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Sharing Your Voice


Pharmaceutical Executive

Pharmaceutical ExecutivePharmaceutical Executive-04-01-2019
Volume 39
Issue 4

The lifeblood of our coverage are the many interviews we conduct with industry executives-and the unique stories and insights they provide. Here, I highlight excerpts from a selection of wide-ranging conversations from the past year.

The Cornerstone of Pharmaceutical Executive is our interviews. From long to short, to in-depth on one topic to insights on multiple topics, industry executives regularly share their stories with our contributors and staff

Lisa Henderson

editors. We do so many, in fact, I sometimes wonder if they get lost in the content cycle that is modern life. In this month’s letter, I highlight some interviews from the past year. If you want to easily access our interview page, please visit http://bit.ly/PharmExecinterviews.


Advice for New Professionals

Our interview with Merck & Co.’s Chief Patient Officer Dr. Julie Gerberding, who won last year’s HBA Woman of the Year award, touches on her advice to students. As a successful business leader, Gerberding is always getting questions about how to achieve professional success. A lot of these questions come from talking with college students who are plotting out their careers and are faced with what, at the time, may seem like life-altering decisions, such as, “should I take this fellowship?” or “should I get a medical degree?” Gerberding told Pharm Exec that she always replies to these inquires with the same answer: “Put more tools in your tool box because you never know when they will come in handy. Typically, the people with the best and most relevant tools are the ones who are in demand.” 

C-Suite Diversity 

In this April 2018 interview, Dr. Helen Torley, president and CEO of multi-product oncology biotech Halozyme, discusses its 50:50 gender balance overall and at the senior director and C-suite level. “We have seen very clearly that diversity begets diversity. Diversity is a business imperative; multiple studies have shown that diverse teams are more innovative and deliver better corporate performance. Halozyme is a great example of this in action. Our workforce has doubled in size over the last two years, but, as an example, remains almost evenly split among females and males. In addition, 42% of senior director and above levels, as well as executive team roles, are filled by women.”

Challenges in Sub-Saharan Africa

Marcus Gemuend, the head of the sub-Saharan African region for Roche, talks about the barriers the company has faced and the progress it’s made in that region. “Being based locally has been critical. The more time we spend with our stakeholders-really understanding their issues and their perspectives-the more trust is built up and the more successful the partnerships. 

Although I am not from Africa, most of my team and country leadership are, and with their support we have been able to build that trust. Most important is to always have the patient at the center of everything we do, and address the challenges together with our stakeholder from the patient’s perspective.”

Other Ways to Grow, Not IPO

Salarius Pharmaceuticals CEO David Arthur discusses the company’s pathway toward going public-a reverse merger with Flex Pharma. “We envision a very smooth transition through this merger. Being a NASDAQ-listed company will provide a robust platform for Salarius to showcase our potential with institutional investors and ultimately help drive company success. The current Salarius management team is expected to remain in place following the transaction, and I plan to stay as CEO of the combined company. Upon completion of the deal, the Salarius clinical pipeline becomes the lead asset of the combined company. Also, Bill McVicar, the current CEO of Flex, will join the combined company board of directors.” 

Regulatory Update from China

Dr. Lingshi Tan, a director at the Drug Information Association (DIA), and chairman and CEO of dMed Company Limited, a Shanghai-based contract research organization, recently shared his insights on the impact of regulatory reform in China. “The US FDA has long played an important role in China’s regulatory evolution. The FDA opened its first office in Beijing in 2008, mainly focused on ensuring the safety and quality of goods, including food, medicines, and medical devices manufactured in China for export to the US. Even earlier, however, US pharmaceutical companies, industry associations, and government agencies, including the FDA, all contributed to an extensive ongoing dialogue with China.”


Lisa Henderson is Editor-in-Chief of Pharm Exec. She can be reached at lhenderson@mmhgroup.com. Follow Lisa on Twitter: @trialsonline

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