8th Annual Life Science CEO Forum: Speaker Interview
President & Chief Executive Officer
Mike Raab is the president and CEO of Ardelyx. He joined the company in 2009 from New Enterprise Associates (NEA), where he was a partner. Before NEA, Mike spent 15 years in commercial and operating leadership roles in the biotech and pharmaceutical industries, including as senior vice president, therapeutics and general manager of the Renal Division at Genzyme Corporation, a Sanofi company. Mike also spent two years with Genzyme’s diagnostic products and services division. Prior to Genzyme, Mike held business development and sales and marketing positions at Repligen and Bristol-Myers. Mike received his B.A. from DePauw University.
Mike will be one of the distinguished speakers at the 8th Annual Life Science CEO Forum.
Why is the 8th Annual Life Science CEO Forum important for C-suite executives?
In an evolving industry, it’s important for industry executives to come together to share ideas and learn from each other. Such events are valuable for company executives, as they enable us to dedicate time for face-to-face engagement with our peers to address critical business and industry topics, to assess new opportunities and to discuss challenges and ways to overcome those. We spend a great deal of time on the road, in meetings and in our day-to-day operations, and it’s important to also carve out time for peer-to-peer networking.
What is one thing you hope to learn or discuss with your peers at the forum?
There are a number of challenges that development-stage life science companies face. We have an abundance of smart people, have made significant advancements in technology and an ever-growing pipeline of new ideas. However, putting all of those together in the current regulatory and economic market can be especially difficult, resulting in potential shortcuts. I look forward to discussing how other companies are creatively financing their companies and evaluating fast-track opportunities to ensure that we have the resources we need to bring products to patients in an expeditious manner.
What company initiatives are on the horizon for your team in 2017?
2017 will be a game-changing year for Ardelyx. We expect to have five data readouts in 2017, four of which are from Phase 3 trials. These will drive decision-making on registration of our product candidates and inform the commercialization strategies for our Phase 3 programs. Throughout 2017 and beyond, we’ll continue to evolve and grow as a company, including advancing several of our earlier stage programs and discovery efforts utilizing our unique platform.
What do you believe are the 3 biggest factors impacting the life science industry today?
- Healthcare reform and the impact that it will have on patient access and product pricing
- The macro-economic conditions and its impact on a company’s ability to access the capital necessary to deliver new medicines to patients
- Both of these lead to a third, which is the draught of new product innovation and discovery within the pharma industry. In response to this, big pharma has increased its M&A activity buying out biotech companies to supply their earlier pipelines. This has made it more difficult for high-quality biotech companies to prosecute their pipelines as independent, fully integrated organizations.
What are the greatest opportunities for life science companies over the next 5 years?
As an industry, we have a responsibility to serve the millions of patients around the world who continue to suffer from diseases that either have no treatments or for who treatments provide little in terms of efficacy and tolerability. We need to come together to overcome these challenges and focus on the end result, which is helping people. At Ardelyx, we are using sophisticated advancements in medical technology and the abundance of knowledge that we have amassed as an industry to develop both more effective and safer medicines. We are exploring global treatment opportunities to expand access to novel innovation in the US to people worldwide, and we are leveraging regulatory initiatives that may help companies develop and deliver medicines faster. Our focus is on helping underserved patients for whom medicines are greatly in need.
From a leadership standpoint, where do you draw your inspiration?
I draw inspiration from our patients and from our employees. The patients we are hoping to help are underserved by today’s medical innovation. Our employees are passionately dedicated to creating new medicines and work tirelessly to enhance the care and well-being of underserved patients. They are what motivate me each and every day.
If you could describe your company in one word, what would that be?