Emerging Pharma Leaders 2010 - Pharmaceutical Executive


Emerging Pharma Leaders 2010

Pharmaceutical Executive

Vice President, R&D Operations, Bristol-Myers Squibb

The economics of pharma have changed fundamentally. Ten or more years ago, if a company was successful in bringing a new medicine to market, they were almost assured of being able to generate positive returns. Now, as success rates have declined, costs have gone up, and margins have decreased, this is no longer the case. Most new medicines don't return their fully loaded investment cost.

Given the changes in the industry, there will be a next generation of leadership as industry adapts. In the past good science and good sales predominated. As the business environment becomes even more challenging with increased regulatory and pricing pressures, I think the next generation of biopharma leaders will, by necessity, be more focused on how to drive innovation and productivity across the enterprise.

R&D needs to work even more closely with commercial and manufacturing to make the right decisions and investment choices to profitably discover, develop, and deliver medicines to patients. We also need to work closely with partner organizations around the globe including academics, contract organizations, and other bio-pharma companies to manage risk, share costs, and leverage each other's strengths and innovations.

A certain amount of luck always plays a role in one's career, and I feel fortunate to have worked with outstanding leaders during my career. I had an excellent mentor in Ben Bonifant, a partner at Campbell Alliance, for whom I worked regularly at Mercer Management Consulting. Ben helped me move into life sciences after business school. My mentors at BMS have played key parts in preparing me for my current role. I came to BMS as a consultant and, with Ben, helped in a transformation effort within clinical development organization.

Associate General Counsel, King Pharmaceuticals

I started out at a healthcare law firm after graduating from law school, proceeded to go in-house to a pharmaceutical distribution company, and then moved to Big Pharma. Since then, the industry has seen some dramatic changes. So, to achieve progress, a leader must have a thorough knowledge of the underpinnings of the industry from product development and through product approval and commercialization.

Leaders at King strive for excellence and are believers in allowing others to excel in their roles through coaching and rewards, not by managing small details. A skill and attitude that I often call on in dealing with colleagues is empathy. I grew up in both Russia and the US; an experience that gave me the opportunity to see how different cultures drive certain personality traits, and taught me to respect the differences that make each of us unique.

A management leader will need conviction to accomplish a goal, regardless of any seemingly insurmountable obstacles. Conviction is necessary to maintain both short- and long-term strategies, regardless of changes in political climate, legislative developments, financial upheavals, and other unforeseen events.

Some of these obstacles include the legal and regulatory changes that have created greater accountability in the industry. New legislation, court decisions, and FDA often provide much-needed guidance; however, a key component of implementing these new mandates requires a great amount of skillful interpretation by in-house counsel. We ensure that an organization develops an appropriate interpretive strategy that complies with the law, and also is tailored to meet and exceed the organization's specific corporate goals.

CEO, Global Pharmaceuticals Reckitt Benckiser Pharmaceuticals

Showing a belief in others in a way that inspires performance rather than demands it is essential to good leadership. I strive to communicate a clear vision and the end goals, but I give others the authority to make decisions on how to arrive there. This empowerment truly unleashes one's potential. I like to find each employee's self-perceived glass ceiling—and then shatter it.

I started at Reckitt Benckiser as a sales rep and progressed through marketing to become the president RBP USA. I've been lucky to find mentors willing to share their advice and expertise all along the way. I was promoted to CEO of pharmaceuticals eight months ago primarily due to my success leading the launch of RB's US operations, where we helped revolutionize opioid dependence treatment and pioneer change in the addiction space. We developed a physician-training model to enable patients to access office-based treatment, which required an act of Congress.

In the industry, there is an increasing regulatory focus on product safety, while payers are looking beyond cost to cost effectiveness and value. Patients have higher expectations and are better informed. Employees and shareholders want their companies to demonstrate social responsibility. It's my job as a leader to focus on these changes not as issues but as opportunities be the "first in and best dressed."

Leaders have to be lifelong learners. The fast pace of technological development is accelerating the speed of change in healthcare. Next generation leaders will have to quickly anticipate the impact of constant change and lead their organizations to leverage the opportunity.

Vice President, Head of Market Access, Pfizer

Every day, our world is becoming smaller. Borders are getting unclear, lines are fuzzy, and people are communicating in more than one language. It is necessary to constantly be thinking about how each decision can impact the world today and several years into the future. Having been born and raised in India, I saw the positive impact that globalization has had on this developing nation. Many of my team members are from a variety of nations and cultural backgrounds.

I also encourage my team to experience different countries and cultures firsthand. They do this by assuming responsibility for diverse markets. My team is also spread over multiple locations; this allows them to be close to the end stakeholder in different countries. We believe in virtual teams, and the fact that the team is not co-located has not hampered our ability to function as a well-performing team that adds value to Pfizer.

Next generation leaders lead by example, by rolling up our sleeves, by understanding and helping develop solutions to problems. Previous models of leadership were based more on providing direction and guidance, but the new models call for the leader to be a part of the team.

We also need to be agile and able to adapt to changing environments. Teams and functions resistant to change will find it very difficult to survive in today's ever evolving environment.

Senior Vice President, BioOncology Business Unit, Genentech

Some leaders come into a new situation and feel the need to quickly differentiate themselves from their predecessors by listing problems and implementing a change program. I'm less concerned with critiquing the past than with just listening to employees, customers, and other stakeholders about what we can do better in the future. I really like interacting with people: brainstorming, problem-solving, debating, and leading a team to accomplish a mission comes pretty naturally to me. I'm also decisive, and I've had to work hard to let go of the decisions that are better made by others on my team. A great leader in pharma must have a very strong grasp of the technical and financial elements of drug development and a strong working knowledge of the science and medical state-of-the-art in her therapeutic areas of interest.

Our industry is being held to higher and higher standards, and everything we do in developing and promoting our medicines is under inspection. This environment has forced us to constantly consider our thoughts, words, and actions, and ask questions such as: "How would I explain this proposal to a patient?" or "Would I be comfortable with this plan being published in the local newspaper?" The pharmaceutical industry, by its nature, ought to be one of the most revered sectors of our economy. We have to earn the public trust by working harder to ensue that our all of our intents and deeds are really aimed at improving patients' lives.


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