Meet the Emerging Pharma Leaders of 2013. These 15 trend
setters represent the future of an industry that knows it must change: the question is how, and
to what? Past successes in a small molecule world of big, undifferentiated mass markets combined
with a complacent business culture, reinforced by long, leisurely product cycles, have spawned a
new shackle called size. "Big Pharma" is not a pejorative to us, but it is for many
others. What is clear is this year's winners can't depend on that easy surplus from
earlier times to carry their careers forward.
Instead, as the industry shrinks to fit a more challenging
competitive set, they must steer their own way through an obstacle course of opposites that we
characterize as "growing to be small." Today, it's all about expanding the
business while avoiding bloat, the traditional by-product of success: staying externally
focused; eliminating internal barriers to faster decision-making; collaborating with others to
defray risks; getting close to the customer, who often wears many hats; and creating dominant
therapy positions in multiple niche markets that, when combined, produce equivalent blockbuster
results, at lower fixed costs and less hassle.
The search for commercial models that make sense in this new
world of work is reflected in the diversity of backgrounds of this 2013 class of leaders. They
include line executives from generic medicines and vaccines, two adjacent business units which
under turbulent market conditions have emerged as key sources of product and process innovation.
Several of this year's winners have graduated to new roles that reflect the growing
importance the "c suite" places on knowledge retention throughout the organization.
Other recipients hold positions that reflect the need for active, institutionalized
collaboration between the R&D and commercial product teams, at the earliest stage of the
development cycle. And in a business where customer insight is still in short supply, we find
more leaders are entering the industry with valuable outside exposure to the fickle affiliations
of the retail trade.
As we profile these rising leaders who are still charting
their journey to success, Pharm Exec decided to take a closer look at the
organizational mindset that breeds top talent, posing the basic question: does company culture
count? We spoke with Jenn Mann, vice president, human resources for the health analytics and
software giant SAS, which since it's founding in 1976 as a supplier of agricultural data to
North Carolina's land grant program, has emphasized a culture that challenges every
employee to make a difference—starting with the customer.
The root of the SAS culture is what Mann refers to as the
"SAS employment brand." "We begin with the awareness that human resources are the
company's best and most costly resource, so we have to invest in it. Workplace
recognition—which we do deliberately, in innumerable ways—is connected to revenue
growth. We can measure it; it's not coincidental. All of the companies in our space are
filling positions from the same talent pool, which explains why being branded as a strong
employer gives us an edge." Finding that talent is particularly important as SAS grows into
a global enterprise; approximately 50 percent of its 13,000 employees are now based outside the
What skills are most needed among new industry leaders? Mann
lists three: a solid grounding in technology and how it affects the overall customer experience;
softer, relationship skills, like communicating effectively on complex topics that can be
understood by different audiences; and focused, analytical thinking—the kind that drives
innovation, which SAS defines simply as meeting the changing needs of customers before they are
even aware of them.
The Winners Are...
Jeff George, Global Head, Sandoz
Alexander Hardy, Senior Vice President Commercial
Michael Babich, President and CEO, Insys
Denis Chetverikov, General Manager Russia, Teva
Francoise Berlioz-Seux, Vice President Drug
Metabolism and Pharmacokinetics, Vertex Pharmaceuticals
Nima Farzan, Executive Vice President and Chief
Operating Officer, PaxVax, Inc.
Anthony Caggiano, Vice President R&D, Accorda
Trey Benson, Executive Director Commercial
Christopher Ariyan, Senior Director/Team Leader
U.S. Oncology Managed Markets, Pfizer
Kshama Roberts, Executive Director Global Public
Sector Lead Woman's Health, Merck & Co.
Josh Schafer, Vice President, Global Oncology
Strategy, Astellas Pharma, Inc.
Julie Schiffman, Vice President, Portfolio &
Decision Analysis, Pfizer
Buket Grau, Senior Director of Program Leadership
and Management, Biogen-Idec
Craig Flanagan, Associate Vice President of
Business Excellence, Sanofi
Brandon Kotaniemi, Director of HIV Marketing,