago that it's important to separate the message from the messenger, and to view people taking adversarial positions in a charitable light. While I may have a different agenda than the person across the table, that person is not a bad person and is not out to get me or prove me wrong. He or she simply believes a different result favors his objectives, which is exactly what I'm doing on my side. That realization took a lot of anger and competitiveness out of negotiating, and allowed me to think more about how to address other people's needs to build consensus on the objective. From there, we can enable experts to decide the best method of attaining that objective.

Developing new drugs is a hard, high-risk, pressure-packed job. In order to be successful, it's essential to have a team that is motivated and energized by that challenge, that enjoys working together, and that feels a sense of personal ownership over their program(s). Leadership means understanding the personal goals, motivations, and styles of each member of that team, so that his or her contributions are recognized, respected, and maximized. Doing that in a decentralized and culturally diverse world requires some extra effort to engage people on an individual basis, but the overall name of the game hasn't changed.

Director, Clinical Pharmacology Sciences,Centocor R&D, Johnson & Johnson

More than anything else I find the key to being a "change agent" is communication of the reasons for change, a clear picture of the goal, and the benefits to the business and its employees. Ineffective communication and inefficient decision making is an issue that's often talked about as plaguing pharma. Why do we all tend to believe that pharma cannot be as nimble as the smaller biotechs? A paradigm shift is needed, mostly in our thinking, and I believe this shift can be made by adapting and implementing innovative ideas.

R&D employees cannot consider scientific prowess and achievement alone as success anymore. This is causing some to wonder: "Are we innovative research scientists, or employees manufacturing widgets?" The answer lies somewhere between the two, but it's not easy to optimize. Success now comes from enhanced speed of R&D, and deriving the value of the research from the company's bottom-line.

I believe that learning, adapting, and communicating are critical skill sets for effective management leadership. While the recent credit crises and unraveling banking practices have brought ethics and morality under a new spotlight, I believe that integrity, humility, and decency are core values that have helped leaders attract and sustain followers, and that too will remain important in the future.

Future leaders will have to understand the customer's needs and habits "personally." Leaders must evolve to adapt to the evolutions of the marketplace, customers' lifestyles, technology, market environments including cost-pressures and commoditization, employee diversity, and so on.


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