By Cindy Dubin, Contributing Writer
“I didn’t come in to make changes to a business plan just for the sake of change. But in absence of a plan, I provided one for the organization,” says Maria Fardis, Ph.D., MBA, CEO of Iovance Biotherapeutics, Inc. This is how Fardis explains her mindset a year ago when she joined Iovance, a biotechnology company developing novel cancer immunotherapies based on tumor-infiltrating lymphocyte (TIL) technology.
With over a decade of experience in clinical trials and drug development, some of Fardis’ past positions included COO of Acerta Pharma and chief of oncology operations at Pharmacyclics where she oversaw development of Imbruvica (ibrutinib). She says she starts any drug development program with the goal of getting a drug approved. “When you leave your house in the morning, you don’t just drive and see where you end up; you drive with a purpose,” she says. “All organizations should know where they are going and how to get there.”