Beyond The Printed Page | October 18, 2021

CEO Advice From A 30-Year Pharma Veteran

Source: Life Science Leader
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By Rob Wright, Chief Editor, Life Science Leader
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Lisa Conte, founder and CEO, Jaguar Health

Lisa Conte is the founder and CEO of Jaguar Health, a publicly traded company (NASDAQ: JAGX) focused on developing and commercializing plant-based prescription medicines for humans and animals. In the November 2021 feature article in Life Science Leader, the venture capitalist turned biopharma entrepreneur shares tales of her 30-year (and counting) journey, which turned out to be an arduous climb filled with slips, trips, and spills you won’t want to miss, so be sure to become a subscriber today. During our conversation, I asked Conte how she went about preparing for being the CEO of a biopharmaceutical company when she had never had any previous biopharma operational experience? “There’s the cultural component, and then there’s the legal part,” she begins. “Get really good legal advice, especially if you’ve never run a company before, because you need to know things like bylaws, what it takes to go public, and what you’ll need to have in place once you start manufacturing.”

As for the company leadership side, the executive notes reading tons of management books. “I discarded some ideas, listened to some, but a big part of my leadership style came from how I was raised.” For example, Conte says she would never ask somebody to do something that she wouldn’t do herself. “A lot of leading comes from leading by example, but creating the proper culture comes down to hiring people who care about technology, innovation, and people.” Conte’s aspiration is to create a culture where people feel good about what they are doing, and she says that requires making your company a fun place to work. “It could be a bit of my being a woman and a mom, but I approach Jaguar Health as my family, and when you have a family who has got your back, it can make people happy to be here, even when the work is sometimes drudgery.”