A: THE MOST IMPORTANT LESSON I’VE LEARNED CAME FROM MY CURRENT COMPANY: Do not develop innovative products for devastating unmet medical needs whose care is dominated by public health officials and advocacy groups. It’s an exhausting uphill battle with funders (2 million people die, but can we even recover our investment?), nonprofits (small companies are too financially unstable for grants), advocacy groups (for-profit companies are clearly in it for money, not to cure patients). No good deed goes unpunished in this community. If you want to enjoy the experience of building a business that can make a huge difference in the life of patients, go with the flow! Today it’s immuno-oncology. If I hurry I can finish what we started 19 years ago, new drugs for tuberculosis, and move on to something both fun and fundable. By then immuno-oncology will be out of favor and there will be a new bandwagon to consider.
CAROL NACY, PH.D.
Carol is CEO of Sequella, Inc., a private company that develops new anti-infective drugs. She was formerly CSO at Anergen and EVP/CSO at EntreMed.