“All companies in this industry have commercial and corporate aspects, but not all have regulatory or technical aspects in terms of manufacturing facilities, quality control, validation, engineering, scientific, and clinical,” He says. He thinks whoever runs a life science company needs to understand enough about all of those elements or it can be dangerous. “Nobody can be an expert in all of those things,” he asserts. “There are just too many boxes to be checked, too many qualifications required, and not enough years in anyone’s career to truly be competent in each of these areas. As he rose to the top, O’Callaghan picked up enough knowledge to be, in his words “dangerous.” He advises you need to be able to blend the areas in which you are comfortable with those you have some discomfort and surround yourself with those people who have the competencies where you are lacking.
Coming From Commercial
Sangart’s CEO is proud of his commercial background. “When I went to college, I was studying marketing and economics, and I came into the industry world as a pharma sales rep in Ireland,” O’Callaghan explains. Dealing with the clinicians, pharmacists, and managed care companies gave him a different perspective than those folks who came up through the ranks in biotech as a bench-level scientist. He believes his type of real-world experience to be critical to thoroughly understanding the pharma business.
O’Callaghan was a sales rep with Pfizer at a time when the company was launching blockbuster after blockbuster. As a result, the company was growing, and he had the opportunity to enter its management development program, which required a move to the United Kingdom. This exposed him to a variety of sales management, brand management, and marketing experiences. He began to realize that most of his knowledge was in the post-commercialization arena and was learning nothing about pre-launch, bench science, product development, clinical trials, regulatory submissions, strategy of manufacturing, quality control, validation, and GMP. In order to gain this experience, he felt he needed to leave Pfizer.
Biotech Prepared Him To Be An Exec
O’Callaghan joined Merck Serono’s marketing department. Before long he was asked to leave the U.K. to build and run a biotech division in Germany, which was subsequently moved to Switzerland. “What I ultimately learned from that experience is that there’s managers for good times and there’s managers for bad times,” he says. Most of his experiences were being gleaned from being part of companies during the good times. “You could launch products back then and reimbursement was automatic,” he states. “Raising prices was easy. Selling to doctors was relatively unregulated. There really was a direct correlation between the resources applied to a product in terms of reps and budgets, its success and its angle of trajectory post launch.” However, when he joined the biotech world, things were much different. “You’re always riding the limit of resources,” he affirms. “I suddenly realized success and survival can’t be taken for granted. You actually have to plot your path very carefully and not deviate because you don’t have to the time or the resources to do so. You’ve got to be very cool, calculated, and focused on execution, striving to successfully meet milestones. This is the expectation of investors of which you are dependent upon for funding.” According to O’Callaghan, when he joined biotech, that was when his real management development program began and ultimately rounded him off as a pharmaceutical executive and capable of being a c-level executive.